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Often I cook with a glass or two (or three if it’s a particularly involved recipe or a particularly harrowing day) of wine. For me, not for the dish. Last week I had occasion to use liquor and fruit two different ways.
Dilemma One: Overripe peaches that I was pained to toss, but could not possibly eat.
I brought one of the five peaches I bought over the weekend to work and tried to eat it but had to admit defeat after two bites. I thought to myself, what would makes these peaches edible? If I was drunk would I eat them? I could safely answer “no." If they were steeped in alcohol would I eat them? Probably. I trolled around the interwebs and found a recipe for peaches in brown sugar with rum sauce and ice cream at my go-to epicurious.com.
I stopped at the market and bought a few less-ripe white peaches to augment the flavor and got a little cheapo bottle of spiced rum at the corner liquor store.
I knew I had cinnamon at home that I picked at the Spice House in the Milwaukee Public Market on a mini road trip this summer. Not just any cinnamon either, the primo stuff—Saigon.
This recipe is easy and fast but comes off as elegant. Like my favorite people! I think I made something close to caramel as well in the process and I was a wee bit self-satisfied with that.
Dilemma Two: Delicious and perfect honeycrisp apples
The dilemma with these apples was that they were perfect but I only had five—they were $7 a basket at the Logan Square Farmers' Market (shit!). I wanted everyone over for the Packers-Bears bludgeoning to be able to try some, but there wasn’t nearly enough to go around. It was cold and drizzly and the Bears were losing, so Hot Toddy Time it was! I'd purchased some cider at the LSFM on Sunday as well, so I had a tasty base.
I started a saucepan with some cider, some water, two sticks of cinnamon, some star anise pieces, some honey from the Chicago Honey Co-op, and a splash of OJ and sliced up two of the honeycrisps. After letting it simmer for as long as I could (one friend was literally hovering over the stove, waiting), I set out mugs and a selection of rum (left over from the peaches!), brandy (did I buy this because it’s hot toddy season?), and whiskey. I told guests to pick their poison and go to it. I know a traditional toddy is whiskey, but I have to say my rum version turned out pretty good. The sodden apples at the bottom of the mug? Punchy and delicious.