Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ho, Ho, HO it's a Belgium Christmas

Erin and I decided to celebrate Christmas a bit early at our new favorite bar: Armsby Abbey.
We recently went to brunch there and when we paid our bills we were given a flyer for their Christmas Celebration! They replace all of their taps with Christmas inspired brews.


So here's what we gulped:

My 1st was: De Koninck Winter, Belguim Strong Pale
- Cider-like aromas of Sweet apple, caramel, toffee, nuts and spice.
(I really liked this one! i think my favorite)
Erin's 1st: Reindeers Revolt (i think she picked it because of the name!), English Strong Ale
- Buttery malts dominate the aroma with some butterscotch, cinnamon, caramel
and a bit of dough

my 2nd: Holidale (nitro) Berkshire Brewing, American Barley Wine
- Sweet, spicy and fruity
I picked this one because erin's sister works at Berkshire breweries
AND wine..come on!
Erin's 2nd: Gouden Carolus Noel, Belgian Strong Dark
- great aromas of chocolate, spice, vanilla and citrus orange.
The epitome of what Christmas beer should be (they actually said that :)

Erin said that this tasted just like root beer! odd. they had great glasses too!

We also sampled one of their amazing "slates". This one had: sweet potato hummus, pita, bread, blanched almonds, olives, a chipotle dip and pancetta...perfect nice. perfect food. perfect brew.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Home for the Holiday's with Tom and Jerry's

How is it that I grew up in Watertown and have never tasted a Tom and Jerry's??? I blame my parents for not introducing me to them, mainly my dad as I soon found out that my sister monica has been introduced numerous times...let's just say Santa has alot to make up for haha!
Needless to say both erin and I were introduced to these fine fellows on our recent trip to Watertown. and boy oh boy are they tasty.
Now I wish this could be a post where i describe how you to can create this wonderful christmasy drink on your own...but its a family secret! Only to be sampled at The Crystal Restaurant.

Now after some googling I learned that Tom and Jerry's are an actual drink with an actual history, but like most traditions each maker has their own additions that are impossible to replicate...this is true of the Crystal too!

So good luck, but if you want to try the real deal...head down to Watertown's Square :). Thanks Mom and Dad!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Cookies, Carols and Cheer

What would the holiday's be without cookies? no holiday at all if you ask me!

My friend Molly just bought a new house and her kitchen is the perfect setting for the baking extravaganza we decided to attempt last weekend. Molly and I emailed a bunch of cookie ideas back and forth and decided to be lofty and try to bake six different cookies in one day...we succeeded!

Our lofty list included:
-No bakes
-Peanut butter blossoms (aka the cookies with the Hershey kiss!)
-sugar cookies (roll out cookies)
-gingerbread men
-Fig 'n' Flax thumbprint (Eatingwell's 2009 cookie winner)
-Lemon Coconut Snowballs

Now if you click above three of these are from the KAF cookbook! great tool and of course baking with Molly King Arthur was the star of the day. We used KAF in all of our recipes. Molly really thinks it makes a difference in the quality of the cookie!

We started the night before by cranking out the no bakes.
they are super simple and take all of five mins. Since these need to sit we thought they would be perfect to do the night before.

The next morning Molly and I were ready to begin. We decided to start with the Peanut butter blossoms.
We got all the ingredients ready and started in. Molly has a great mixer so it made baking alot more efficient and fun!

I mixed and molly unwrapped kisses. She did a great job of "kissing" each cookie. We also opted to add a little snow to each one to make them more festive!

Next up were the roll out because we knew those would take awhile to cut and bake. Thankfully Molly is a pro, and actually enjoys rolling and she took charge of those:They were pretty amazing!

While she worked away on those I decided to try out the two new cookies: Fig n Flax and the Lemon coconut cookies!

I knew that the coconut ones had to cool and then be rolled in sugar again, so those came first. Check out that fresh lemon rind...they were so fresh and light!

and then later rolled in confectionery sugar....:)

Next up were the Fig n I know that these sound healthy, and they were by far the healthiest tasting, but I really enjoyed them. Take note that fig and anything pretty much appeals to me :). The Flax give the cookie a bit of a nutty/whole wheat flavor too!
Check out all those spices. We added some holly and berries to christmasize these too! (molly is a genius)

We took turns putting cookies in the oven and thankfully they all cooked at the same temperature too!
If you are wondering where erin was, she was in charge of the camera (and spent some of the morning outside taking pictures of the first snow!)

After a morning of baking we tackled the big challenge...decorating...again Molly to the rescue. She has a great piping set that makes decorating cookies a whole lot prettier and a whole lot easier!! Check out some of our handy work:
genius at work
Where did this decorator come from???

Not to be overshadowed we also threw together some gingerbread to make gingerbread men too! These baked while we tackled some sugar cookies and then they got added to the counter to be dressed to impress!

Finished Product: