September 9th, 2009 | No Comments »

It’s Plum Pudding Day! And I would’ve been all ready to start steaming at this point, but I forgot that I hadn’t candied the lemon peels yet, so I am literally watching a pot full of lemon peels boil. It’s scintillating, by which I mean it’s not remotely. So I made myself this drink:

1 Part B&B liqueur

1 Part Orange Peel Syrup (This is what was left in the pot after the final step of semi-candying orange peels for the Plum Puddings. I started with 2 cups water, 1 cup light brown sugar, and 1 cup fresh orange juice-squeezed from the oranges I’d taken the peels from–and, of course, the peels of three oranges, which had already been boiled twice, for ten minutes, in fresh changes of water. Once the orange peels were translucent and the liquid was reduced to about 1/2 cup, I strained out the oranges and kept the resulting syrup and mixed it with B&B. The lesson is, never throw anything away.  Just mix it with liquor.)

September 9th, 2009 | 3 Comments »

With this post I am inaugurating a new series: things to do when you’re stressed out and need to stop yourself from hitting someone. There are several activities you can undertake in the kitchen to help you overcome this impulse. Some require more preparation than others; kneading bread dough, for instance, is fantastic, especially if you do it thumpingly and without flouring your workspace, but then you have to have dough ready for kneading, obviously. Pulling taffy: equally good, but only if you want to calm yourself down. I’ve said it before: taffy pulling has a zenlike quality to it. It’s like yoga for me. But right now I don’t want to just calm down. Today I need to get the aggression out of my system, so I am making butter, because the motions involved range from the same muscular actions required to shake your fist at someone, stab someone, and/or hit someone over the head with a sauce pan. I have been tempted to do all three this morning.

Basically, it’s easy: throw some high-butterfat cream into a jar and shake it until it separates. Pour off the buttermilk. Shake it some more. Pour off more buttermilk. Repeat until you are left with a yellow lump in the jar. Remove from jar, rinse off the remaining buttermilk, mix in anything you want (salt, honey, herbs, zest, whatever), shape it and wrap it in wax paper or stick it in a jar. There. You’re done. Fresh butter in something less than an hour. I was so mad an hour ago that mine took fifteen minutes.

The reason for my fury, and then I must get back to Plum Pudding Day, is, of course, the debaters. I unlocked the door this morning to find, taped up next to my hours of operation, a flier announcing the first annual Bayside Forensics Tournament at the end of September. The location?

Yes.

Magothy Treats.

The little buggers have volunteered me to host a freaking convocation of argumentative, issues-oriented teenagers.

So anyone who orders a Magothy Treats Christmas Plum Pudding this year gets a complimentary jar of brandy butter. Because I have more now than I will ever, EVER use.

Posted in Recipes