Hot Mulled Wine reminds me of Christmas, Madrigal dinners, and travel. The aroma of the simmering wine is wonderful and sipping it is even better. While my paternal line is Czech, mulled wine was not a tradition in our home.
Wishing you a Veselé Vánoce (Merry Christmas) andŠťastný Nový Rok! (Happy New Year)
2 bottles of red wine (we use Cabernet Sauvignon)
5-6 cinnamon sticks
6-8 whole cloves
4 whole black peppercorns
4 allspice berries
4-6 star anise
zest of one tangerine (use fruit)
zest of one lemon (discard fruit)
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup raisins
tangerine slices from zested tangerine
2 apples, sliced (we used green apples)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup raw honey
1 cup apple cider (optional)
2 Tbsp. Czech Rum (I used Cointreau)
Combine all ingredients in a simmering pot. Simmer until hot. Serve.
There are folks who ladle it into a cup, fruits and all, but we prefer to strain it and just serve the hot wine with a cinnamon stick in the cup as a garnish.
It is at it’s best when served immediately after mulling but this delicious drink will keep fairly hot even when taken off the heat for about 30 minutes. The leftover mulled wine (if you have any) can be reheated in a saucepan on the stovetop. If you wish to keep some for the next day, allow it to cool completely and then pour into glass bottle or mason jar, closing tightly and refrigerating.
Roasted Vegetables are my absolute favorite yet I didn’t discover this technique until a few years ago. My carrot harvest this year was the best I’ve ever had, despite Joe’s (my 12 year old Golden Retriever) attempts to steal the carrots out of the basket.
I found this wonderful recipe which did not call for apples, but in later versions I added the apples and loved the added sweet/tart bites.
SWEET POTATOES & CARROTS WITH APPLE CIDER THYME
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 medium-large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch rounds
1-2 apples, peeled and chopped in large pieces
1 small red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 whole garlic cloves
1/4 cup apple cider
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place cut sweet potatoes, carrots, red onion and garlic cloves on a baking sheet and spread them in a single layer.
In a small bowl, whisk together apple cider, olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper. Drizzle mixture all over vegetables and toss to coat evenly.
Roast for 35-45 minutes, until vegetables are caramelized to your liking. Serve immediately.
Apple Butter was a fall tradition in my Mother’s kitchen back on the Iowa farm with plenty of local apples to use. She would can several jars and store in our ‘fruit room’ in the basement. Neighbors and friends would share the fruits of their apple harvest with the offer to come pick what remained on their trees. That’s just how neighbors treat neighbors.
Years ago, a co-worker shared her crockpot apple butter recipe with me. It’s been in my recipe box ready to be used and this was the year. The process takes a while but you don’t have to stand over the stove watching it to assure it doesn’t stick and burn. I’m easily distracted so this is the ticket!
What to serve with the apple butter? I made a loaf of oatmeal quick bread (see post of October 23) and served a slice of the bread with fresh apple butter on top for an autumn dessert to die for.
12 to 14 apples
2 cups apple juice
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cloves
Wash, core and quarter apples (do not peel).
Combine apples and apple juice in lightly oiled Crock pot.
Cover and cook on Low setting for 10-18 hours (or on High setting for 2-4 hours).
When fruit is tender, put through a food mill to remove peel. Measure cooked fruit and return to Crockpot. For each pint of sieved cooked fruit, add sugar, cinnamon, allspice and loves; stir well. Cover and cook on High setting for 6-8 hours, stirring every 2 hours. Remove cover after 3 hours to allow fruit and juice to cook down.
You can can the apple butter by spooning into hot sterilized jars and processing according to standard cooking methods. I chose to refrigerate and share with family for immediate (and I do mean immediate consumption). It’s too wonderful to last long!
Fall is in the air and the apples are fantastic. What a perfect time to make fresh applesauce just like Mom used to make. I’m honored that this tradition continues as older daughter, Megan, made this year as well.
A trip to the Farmer’s Market for fresh apples and a little time and you’re ready to go.
I’m fortunate enough to still have the vintage colander sieve with wooden pestle my Mother used for many years, making quick work of making ultra-smooth applesauce. I have even cooked the apples with the skin on (and sometimes with the seeds) knowing that the colander/sieve will strain out the skin and seeds.
8 apples (Granny Smith’s work well–but use what you have)
1 cup cold water
1 teaspoon cinnamon
sugar to taste (or none if you prefer)
Wash the apples under cold water. Peel and core each apple and cut into smaller pieces. Put apples, water, and sugar in saucepan.
Cook over medium heat. When the water begins to boil, turn down heat to medium low to simmer and add cinnamon. Cover with lid and lower heat again to keep from sticking. Stir often while cooking about 40 minutes. Add more water if needed.
Use a vintage sieve and pestle, potato masher (or food processor) to mash apples into smooth, thick sauce.
Serve warm or chill in refrigerator. Freezes well.