I hope you are slowly hunkering down and ready to take some time to unwind over the next few days. I got a small Christmas tree this year, and instead of pulling out all the ornaments from the garage, I've decorated the tree with my "cooking ornaments." I've collected these ornaments over the years from different stores, and fortunately, I never pack them with our traditional Christmas ornaments. Instead, they sit in a small box in my kitchen and for once, I'm glad I didn't organize things appropriately.
We are well underway with our kitchen remodel, one half of the house is now stripped back to its barebones, older windows removed and replaced, electric outlets mapped out, air vents relocated, and the new plumbing in. So far we haven’t hit too many snags, the biggest and longest wait was the approval of our permits. I remain optimistically cautious, especially about the appliances and supplies since supply chains are backed up everywhere. So some of you might be wondering, how I’ve been cooking. I cooked most of what you’re reading now a while back and anything new is via my make-shift kitchen that sits in my office.
There are a few things I've learned so far about cooking in a make-shift kitchen while living through a kitchen remodel and simultaneously working on a cookbook.
It's not the cooking that's difficult, it's the washing of dishes that's a pain. I bought a small sink to watch dishes in and it serves me well but it also keeps me in check with how extravagant I can afford to be with spoons and knives.
I use four countertop appliances constantly - my portable induction stove, a smart countertop oven (Breville), an electric kettle, and my blender a lot. My countertop oven produces perfect results every time and the only hindrance is baking large quantities of cookies.
Windows are a big help with ventilation and so are room air filters.
Have a backup kitchen aka run to a friend or family member close by if all else fails.
And thank goodness for my recipe tester Lisa Nicklin, who stays on top of all my recipes!
Okay now let's get to holiday cooking or should I say cocktail making. Today we make a festive drink!
Cranberry Moscow Mule
Moscow mules are one of my favorite cocktails, they're fizzy and gingery, a perfect combination in my books. This version uses cranberries for a touch of fruitiness and a bright red festive color.
The Cook's Notes
You can use either sweetened or unsweetened cranberry juice, my preference is for the sweet one.
Make sure your ginger is spicy. Fever Tree and Bundaberg are two of my favorite brands and they pack a good flavor. Yes, you can also make your own ginger-flavored simple syrup, but this is an easy shortcut so save the ginger for something else.
Purists will insist on a copper mug for a mule, but I'll admit that I've used ceramic mugs when I'm out of copper mugs. They work just as fine, and they hold the cold temperature nicely.
Makes 1 serving
¼ cup/60ml unflavored vodka
¼ cup/60ml sweetened cranberry juice
2 Tbsp/30ml fresh lime juice
¾ cup/180ml a good spicy ginger beer
One lime wedge
Pre-chill a copper mug with plenty of ice. In a cocktail shaker, mix the vodka, cranberry juice, and lime juice. Discard the ice from the mug, add a large ice cube and pour the liquid from the shaker into the mug. Top with the ginger beer, stir and garnish with the lime wedge. Serve immediately.
What I’m Watching (and want to see):
I finally caught up with the second season of War of the Worlds, it’s left me a bit of a, dare I say loop and confused. The tattoo and the humans that hated humans felt a little lackluster. A few other shows, I’ve started to watch are; the spy thriller Deep State and Cosmos: Possible Worlds. I really want to see the new Spiderman movie - No Way Home but I might wait for it to come to a streaming service.