The Hunt Is On

 

Over the past few days, I’ve seen seven apartments. And we’re still looking. Some were unbelievably small, one only had heat “available” in one room (hmmm), and one of the landlords seemed legitimately insane. I actually dragged my mom around the city with me yesterday looking at places; she was a trooper. We did have many stops for fuel which helped ease the bustle/weirdness/stress/anxiety: Miette on Hayes St. for a gingerbread cupcake, La Boulange for a mini latte, and Paulette for an almond macaron to take home for later. I was thinking a cocktail was in order, but it was really only late afternoon. So I waited until we got home.

Then it was time to put on a pot for mulled wine. I often have a glass of wine with dinner, but with the evenings becoming cold and even icy, why not have warm mulled wine instead? If you’ve never tried it, it has notes of citrus and warm spice and is perfect to ease the pain of dingy, disappointing apartments…or whatever it is that’s ailing you at the moment.

I got this recipe from Romney Steele’s My Nepethe Cookbook. I have so many recipes bookmarked to try from the book that it almost seems silly that this simple drink recipe was the first up. If you missed it, Heidi over at 101 Cookbooks recently made Romney’s Orange and Oat Scones and they looked awesome. Other stand out recipes I’m looking forward to trying are the Persimmon Pudding Cake, the Nepethe Cheese Pie, and Javier’s Chile Rellenos. If you haven’t seen Romney’s book, it is a collection of recipes culled from her family’s Big Sur Restaurant, Nepethe. While narrative cookbooks based around family lore are certainly nothing new, Romney’s book is a bit different in that it speaks so much to how a singular place can color an upbringing, a family, a restaurant, and a community. Sara Remington’s photography is absolutely stunning in that earthy, muted, moody style that displays and celebrates the landscapes and colors of Big Sur.

So without further ado, the recipe for Mulled Wine. The nice thing about Mulled Wine is you can really fiddle with it and adjust it to your own tastes. I did adapt the recipe slightly, adding a bit more cinnamon, cloves, and less sugar. Think about the wine you’re using in relation to the sugar you’ll be adding. I used a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau we had leftover from Thanksgiving and it’s a big, jammy, little-bit-sweet wine. Also, you can really let this simmer away for an hour or more to let the flavors develop-just know you’ll need to add more wine as it will reduce naturally.

Mulled Wine

Mulled Wine

  • Yield: 4-6
  • Cook time: 40 mins
  • Total time: 40 mins

Slightly adapted from: My Nepenthe

Ingredients

20 whole cloves
1 orange
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cinnamon stick
1/2 vanilla bean
3 slices lemon peel
1 (750 -milliliter) bottle fruity red wine
Brandy (optional)

Instructions

Stick the cloves into the orange, making a decorative pattern if you’d like.

Combine the orange, water, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla bean, and lemon peel in a large, nonreactive pot and simmer for 10 minutes. Pour in the wine. Simmer over low heat until the flavors meld, about 30 minutes. Just before serving, pour in a jigger or two of brandy. Serve hot.

Comments

  1. Shannalee

    This looks so lovely, I am mentally plotting ways to use what I already have and re-create a variation (apple cider, clove-studded clementines, cinnamon?). Best wishes with the apartment hunting - it can be draining, I know.

  2. Megan Gordon

    Yes, Shannalee! So many good variations...I think clove-studded clementines would be amazing.

    And thanks for the apartment well-wishes (we'll need it!)

  3. El

    Apartment hunting is a nightmare. I'm sorry for your ordeal but when you find the right place it will be worth all the headache. What a great way to finish the day with this elegant mulled wine. Beautiful recipe. Thanks for the cookbook tips too!

  4. Chez Danisse

    You might think I'm crazy, but I've never used heat in SF. I turned on my radiator a couple of times and it was such a fiasco I just decided to do without and it hasn't been all that bad. Maybe you can do without? Or maybe it's because I'm from Chicago and all other San Franciscans would disagree with me. Hmmm... I've never tried mulled wine--looks fun!

  5. carra turney young

    I make mulled wine every year but i use a mulling spice from Williams Sonoma. This season I'm going to give this a whirl,thanks for the recipe! Oh, and my sis made a delicious perssimon pudding cake for thanksgiving and it was AMAZING! Loving the blog ever since I discovered you via Jean's. Keep up the amazing work! xo

  6. Megan Gordon

    Thanks El, Denise and Carra (wheeeee: an old, familiar face on the blog-nice to see you here!).

    And yes, Denise, I do think you're just a teeny bit crazy for never using the heat. Although I have to say, in a very frugal winter in Boston I wouldn't let my roommates touch the thermostat once. Lots of bundling...

  7. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite

    Megan - this looks GREAT! I will totally be using this recipe next Sat at our annual holiday party :-)

    Good luck with the apartment hunt - the right one WILL present itself!

  8. Chez Danisse

    Megan,
    Today I am doubting all I said. Get the heat! Brrrrrrrrrrr...
    Denise

  9. Rob

    I used to live in San Francisco, and your beautiful images makes me miss being there. Lovely.

  10. Megan Gordon

    Denise--I hear ya'!
    Brrr! Not signing a lease without full access :)

  11. Megan Gordon

    Thanks, Rob.
    I just headed over to your blog and it's quite lovely as well! Thanks for stopping by...

