Fall. It’s a special time in the Northeast. The temperature eventually drops,the rains come,and the leaves gradually fall. For those of us who like cocktails,it’s also a great time to dig out the cool-weather recipes for both food and drink.
It’s at this time of year that most of us pull out our recipes for mulled cider. It’s easy to make,and comforting to the soul. Plus,if you have non-drinking guests,it’s just as delicious without the alcohol. you might also want to serve this cocktail with a savory snack that’s a bit unusual for most of us in this part of the world- fried cheddar grits squares. These little squares will help slow down the effects of drinking warm alcohol,and their flavor complements the cocktail quite well.
Mulled Cider with a Kick (serves 4)
2 cups unfiltered sweet apple cider (or,be daring and use pear cider!)
2 cinnamon sticks
1 thick lemon wheel with the skin studded with 8 whole cloves
2 T. dark brown sugar
1/2 cup dark Montecristo Rum
In a steel quart pot,mix together the cider,cinnamon,studded lemon wheel,and brown sugar,and warm over medium heat until the liquid begins to simmer. Turn the heat down to low and continue to simmer for 2 minutes. Add the rum and pour into heat-proof mugs or glasses. Garnish each with a lemon twist.
Fried Cheddar Grits Squares (serves
1/2 t. salt
3 cups grits,prepared according to the packaging (Pipeline recommends stone-ground grits that are slow-cooked,not quick grits)
1/2 cup coarsely grated cheddar cheese
1 T. fine chopped parsley (optional)
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups canola oil
salt to taste
Prepare 3 cups of grits accord to the package,making sure to add the 1/2 t. of salt to the water. Remove from the heat,and add the cheese and parsley. Pour the grits mixture into a square cake pan and place the pan in the refrigerator at least 8 hours or overnight. When ready,heat the oil on medium heat. Turn the grits out onto a plate or cutting board and cut the block into 1 1/2″x1 1/2″cubes. Put the flour in a bowl and toss the grits in the flour until the cubes are covered. Shake off the excess flour. Use a candy thermometer to check if the oil has reached ‘deep fry’. when it has,fry the cubes a handful at a time until golden brown,and remove to drain and cool on paper towels.Salt to taste,and serve while warm.