Mulling Syrup from the All You Holiday Entertaining Magazine, 2012

“Oh, the weather outside is frightful,
But the fire is so delightful
And since we’ve no place to go
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.”

Let’s deconstruct these lyrics, shall we?

Regarding the weather, the word ‘frightful’ used to describe what it’s like outside at the moment depends upon what you’re hoping for this week. For instance, for us in central North Carolina, it’s sunny and will get up in the mid-60’s today.

If you’re Dudette, that forecast is definitely frightful. She wants snow so badly, she can’t stand it. If you’re her mother, however, you’re trying to hide your glee from said Dudette. You moved to this specific area to escape snow because you know exactly how frightful it can be.

Delightful fire. It depends upon where said fire is. The one crackling in my office at the moment is most certainly delightful. I love the sound, the smell, the warmth and the mesmerizing flames dancing in the stacked logs. The fire I had last week in the saucepan that I forgot on the stove? Not so much delightful there.

The truth is, I find this next line incredibly selfish. Just because Frank Dean, Doris, Rod or Andy (you can pick your favorite artist’s cover) didn’t have anywhere to go, doesn’t mean other people weren’t trying to get somewhere. The hard truth is that folks will head out if they really have somewhere they need to be no matter how hard it’s snowing. By wishing it in abundance, these artists are showing a blatant disregard for the welfare of others.

A reality check: this is not the Wizard of Oz. Wishing something three times will not make it happen. I hope.

The Process

This syrup is so easy to make that you may end up feeling guilty giving it as a gift, so make sure to buy really pretty bottles.

The most tedious part is drying the orange slices. The directions say to bake them 50-60 minutes, but it took mine closer to an hour and a half and a few slices got so dark on the edge before they had a chance to dry that I had to throw them out.

Making the syrup is a simple matter of boiling water, sugar and spices in a pan until reduced by half. Let it cool and pour.

The Verdict

I think this is a fantastic idea, whether intended for a gift or personal use. To have the syrup available for a quick, single glass of mulled cider or wine is genius.

That being said, I wished there was more of an oomph of spice to the syrup. If I added more, my beverage became too sweet.

What I’d Do Different Next Time

There will be a next time, and when it comes around (maybe tomorrow), I’ll double the cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg, maybe even including 4-5 whole allspice berries.

Mulling Syrup from the All You Holiday Entertaining Magazine, 2012
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Beverage
Cuisine: American
Serves: 17 oz
Ingredients
  • 1 orange, thinly sliced, seeds removed
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • ¾ teaspoon nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 275. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Arrange orange slices in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake until dry, turning once or twice, 50-60 minutes. Let dry on wire racks.
  2. Combine sugar, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large, heavy saucepan. Pour in 4 cups water and stir gently over low heat until sugar has dissolved. Increase heat to medium-high and cook for 20 minutes. remove from heat and let cool. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, reserving cinnamon sticks but discarding remaining solids.
  3. Have ready 2 sterilized 8.5-ounce bottles. Divide reserved cinnamon sticks and dried oranges between the two bottles. Using a funnel, pour warm syrup into bottles and serve.
Notes
To Drink: Heat 1 part syrup and two parts red wine or apple cider in a pot, adding a few slices of orange or apple if you like. Serve warm.

 

Mixed Green Salad with Oranges from All You's 2012 Holiday Entertaining Issue

There’s a little restaurant in northern Wisconsin that’s well worth a visit if you’re every headed up that way. It sits on Highway 17, smack between Rhinelander and Eagle River and is easy to spot if you keep an eye out for the statue of the white stag on the front lawn.

During the years of summer months that I spent in Wisconsin, the White Stag is one of several restaurants that my friends and I headed to when we wanted something other than fast food. There were several menu favorites and while the steaks were and are to-die-for and perfectly cooked, I have to admit that sometimes I veered away from the rib eye and enjoyed the grilled halibut instead because they prepared it like no one else (I know; I’ve been looking ever since moving south).

The other thing that the White Stag does well is salad . . . dressing. I can’t say ‘salad’ because the actual salad is just a wedge of iceberg lettuce. But that’s ok.

I like the fact that the restaurant doesn’t make a big deal about a bunch of lettuce on a plate, but instead focuses on the thing that makes or breaks any salad; its dressing. The White Stag has three salad dressings that are made by them on premises and can be mixed and matched in any combination.  All three are delicious.

That’s why I liked this salad when I saw it in All You. The recipe isn’t about the lettuce, orange and goat cheese; it’s the dressing that make it what it is.

The Process

Mix the dressing ingredients (use a whisk).

Tear the lettuce (or open the bag).

Segment the orange (I hate segmenting oranges).

Crumble goat cheese (yum).

The Verdict

I have to admit that for once I went a little off the recipe as written. Before you pull out the torches and pitchforks, I can explain.

You see, the nice folks at Colman’s Mustard recently sent me a goodie bag of their mustard. At first I thought, ‘Well, how cheeky,’ because, after all, I’m French by birth, so Dijon mustard is the mustard of choice in our house. Sending me an English replacement; how could they!

But, I like to keep an open mind. After all, Colman’s received the stamp of approval from Her Majesty The Queen. It’s been around for 0ver 200 years, since a time when a man, King George II was on the throne instead of a queen and Napolean had his eyes focused on Waterloo.

What I like about Colman’s is the heat that complements the flavor. It’s sassy and fiery and fun. This stuff doesn’t get handed from the open window of a limo. No, this bad boy will be tossed from the seat of an top-down Jeep Wrangler. It’s brown mustard with attitude.

If you can’t tell, I liked this dressing and I loved it with Colman’s. There may have been a little too much shallot for me, but it could have also been that my shallots were a bit ripe and strong. Maybe it’s just that I wanted to make sure that the mustard was the star, but I don’t think so. The Colman’s worked perfectly in the dressing. It was delicious.

What I’d Do Different Next Time

I’d go with just one tablespoon of minced shallot.

Mixed Green Salad with Oranges from All You's 2012 Holiday Entertaining Issue
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • Dressing:
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Salad:
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, torn into small pieces
  • 1 head red-leaf lettuce, torn into small pieces
  • 1 head Boston lettuce, torn into small pieces
  • 3 oranges, peeled, white pith removed, fruit segmented
  • 4 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
Instructions
  1. Make dressing: In a bowl, combine shallot, vinegar, juice, mustard and sugar. Slowly drizzle in oil, whisking constantly. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Make salad: Mix lettuces in a large bowl. Add orange segments. Toss with dressing, crumble goat cheese on top and serve.

 

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