A Thought For Food » where ideas are brought to simmer

The Cider Mill (Scotch, Apple Syrup, and Grapefruit Bitters) // A Thought For FoodThe Cider Mill (Scotch, Apple Syrup, and Grapefruit Bitters) // A Thought For Food

I failed at posting a Hanukkah recipe. I had one in my head but never got around to making it. I guess I’ll just have to save it for next year. This seems to always happen to me when it comes to holiday recipes. Even this post, a cocktail to ring in the New Year, almost didn’t happen. Vijay, Brandon and I had talked a few weeks ago about doing another What I Drink post, since we had such a blast with the first one. We’re a few guys who not only love food, but enjoy getting creative with our cocktails. And whenever a holiday comes around, you can bet that the three of us have come up with a creative beverage to go with the celebratory feast. But, as I said, we were pretty close to not succeeding in our second installment.

I’m so glad we stuck to our guns, though. Each of us have come up with drinks that use seasonal ingredients and somewhat underused booze.  Brandon’s working with champagne and infused brandy. And Vijay did a little switch up by putting mezcal in his version of a Blood and Sand, and cranberries are always a wonderful addition to a cocktail, both in flavor and color.

As for this little concoction I mixed together, well, it took me a little while until I figured out exactly what I wanted to make.  Originally, I had a hot toddy in mind, but I’d been anxious to try out this little cider syrup trick and I’ve already posted an apple hot toddy… so that was out. Then I considered doing something with mezcal (I know, I’m obsessed), but when I looked in our cabinet, I found that we were all out (GAH!). So, I went with Scotch. Despite my love for a little single-malt goodness, I’ve never had it paired with other ingredients. Well, I’m hooked now. Don’t be skeptical. Try it, and you will be too. Promise.

I’m not sure I’ll be able to whip up something for next week. I might just take a little time off. We’ll have to see. Then again, if there’s some free time and I’m inspired, you may see me pop up here.  If not, I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday.

Happy Hanukkah. Merry Christmas. Enjoy your Kwanza. Or your Festivus.

Oh, and happy New Year.

The Cider Mill (Scotch, Apple Syrup, and Grapefruit Bitters) // A Thought For FoodThe Cider Mill (Scotch, Apple Syrup, and Grapefruit Bitters) // A Thought For FoodThe Cider Mill (Scotch, Apple Syrup, and Grapefruit Bitters) // A Thought For FoodView full post »

  • December 18, 2014 - 8:37 am

    Mallory @forkvsspoon - What a great cocktail! I am in love with apple cider syrup…ReplyCancel

  • December 18, 2014 - 8:54 am

    What I Drink: Apple & Quince Sparkler - […] types of apples. Pears would also be nice here as well. 3.2.2807 Also, be sure to check out The Cider Mill by […]ReplyCancel

  • December 18, 2014 - 12:06 pm

    todd wagner - So happy you made it happen. What a beautiful cocktail :)ReplyCancel

  • December 18, 2014 - 1:05 pm

    Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence - Well done Brian! Yes, so glad we made this happen. Now I’ve got a plethora of cocktail options to serve at this year’s New Years Eve bash 😉ReplyCancel

  • December 18, 2014 - 4:06 pm

    NoshOn.It - Just need to get a bottle of Amaro and I have everything I need for this one. I’m always intrigued by scotch-based cocktails and love the sweet / smoky balance hereReplyCancel

  • December 19, 2014 - 9:28 am

    Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles - Ooooo…love the flavor layers in this beautiful cocktail. I also think I need to find some grapefruit bitters for my winter bevvies!!ReplyCancel

  • December 19, 2014 - 11:46 am

    naomi - I need to try this! Have a great holiday season, Brian. And I may follow your lead and take time off and post if I’m inspired. :)ReplyCancel

  • December 20, 2014 - 8:14 am

    Michelle De La Cerda-Nash - This is a “put hair on your chest” drink, as my grandfather’s would call it. I’d love to toast the new year with them and this drink!ReplyCancel

  • December 20, 2014 - 9:58 am

    Nik@ABrownTable - Have a great holiday season, Brian! This cocktail has so many wonderful flavors, especially that anise :)ReplyCancel

  • December 20, 2014 - 1:44 pm

    Tiffany | offbeat + inspired - I absolutely love this. Amazing photos, GORGEOUS cocktail. I can’t wait to try it!ReplyCancel

  • December 21, 2014 - 4:19 pm

    hot buttered rum cookies + weekend links | brooklyn supper - […] of A Thought for Food, created the perfect holiday cocktail. Memorize his recipe for the Cider Mill and reap the […]ReplyCancel

  • December 21, 2014 - 9:36 pm

    Sippity Sup - Ginger and spice certainly make your entry festive. happy Fifth Night to you guys. GREGReplyCancel

  • December 22, 2014 - 11:14 pm

    The Mediterranean Dish - Hellllo happy drink! This is definitely New Year’s worthy. Glad I found your blog :-)ReplyCancel

  • December 28, 2014 - 11:36 am

Zaatar Roasted Beets with Honeyed Yogurt, Orange + Pistachio  // A Thought For Food

We had our neighbors over for dinner on Sunday. They’re a lot of fun. By that I mean that they like to imbibe just as much as we do (and they’re really nice, thoughtful guys). We’ve been known to get sucked into the vortex of their porch, where wine is poured freely and in great quantity. A quick hello turns into a three hour gossip session.

