Laying Low Before the Big Day


Thanksgiving is here, my friends. I know this isn’t new news–if you’re anything like me, you’ve been making and revising lists, running errands, and having a drink as soon as it’s socially acceptable to do so.


For the past few days, I’ve been house/dog/teenage sitting at my Dad’s house. And Lincoln, their sweet chocolate lab, was a rescue dog so he doesn’t love being alone. For some, this would be a burden. But I’ve used this as an excuse to hunker down and do some writing, go on long Lincoln walks, take some photos around the neighborhood, and make hot spiked cider in the evening while lounging on the couch catching up with back issues of The New Yorker.



I got the recipe for this cider from the bartender at The Edgewater Hotel in Seattle. I’d come in freezing after a day at Bainbridge Island and asked her if she could make me something hot and strong. Pretty much the second I got back to California (well, not really–I waited a few days), I went out to buy some Tuaca, and have been making one of these guys every night since. If you’re not familiar with Tuaca, it’s an Italian liquor comprised of brandy, hints or citrus, vanilla, and cloves. It’s made by the Tuoni and Canepa families of Livorno, Italy but it’s easy to find here in the States. Any well stocked liquor store should carry it. So in these looming days of traveling, packing, family, food, errands, and the like–take a little time out with this hot cocktail. Trust that I’ll be doing the same.

Hot Spiked Cider

Hot Spiked Cider

  • Yield: 1 cup

Ingredients

1/2 cup cider
2 oz Tuaca
a few shakes cinnamon
cinnamon stick
whipped cream, optional

Instructions

Pour cider in a small saucepan. Drop cinnamon stick in, and warm on stove top for about ten minutes.

Pour 2 oz. Tuaca into your glass, and fill the rest of the way with the warmed cider. Shake a bit of ground cinnamon into the glass and top with whipped cream and a cinnamon stick if desired (it’s great without the whipped cream, too).

Comments

  1. Mo

    Megan - This is just what I've been looking for - yay! Can't wait to give it a try. And BTW - you're photos are looking AWESOME these days.

  2. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite

    Never heard of Tuaca but that drink sounds perfect for our annual holiday open house...

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. Me, am thankful to have "met" lovely friends like you over the past few months...

  3. El

    Looks cozy and delicious. Have a great holiday!

  4. Megan Gordon

    Thank you, Mo!

    And Mardi: I used a Canon Rebel Xsi. It's been working out well so far. Practice, practice, practice!

  5. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction

    Sounds like you had a wonderful, relaxing day. The cider sounds delicious... one of my favorites! Love the picture of the doggy. Very cute!

  6. Sophie

    That drink sounds so good to me!!

    MMMMMM,...just really comforting on these cold winter evenings!

  7. Kelsey

    I love this cocktail! I am just catching up after two weeks of holiday/birthday/sick kid craziness. now - onto Christmas! What cocktail is next?!

  8. Megan Gordon

    Thank you Sophie, Jen, and Kelsey.

    I'm thinking mulled wine is up next, Kelsey...I have a nice recipe from the Neptenthe cookbook.

  9. Yasmine

    We have the exact same glass you used! Except we're Arabians and use it for tea. :D

Join the Discussion

Winter Comfort Food

Winter Morning Porridge

Winter Morning Porridge

I intended on baking holiday cookies to share with you today, but when I sat down to brainstorm all I could think about, truly, was the morning porridge I've been making and how that's really what I wanted to send you away with. The holiday season always seems to zoom on by at its own clip with little regard for how most of us wish it would just slow down, and this year feels like no exception. We got our tree last week and I've been making a point to sit in the living room and admire the twinkle as much as possible. I have lofty goals of snowflakes and gingerbread men and stringing cranberries and popcorn, but I'm also trying to get comfortable with the fact that everything may not get done, and that sitting amongst the twinkle is really the most important. That and a warm breakfast before the day spins into gear. This multi-grain porridge has proved to be a saving grace on busy weekday mornings, and it reheats beautifully so I've been making a big pot and bringing it to work with some extra chopped almonds and fresh pomegranate seeds. While cookies are certainly on the horizon, I think I'll have this recipe to thank for getting us through the busy days ahead. 

