You know me—I love easy, delicious cocktails, and I have a festive seasonal sparkler this time to get your Thanksgiving rolling. Pair together cranberry juice, vodka and champagne, and your guests will be having too much fun to notice you forgot to defrost the turkey. Serve your drinks in chilled martini glasses; simply run your glasses under water, then pop them in the freezer for an hour or two, pulling each one out as you pour from your cocktail pitcher. Then you top off each glass with a splash of champagne, or an affordable dry sparkler, like a Spanish cava.
I'll give you the ingredients for one drink; increase the amounts to suit the number of guests you're serving.
1 ounce lemon-flavored vodka of your choice. (I love Ketel One.)
½ ounce orange flavored liquer
1 ounce unsweetened cranberry juice
1 capful Rose's Lime Juice (or quick squeeze fresh lime juice)
2 ounces Champagne or your favorite dry sparkler
- Put martini glasses in the freezer for 1–2 hours.
- In a pitcher, mix together lots of ice, and all the ingredients except the sparkling wine and fresh cranberries. Stir and stir so that it's fiercely chilled.
- Remove chilled martini glass from the freezer and fill it (no ice), leaving room to top off each drink with 2 ounces of champagne or an affordable sparkler of your choosing. Pop a fresh cranberry into every glass.
NOTE: Here's the simple secret to a good cocktail: Make one ahead and taste it to see what you think. Too much Rose's lime juice? Cut it back. Too tart? Add more orange liqueur. If you're happy with it, chances are everyone else will be, too. Fear not. Have fun with it!
Faith's Best Buy French White Wine
It's crispy, has a bit of richness, and what a good deal this French white Burgundy (chardonnay) is for $13–$14 a bottle. It went well with our crispy tortilla garlic and lime soup; it'd be great with fish, chicken, or pan-fried scallops. It's a smart little wine because the winemaker aged it in stainless steel barrels, followed by untoasted wood barells. Nice birthday gift, or as a host present the next time you're invited to dinner. (It's my weeknight table wine.) If it's not on the shelf at your wine store, tell them it's a 2011 Bichot Macon-Villages. In Connecticut, the distributor is Eder and Goodman; in New York, the distributor is BNP. they'll look it up that way in the sales catalogue and have it for you within 24 hours.
Garlic Soup with Tortillas, Avocado, and Lime
This soup is traditionally made with chicken stock, but here I used miso (fermented soybean paste) to give an intense flavor. Miso is like a vegetarian bouillon. Different types of miso range in strength and color
Light ones are young and mild, while darker misos, which have been aged longer, are saltier, richer, and more intense. In this recipe I call for a mellow white miso, which has only been aged for about four months. You can substitute a red miso (aged for six to eight months) to bring it up a notch. Anything darker would overpower the soup.
Yield: 4 servings
1 head garlic, cloves separated and smashed
1 small bunch fresh cilantro, stems removed from leaves and reserved for broth, leaves coarsely chopped (about ½ cup of chopped leaves)
½ cup neutral oil such as canola, grapeseed, or sunflower
6 fresh corn tortillas, halved and cut into ¼-inch-wide strips
Coarse sea salt or kosher salt
1 large ripe avocado, quartered and sliced
2 cups bite-size broccoli florettes
1 medium carrot, peeled, halved lengthwise, and sliced thin on the bias
1 jalapeno pepper (with its seeds), sliced into paper-thin rings
½ cup white miso, or to taste
- To prepare the broth, in a medium saucepan over high heat, combine 6 cups of water, garlic, and the cilantro stems and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain out the solids and return the broth to the saucepan. Cover to keep warm.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until you see the first whisp of smoke. Add the tortilla strips and fry until crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the tortilla strips, drain on paper towels, and season lightly with salt.
- Juice 1 lime and cut the other into wedges.
- In a small bowl, toss the avocado pieces with the lime juice and set aside.
- Add the broccoli, carrot, and jalapeno to the broth and simmer over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until the vegetables are crisp-tender.
- Place ½ cup of miso in a small bowl. Add a little of the hot soup broth and stir with a spoon until the miso becomes creamy. Transfer the miso to the soup and simmer for 1 minute. If desired, add more miso to taste. Stir in the chopped cilantro leaves.
- Divide the tortilla strips and avocado among 4 soup bowls. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve immediately, accompanied by the lime wedges.
Recipe from Fresh Food Fast: Delicious, Seasonal Vegetarian Meals in Under an Hour by Peter Berley
Published by Harper Collins, 2013
- Chris Prosperi - senior contributor and chef/owner, Metro Bis, Simsbury
- Alex Province - Allan S. Goodman/EderBrothers Wine Distributors
- Peter Berley - author of Fresh Food Fast: Delicious, Seasonal Vegetarian Meals in Under an Hour