Red Wine Salt

You know that moment the morning after a couple too many drinks when you first wake up, and realize that you forgot to put the cork in the bottle of red, that you opened much too late and drank only half a glass out of?

And it’s sort of heart breaking that that lovely bottle that so many grapes died for is now just going to be thrown down the drain?

And you think, well, maybe I opened it late enough and you put the cork back in it and hope for the best, but by the time you open it up the next day (lord knows you’re not trying anything boozy that night) it’s absolutely tragically off.

I can’t be the only one who does that right?

So recently a friend of mine suggested red wine salt as a solution, and my brain nearly exploded.

There is a use for corked and terrible left over wine?

How am I only just figuring this out?

It’s a day full of questions.

Here’s what you need to know.

You take that wine, you reduce it down like crazy, and when it’s a thick syrup you stir in a whole bunch of coarse salt, and then you spread it on a tray and let it sit out overnight.

And the next day, unlike the last when you woke up knowing that you’d ruined a bottle of wine, you wake up to something wonderful. Something that will instead add a bit of depth to your steak dishes, and gussy up a piece of duck, and look tres chic on your dinner table when you’re entertaining.  Or bottle it up and give it as a hostess gift!

Just don’t tell them that really, it’s just the cheapest salt around with an old bottle of wine.

Red Wine Salt

1 bottle of Red Wine (give or take a glass)

2+ cups of Rock Salt

In a medium pot over medium heat reduce wine until it becomes a thick syrup. This will take about 30 minutes.

For every tablespoon of liquid that you have add in 1 ½ cups of salt

Mix together well and spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Allow to sit out overnight, or until very dry.

Bottle up and give as gifts, or save for you

Stocking Stuffer Sundays- Calvados Caramels

Last Christmas was awful. Beyond that actually, last December was awful. It was single handedly the most stressful month of my working life, I learnt the important lesson of saying no, I can’t do that, albeit too late. And poor Jordan had major hip and knee surgery and couldn’t do much of anything without a lot of assistance. Which is why this year I decided we needed to truly get into the Christmas season and do everything we could do make up for last year.

This means dinner parties with friends, decorating our apartment even though we’ll be out of town for the actual day, and trying to just do little festive things for each other to get us in the spirit.

And then today it snowed! It never snows in Vancouver! I am so excited. It’s a little ridiculous.

Also ridiculous are these calvados caramels. It’s like eating a candy apple, only much richer and unctuous. Little bags of these will be going in everyone’s stocking this year, and while you might be intimidated by any recipe that needs a candy thermometer, I promise these are actually very easy to make. 

Calvados Caramels

3 ½ c Sugar

1/3 cup Corn Syrup

¼ cup Water

200mL Heavy Cream

100mL Apple Cider

100mL Calvados

3 ¼ c Butter, cut into pieces

1 tbsp Salt

Line a baking sheet with parchment, and lightly grease. Put aside.

In a large heavy bottomed pot stir together the sugar, corn syrup and water.

Put a lid on it and bring it to a simmer over medium heat.

Allow all the sugar to dissolve with the lid still on- this helps keep sugar from crystallizing on the edges.

Remove the lid when it’s all dissolved and, without stirring, allow the sugar to caramelize.

When it is a nice auburn colour add in the cream. It will spit and boil like crazy- it’s okay, just be careful!

Add in the apple cider and 50 mL of the calvados. Stir in the butter, piece by piece, with a whisk. DO not stop whisking, this will make sure it’s totally emulsified.

Put in your candy therometer and, while stirring constantly bring the caramel sauce up to 254F

Stir in the remaining calvados (again it will bubble and hiss, again be careful!)

Pour into prepared pan.

Allow to sit for at least 4 hours before cutting and rolling. 

New York, Birthdays, and Inspiration.

My mom is a pretty extraordinary lady. She is kind beyond words, and strong beyond measure, and I am undeniably a total Mama’s girl. So it wasn’t much of a debate when I learnt she was flying to New York to visit my sister for her 60th, that Jordan and I were going to hop on a plane too.

Oh New York.

I hadn’t been since junior high. Junior high! It was time.

Lately I seem to have many many jobs. I do the pastries at a couple restaurants, I make wedding cakes, I’m an assistant editor at a local magazine, I write this little blog that I love so very much, and to piece it all together I serve a couple nights a week at a restaurant. I love almost everything about this, I love that I never get bored because I’m always doing something different and I love that I mostly work from home. I like working from home, I do. I watched a great tedtalk recently on why introverts are important, and I agreed with it, all of the values that come with working by/for yourself. It’s just that sometimes you need to have people around to bounce ideas off of. Sometimes you need to be submerged in something, that you can’t be if your on your own.

Being in New York is like being inside a bouncy castle, there are so many ideas and inspirations flying around all the time. It is a city that supports an astonishing amount of restaurants, and not just restaurants, but farmers markets, (in the middle of downtown, almost every day there are farmers stands), it supports bakeries, and pickle makers, and bean to bar chocolatiers. There is a reason so many artists live in New York.

We ate the most unbelievable soft serve ice cream, a swirl of ritz crackers and peanut butter, with a dollop of concord grape jelly at the bottom at Momofuko.

I decided I wanted to live in Brooklyn for many reasons, but mostly so I can be closer to Mast Brothers Chocolates, the most wonderful place I perhaps have ever been. 

A close second would be eataly where we picked up the most gorgeous salamis and cheeses and we ate it in the park and felt very please with ourselves. 

Which is all a way of saying I’m feeling pretty inspired right now. I’m still floating on a Mast Brothers Chocolates high, I’m still savouring the burrata I had at Arthurs on Smith, I’m still imagining my life in a room full of Bemelman’s drawings. I can still feel the electricity of that city in me, and it’s making me feel wonderful.