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Apple Strudel Done Right

I don’t have extra space to say much this week, other than the fact that on Christmas Day at my friend’s house, I ate one of the best things to ever enter a human mouth: her German mom’s homemade apple strudel. I learned that true strudel is (1) painstakingly difficult to make and (2) more similar in consistency to a baked pasta than a pastry dough. You will probably never attempt this at home, and neither will I, but isn’t it good to know that a recipe this authentic and delicious is being preserved for eternity on the Internet?

Hedy’s Apple Strudel
Makes three strudel rolls, each about 13 inches long.

For the Dough

Basil and Booze: The Perfect Summer Combo

Bartenders have been playing around with fresh herbs lately, so I decided to try my hand at it, using basil from my parents garden up in Sonoma, the handle of a wooden spoon as my muddler and some citron vodka as a start. From there, I looked for inspiration on Hangar One’s website, where they have a whole bevy of good cocktail recipes. My final—very popular, I might add—concoction was based on SF bartender David Nepove’s recipe called The Retreat. The only difference is that I only swirled each glass with a good dash of Pernod (the anise-flavor of Pernod perfectly reflects the basil), rather than go for a full ounce. I also added a bit of cointreau to the shaker. If you serve it on the rocks, top with club soda as Nepove does.

The Hemingway Daiquiri

Ernest Hemingway, July 21, 1899 - July 2, 1961

As was pointed out by one of the genial, twittering, PR birds so constantly abuzz in my ear, this is the week of Hemingway's birthday (and the anniversary month of both his death and birth).

Hemingway's contributions to many fields are in no need of enumeration here. But the man did stamp his identity on the cocktail with his favored way of taking the drink.

The Daiquiri is named for a Cuban mining town where an American engineer came up with the simple formula of lime + rum + sugar (hmmm, hard to imagine that had never been done before) that worked so beautifully that it became canonical.

Late-Night Pasta Recipe

Some people are into rice. Some like corn. I, however, am a pasta guy, through and through. Good lord I love pasta. I love it for lunch and for dinner. I’m even partial to a little cold carbonara in the morning (hey, it's made with bacon and eggs). It's always good.

Classic Crunch Cocktail with a Twist

Here is a version I created of a classic drink: the Champagne Cocktail. This one employs blackberries, which I quartered and marinated in Cointreau for a half hour. The rest is just as simple.



Champagne Cocktail

Drop a sugar cube into the bottom of a Champagne flute
Drench it with several dashes of Angostura bitters
Top with Champagne or some other sparkling wine
Drop in a few blackberries

It’s a good drink for brunch—that is, if you're not nursing a hangover with a Bloody Mary.

The Best Egg Nog You'll Ever Have (My Recipe)

As a kid one of the biggest treats of the holiday season was the occasional drink of egg nog. So thick, creamy, sweet and laden with exotic spices, egg nog came from a carton, and I rued the end of the holidays when it left the stores.

As I became older and more conscious of foods, though, I became fearful of store-bought egg nog. Its third and fourth ingredients were high fructose corn syrup and just plain corn syrup, with artificial flavors, salt and something called carrageenan thrown in for good measure.  It’s unnatural viscosity started to seem creepy, and I stopped drinking it.


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