Light a few candles, set the stage with a pretty assortment of plates and glasses, then gather around the table and linger over a seasonal menu that's as warm and inviting as an open fire on a cold winter evening.
Ginger, honey, lemon, and rye whiskey come together in a spicy cocktail that can be served straight up or over ice.
Prepare the honey syrup and squeeze the lemon juice up to two days before serving. Store in the fridge
Combine honey, ginger, and 1/2 cup hot water in blender; blend until smooth. Strain mixture through fine strainer, pressing down to extract all liquid. Discard solids.
Pour ginger mixture into large jar. Add whiskey, lemon juice, and salt. Shake gently to combine, and chill. 3. To serve: Measure out 1/2 cup liquid, and place in ice-filled shaker. Shake, and strain into martini glass or ice-filled tumbler. Garnish with 2 lemon slices, or slap lemon peel between palms, and float on top of drink, if using.
Cauliflower Soup with Caramelized Apples and Hazelnuts
Toasted hazelnuts, caramelized apples, and fresh parsley dress up this cozy curried potage, which gets its thickness from puréed cauliflower. There is no need for a roux or other flour-based thickener to make this velvety cauliflower potage. A simple purée of the featured vegetable provides plenty of body.
Prepare the Soup (through Step 2) one or two days ahead. Caramelize the apples and chop the nuts in the morning or before guests arrive.
- Heat 2 Tbs. oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, sauté 5 to 7 minutes, then add garlic and coriander, and cook 1 minute. Add cauliflower, broth, and 11/2 cups water, and bring mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 to 25 minutes, or until cauliflower is tender. Cool.
- Blend cooled soup in blender or with immersion blender until smooth, adding more water if soup is too thick. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
- Heat remaining 1 Tbs. oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Place apples in single layer in skillet, and cook 5 to 7 minutes, or until apples start to brown, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle sugar over apples, and cook 3 to 5 minutes more, or until sugar melts and starts to caramelize. Stir in curry powder, and sauté 30 seconds. Transfer apples to large plate, spreading apart to keep from sticking together when sugar hardens.
- To serve: ladle warm soup into bowls, and top with caramelized apples, hazelnuts, and parsley.