When we lived in South Boston, we knew our neighbors but we didn’t have a close relationship with any of them. Most of them were pleasant. Others, not so much.

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t think much about the whole neighbor thing until we’d been here for a few weeks and got to meet everyone. We live on a smaller, dead end street. Everyone’s been here for a number of years. Many grew up on the street, which I think says a lot about the area.  They all look out for one another, helping with yard work or cleaning the gutters or shoveling. It’s all very sweet, in a Pleasantville kind of way. (Except this is Massachusetts… where everyone has a bit of an edge)

Well, I got off track a bit. Our neighbors. Dinner. Sunday. They came over (at 4, because I know our track record and figured it’d be best to start our martini consumption early). Eric smoked a duck on the grill, I made the sides. One of those sides was this roasted beet dish, which our guests enjoyed immensely. In fact, I knew these two were good people when one of them said, “Oh, are these beets? I love beets!” I hear so much from the naysayers (They taste like dirt! Beets? Gross!) that I was thrilled to have a fan in our midst.

Zaatar Roasted Beets with Honeyed Yogurt, Orange + Pistachio  // A Thought For FoodZaatar Roasted Beets with Honeyed Yogurt, Orange + Pistachio  // A Thought For FoodZaatar Roasted Beets with Honeyed Yogurt, Orange + Pistachio  // A Thought For FoodView full post »

  • December 10, 2014 - 3:33 am

    Belinda @themoonblushbaker - The relationship you have found with your neighbours is one that is so rare. I have also got to know my neighbours and it has become deeper than that were they are almost like second member of the family. Also you can never have too many food lovers over!
    You plated such a marvellous meal! Gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • December 10, 2014 - 6:41 am

    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - You’re so lucky to be so close with your neighbours! I live in an apartment building where my next door neighbour is my landlord and yells in the hall all hours of the night, and the person below me CONSTANTLY bangs on his ceiling (my floor) with a broom handle every time my husband plays the piano or even randomly sometimes when we’re watching tv! I’d love to have people over and make something like this, but for now I’ll save this beauty recipe for me! Lovely :)ReplyCancel

  • December 10, 2014 - 8:46 am

    Tieghan - That is awesome you have such nice neighbors you can hang with. That does not seem to happen often.
    Beautiful beets! I would gobble them up!ReplyCancel

  • December 10, 2014 - 9:09 am

    Sofia - This looks AMAZING! Beets are the best…and with smoked duck?? Lucky neighbours you guys have!ReplyCancel

  • December 10, 2014 - 11:22 am

    naomi - I love the sound of your neighborhood, and the stories about your gatherings–makes me want to be your neighbor and settle in for a drink!

    The beets – I love beets! So naturally I”m all over this, especially with the zatar.ReplyCancel

  • December 10, 2014 - 1:20 pm

    Cheryl - Won’t you be my neighbor?

    I like the idea of a porch vortex where good people get sucked into friendly conversation, festive drinks, and wonderful food. Especially when it involves yogurt + za’atar.ReplyCancel

  • December 10, 2014 - 5:57 pm

    Shaina - I’m so glad you have wonderful neighbors. It makes all the difference. These beets are perfection.ReplyCancel

  • December 10, 2014 - 6:19 pm

    Sylvie | Gourmande in the Kitchen - That’s awesome to have great neighbors that you can hangout with and enjoy a good meal together.ReplyCancel

  • December 11, 2014 - 2:54 am

    francesca - That porch vortex sounds pretty great :)ReplyCancel

  • December 11, 2014 - 10:21 pm

    Laura - If you’re asking me, anyone who loves beets and can hold their booze is a keeper friend-wise. These beets especially, which sound perfect by the way. We live on the same, can’t-believe-people-are-this-great-kinda street too. A neighbour from waaaay down brought his snowblower over to clean our driveway today and I was just aghast. Community vibes! Nothing beats (beets?! heh) ’em.ReplyCancel

  • December 20, 2014 - 8:25 am

    Agnieszka - The pictures are beautiful and the food looks delicious. I can’t wait to try this!ReplyCancel

Fettuccine with Grapefruit Sauce, Brussels Sprouts + Manchego

We got home late Sunday evening, unpacked the car, put up a pot of tea, and got ourselves situated on the couch. Maki promptly passed out. We read a little, before heading to bed. I knew that last week wasn’t going to be relaxing. We had a lot on our plates. There was the drive down, the multiple days of cooking, which was then followed by a family brunch, a trip to New York to see Hedwig (our second time this year), and a wedding shoot in Brooklyn. It’s not that we didn’t have fun. We did. But it was the kind of trip where we came back and just crashed.

