Sunday, November 27, 2011

Memories & Recipes

Well the Turkey is gone and so too the leftovers and relatives! The house for a few moments was devastatingly quiet..but after a time, hubby, "Garfield and Odie"(Norman, the black lab and Wrigley the obnoxious, adorable cat)  and I settled back into that, "well, its just us again" least for a few weeks;) It's not so bad, I've decided, though I wouldn't trade the chaos of everyone home for anything-its good to know that they've refueled, refurbished and headed back into the world to build their futures.

It seems only fitting as I sit in the wake of relative removal to consider a glass of wine, a nice lager or perhaps just a cup of egg nog with a sprinkle of nutmeg and reflect on the holiday--and make that list of stuff to get done this week...

Meantime, here is another lovely holiday refreshment from the gifted in many ways--Sahara Kelly,  who is not only talented in her writing, but an officiado of the technilogical world as well an artist in graphic and costume design!! (I try not to hate her;)) She's a joy truly and I am proud to call her friend!

Here is her recipe and editorial on MULLED WINE

Perfect for those icy winter evenings, or for after a few hours of carolling for your neighbors in Victorian attire. (Er, that would be you, not the neighbors. Victorian attire links available upon request, or for ideas, see any Dickensian Christmas greeting card.)


•The wine is your choice...most often a full-bodied red wine is recommended, as this stands up to the spices and complements them, but a white is acceptable, as is a good rich apple cider for those who prefer to avoid alcohol completely.

•NOTE: DO NOT USE AN ALUMINUM PAN. Preferably use a non-stick one.

•For spice pak: Any combination of cloves, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, vanilla bean, bay leaf, anise, and citrus zest (orange and/or lemon). Other spices as desired.
•A smattering of brown sugar as desired if you like a slightly sweeter beverage.


•Pour the bottle of wine into saucepan and add the spices and brown sugar if you’re using it. Warm gently for around 6-8 minutes, being careful to WARM the wine, not boil it. The spices need to infuse into the liquid, but too high a heat and the alcohol will evaporate. The results are not pretty. Or tasty in any way.

•Once the liquid is infused (mulled), ladle into warmed mugs and enjoy. (This also happens to make a wonderful smell in the kitchen. Stop and sniff now and again. Then resume singing Holiday songs!)

**pic to left; Sahara and I at Lora Leighs RAW 2011-Rocky Gap Maryland

A note about spices: Fresh spices are almost always best and this recipe requires them to be in some kind of solid form, since powdered spices tend to glomp messily and not infuse well. Some people like to assemble little muslin bags of mulling spices, and keep their wine strictly liquid. Others like to serve this wine with the spices floating/mixed in. Star anise is an attractive decoration. Sliced oranges can be used as well, and this entire recipe should be adjusted to the taste of those enjoying the wine. There are few, if any, hard and fast rules to this entire process.

**grab hold of Sahara's brilliant books!! Here is her latest, in her signature mix of humor and steam! Dragons, Dames & Video Games!

Mulled wine is one of those “old family” recipes...ingredients change with the generations, but the result is the same – happiness and cuddles in a mug. We recommend spending a couple of weekends testing spice combinations prior to actually serving this wine to guests. If you can run a test at the same time you’re decorating your Christmas tree, so much the better, since apparently tree-decorating releases some kind of primeval hormone which can result in assault and battery charges if you’re not careful. Not sure why, but it does. Mulled wine, however, will mellow the spirits and remove the threat of family garrotting by tinsel.

Happy Holidays,
Sahara Kelly
(All charges pertaining to the incident with the tree-topper and the nutcracker have been withdrawn and the case has been closed.)

What did I tell you? ;)
Happy holidays!!