Read More
Minestrone Verde with White Beans and Pesto

Minestrone Verde with White Beans and Pesto

We returned home from San Francisco on New Years Eve just in time for dinner, and craving greens -- or anything other than baked goods and pizza (ohhhh San Francisco, how I love your bakeries. And citrus. And winter sunshine).  Instead of driving straight home, we stopped at our co-op where I ran in for some arugula, an avocado, a bottle of Prosecco, and for the checkout guys to not-so-subtly mock the outlook of our New Years Eve: rousing party, eh? They looked to be in their mid-twenties and I figured I probably looked ancient to them, sad even. But really, there wasn't much sad (or rousing, to be fair) about our evening: putting Oliver to bed, opening up holiday cards and hanging them in the kitchen, and toasting the New Year with arugula, half a quesadilla and sparkling wine. It wasn't lavish. But it's what we both needed. (Or at least what we had to work with.) Since then, I've been more inspired to cook lots of "real" food versus all of the treats and appetizers and snacks the holidays always bring on. I made Julia Turshen's curried red lentils for the millionth time, a wintry whole grain salad with tuna and fennel, roasted potatoes, and this simple green minestrone that I've taken for lunch this week. Determined to fit as many seasonal vegetables into a bowl as humanly possible, I spooned a colorful pesto on top, as much for the reminder of warmer days to come as for the accent in the soup (and for the enjoyment later of slathering the leftover pesto on crusty bread).

Read More
Curried Cauliflower Couscous with Chickpeas and Chard

Curried Cauliflower Couscous with Chickpeas and Chard

If I asked you about what you like to cook at home when the week gets busy, I'm willing to bet it might be something simple. While there are countless websites and blogs and innumerable resources to find any kind of recipe we may crave, it's often the simple, repetitive dishes that we've either grown up with or come to love that call to us when cooking (or life in general) seems overwhelming or when we're feeling depleted. While my go-to is typically breakfast burritos or whole grain bowls, this Curried Cauliflower Couscous with Chickpeas and Chard would make one very fine, very doable house meal on rotation. The adaptations are endless, and its made from largely pantry ingredients. I never thought I'd hop on the cauliflower "rice" bandwagon, but I have to say after making it a few times, I get the hype. 

Read More
Thai Carrot, Coconut and Cauliflower Soup

Thai Carrot, Coconut and Cauliflower Soup

People describe raising young kids as a particular season in life. I hadn't heard this until we had a baby, but it brought me a lot of comfort when I'd start to let my mind wander, late at night between feedings, to fears that we'd never travel internationally again or have a sit-down meal in our dining room. Would I ever eat a cardamom bun in Sweden? Soak in Iceland? I loved the heck out of our tiny Oliver, but man what had we done?! Friends would swoop in and reassure us that this was just a season, a blip in the big picture of it all. They promised we'd likely not even remember walking around the house in circles singing made-up songs while eating freezer burritos at odd hours of the day (or night). And it's true.

Oliver is turning two next month, and those all-encompassing baby days feel like a different time, a different Us. In many ways, dare I say it, Toddlerhood actually feels a bit harder. Lately Oliver has become extremely opinionated about what he will and will not wear -- and he enforces these opinions with fervor. Don't get near the kid with a button-down shirt. This week at least. He's obsessed with his rain boots and if it were up to him, he'd keep them on at all times, especially during meals. He insists on ketchup with everything (I created a damn monster), has learned the word "trash" and insists on throwing found items away on his own that really, truly are not trash. I came to pick him up from daycare the other day and he was randomly wearing a bike helmet -- his teacher mentioned he'd had it on most of the day and really, really didn't want to take it off. The kid has FEELINGS. I love that about him, and wouldn't want it any other way. But, man it's also exhausting.

Read More
Smoked Salmon and Crème Fraîche Tart with a Cornmeal Millet Crust

Smoked Salmon and Crème Fraîche Tart with a Cornmeal Millet Crust

It's been a uniformly gray and rainy week in Seattle, and I'd planned on making a big pot of salmon chowder to have for the weekend, but then the new issue of Bon Appetit landed on my doorstep with that inviting "Pies for Dinner" cover, and I started to think about how long it's been since I made my very favorite recipe from my cookbook, Whole Grain Mornings. I'm often asked at book events which recipe I love most, and it's a tough one to answer because I have favorites for different moods or occasions, but I'd say that this savory tart is right up there. The cornmeal millet crust is one of my party tricks; when we need a quick brunch recipe, this is what I pull out of my back pocket because it's so simple and delicious. This is a no-roll, no fuss crust with a slightly sandy, crumbly texture thanks to the cornmeal, and a delightful crunch from the millet. In the past, I've used the crust and custard recipe as the base for any number of fillings: on The Kitchn last year, I did a version with greens and gruyere, and I teach cooking classes that often include a version heavy on local mushrooms and shallot. So if you are not keen on salmon or have some vegetables you're looking to use up this week, feel free to fold in whatever is inspiring you right now. Sometimes at this point in winter that can be hard, so hopefully this recipe may help a little. 

Read More