I avoided work as much as possible on Monday. I took long walks with Maki, watched a movie, and I even got myself on the elliptical for a few minutes (having not used it in over a month, it wasn’t the best experience). There was a little time spent in the kitchen, too. For a while now, I’ve been meaning to create a Brussels sprout recipe. My family is well aware of my love of these guys. The web is inundated with Brussels sprout recipes, though (do a search for “roasted Brussels sprouts” and you’ll see what I’m talking about). The goal was to come up with something a little different and yet keep the dish familiar. As I started thinking of what to do with them, I figured throwing pasta into the mix couldn’t hurt. But how to bring it all together? A creamy grapefruit sauce, rich and slightly tangy.  A touch of thyme. A sprinkle of cheese and a hearty dose of freshly ground pepper. And… done.

Fettuccine with Grapefruit Sauce, Brussels Sprouts + ManchegoFettuccine with Grapefruit Sauce, Brussels Sprouts + ManchegoFettuccine with Grapefruit Sauce, Brussels Sprouts + ManchegoFettuccine with Grapefruit Sauce, Brussels Sprouts + Manchego

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  • December 3, 2014 - 2:38 am

    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - Coming home after long trips is the best – especially to a comforting meal! This pasta looks fabulous. I love that sauce!ReplyCancel

  • December 3, 2014 - 8:55 am

    Liz @ Floating Kitchen - Wow – this is so creative. Grapefruit sauce sounds amazing. And I can never have enough brussels sprouts!ReplyCancel

  • December 3, 2014 - 9:13 am

    Tieghan - It always feels good to be home after a trip and when creamy pasta is involved you know things are going to be delicious!! Loving the idea of a grapefruit sauce!ReplyCancel

  • December 3, 2014 - 9:14 am

    Anna - Wow. This looks beautiful and sounds incredible! I adore brussels sprouts and have been looking to do something a little different with them. This is it!ReplyCancel

  • December 3, 2014 - 9:59 am

    Nicole, RD - grapefruit and vermouth with heavy cream? heavenly.ReplyCancel

  • December 3, 2014 - 10:25 am

    Cookin Canuck - That sounds like one exhausting weekend! I think I would have crashed, too. This pasta is so original and I’m completely intrigued by the mixture of grapefruit and Brussels sprouts.ReplyCancel

  • December 3, 2014 - 12:00 pm

    Heidi @foodiecrush - I love that you took time for yourself first, then created something special for others. You’ve somehow taken two flavors that I’d never imagine together to create a GORGEOUS pasta. Also, love the new look of the site!ReplyCancel

  • December 3, 2014 - 1:07 pm

    merry jennifer - It sounds like you had a wonderful week last week. I know you must have been worn out, though, after it all. What a lovely pasta recipe to celebrate your return home. I’m also completely addicted to Brussels – I roast them at least once per week. Thanks for another idea to change things up. :)ReplyCancel

  • December 3, 2014 - 2:58 pm

    Nicole Morrissey - grapefruit and vermouth with heavy cream? heavenly.ReplyCancel

  • December 3, 2014 - 4:13 pm

    Eileen - We had one of those come-home-and-crash-immediately trips this past September. Not such a fun aftermath! Hope you guys recover soon. :) Also, grapefruit sauce?? Such a great idea, especially with sprouts!ReplyCancel

  • December 4, 2014 - 2:13 am

    Kim Beaulieu - I think you really succeeded in creating something super unique with this one. I love the flavours, and that you made pasta with the brussel sprouts. As always your photos are stellar. I love your blog, it feels so peaceful.ReplyCancel

  • December 4, 2014 - 7:30 am

    Valerie - I am excited to give this flavor combination a try. Looks delicious!ReplyCancel

  • December 4, 2014 - 10:27 am

    bev @ bevcooks - THIS is all I’ll ever need in life. (plus my babies and husband and dog and a wine)ReplyCancel

  • December 5, 2014 - 1:30 pm

    Kelly - This dish is so creative and looks like a bowl full of comfort! I need to make this. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • December 6, 2014 - 6:14 am

    Currently Crushing On. | How Sweet It Is - […] fettuccine with grapefruit sauce. holy […]ReplyCancel

  • December 8, 2014 - 10:04 am

    Jamie | Jamie's Recipes - I am so intrigued by the grapefruit sauce. My family loves pasta and brussels sprouts they would adore this dish.ReplyCancel

  • December 8, 2014 - 3:03 pm

    Jamie's Recipes - I am so intrigued by the grapefruit sauce. My family loves pasta and brussels sprouts, they would adore this dish.ReplyCancel

  • December 9, 2014 - 7:53 pm

    Denise - Rest, and keep healthy during these long weeks. I feel the same pain as we head into our last work project of the year – officially have closed the FVM offices after the weekend!

    This is an outrageous flavor combination! I love the addition of grapefruit, it must add a brightness to the dish, and one can never go wrong with sprouts!ReplyCancel

  • February 10, 2015 - 10:03 pm

    Susan - Looks wonderful, tastes wonderful. Didn’t have any cream so used yoghurt instead and LoVED it! Thanks for this great combination.ReplyCancel