  12. Danielle

    The cold front has got me thinking about mulled wine today - glad I found your recipe, off to the stove I go! *hic*

  13. Sophie

    Your mulled wine looks very inviting! I so love it!

    Yummie! Cheers!

  14. AmandaonMaui

    I made this last night. It was the first time I'd ever had mulled wine. I loved it! I bought a $9 bottle of wine since I was going to be covering it up with sugar and spices anyway.

    The only thing that bummed me was that it felt like a waste of a whole orange. Maybe I could put orange slices next time and put the cloves in a cheesecloth bag.

    1. megang

      Hi Amanda! I always felt that way about the orange, too. I love your idea of using the whole orange and preserving the cloves. Glad you enjoyed the recipe--I haven't made it yet this year, but need to get on it.

Join the Discussion

Summer Desserts

Whole Grain Any-Fruit Crisp

Whole Grain Any-Fruit Crisp

On Monday our little family of three is headed to the airport at 6 am to board our first with-baby cross-country trip. We'll be visiting Sam's family in New Jersey for a few days, then renting a car and driving over to meet up with my family at my mom's lake house in the Adirondacks. Sam's younger sister and her kids have yet to meet Oliver; my grandpa has yet to meet him, and Oliver has yet to take a dunk in a lake, see a firefly, or spend quality time with energetic dogs -- of which there will be three. A lot of firsts. This week my family has been madly texting, volunteering to make certain meals or sweets on assigned days while we're at the cabin and it got me thinking about really simple, effortless summer desserts -- in particular, ones that you can make while staying in a house with an unfamiliar kitchen and unfamiliar equipment and still do a pretty bang-up job. I think fruit crisp is just that thing. 

Read More
Thick and Creamy Cherry Almond Ice Cream

Thick and Creamy Cherry Almond Ice Cream

This past week we've had quite a heat wave in Seattle. I've been getting into the bakery early in the mornings so as to avoid the afternoon heat + hot oven combination, and it turns out the upstairs of our new house is quite a little hot box. I bought some aggressive blinds and a new fan and am hoping both will help cool things down a bit. The wool blanket is in the linen closet for the season, and Sam's been making iced tea like it's his job. Summer has arrived! A few nights ago, the thought of actually doing much real cooking seemed a bit overwhelming, so I figured it was time to dig out the ice cream maker and get to work. I'd wanted to do something with the beautiful strawberries we have in the markets right now, but it seems every time I get a little pint it's gone before I have the chance. They are just so incredibly sweet, and it seems a shame to do anything other than eat them right out of the container, preferably while sitting on the Moroccan picnic blanket you brought back from honeymoon on the lawn in your new backyard trying not to stress out about the incredible, insurmountable number of weeds. So. Many. Weeds. But cherries: somehow the bag of cherries made it safely through the weekend, so I set about to find a great cherry ice cream recipe. 

Read More
No-Fuss Hot Fudge Sauce

No-Fuss Hot Fudge Sauce

When you have an eight month old baby, making social plans can be hard. Especially in the evenings. When I was pregnant, I read Bringing up Bebe and one of the big premises of the book is how the French feel strongly that babies and children can fit into your lives and that you shouldn't have to change and alter everything to accommodate them. I remember reading the book and thinking: YES! Life will be just as it was, except we'll have a small baby in tow. Obviously a few things would likely be different, but I didn't want to change our routines, change the way we cooked or approached time off together, or see our friends any less. Well of course I'm the fool. Or at the very least, I'm not as French as I thought I was. Today, we very much schedule things around Oliver's nap schedule and bedtime, but thankfully we have a lot of other friends with kids who get it. Friends who make homemade cookies, own ice cream businesses, and have really great taste in music. Friends who host the kind of occasion that warrants homemade hot fudge sauce and eating dessert first.

Read More
Dating Yourself

Dating Yourself

We're back! After a restful few days in Lake George, I ended up flying home while Sam spent a little time with his family in New Jersey and a few days in New York City by himself before taking the train all the way back to Seattle (a solid four day journey). If you know Sam, this isn't surprising; he loves trains. When he's gone, I quickly revert back to my single gal days of eating veggie quesadillas for dinner (over and over) and staying up working later than I'd like. We would talk on the phone often as Sam would narrate his very full days in New York City and the stops and layovers he had while on the train. After a few days of me lamenting the fact that I wasn't there to experience it all with him, he encouraged me to ditch the quesadillas and do something special for dinner. See a movie. Go to the museum for just an hour. In short: I needed to get better at dating myself.

Read More
Sara’s Peach Derby Ice Cream

Sara’s Peach Derby Ice Cream

I received The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl + Spoon cookbook in the mail not long before we moved to our new house, and I remember lying in bed and bookmarking pages I was excited to try but also feeling overwhelmed with where to start: the truth is that this summer has been a relatively low-inspiration / low energy time in the kitchen for me. I'd been chalking it up to pregnancy but when I think back and if I'm honest with myself, my cooking style tends to be very easy and produce-driven during these warmer months. I rarely break out complicated recipes, instead relying on fresh tomatoes and corn or zucchini and homemade pesto to guide me. But last night I cracked open Sara's book and pulled out a few peaches I've had sitting on the counter, fearing their season may be nearing its end. This morning as I was making coffee, I sliced up the peaches, toasted the pecans and churned away -- having a bite (or maybe two) before getting it into the freezer to firm up. 

Read More