Tchin-Tchin, Bottoms Up

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Those of you who are mad cocktailers, and you know who you are,  take heart!  French holiday cocktails are coming your way, courtesy of the French TV chef Cyril Lignac and his supermarket cooking magazine Vie Pratique Gourmand

Each time I’ve quoted the newspaper Midi Libre I’ve opened myself to criticism by friendly French intellectuals for my plebian taste in reading matter, and now I’m bound to get a ration of merde for admitting to reading this little cooking mag.  But you know, I love it.  I don’t cook from it much, but I learn a lot from it.  And this issue, full of holiday menus, happens to have interesting cocktails associated with each of them.  And I happen to know that a certain number of you are very interested in cocktails.  And even those of who who wouldn’t touch a cocktail if it kissed you on both cheeks might be interested to see what a French supermarket cooking magazine proposes to feed its readers this holiday season. 

Eh voila!   Each of these recipes supposedly serves 6, but then, the French drink a lot less than you do.

**To accompany a meal of spiced comsommé with foie gras, duck with citrus, and a chocolate dome:

20 oz Champagne
3 oz Cointreau
6 T liquid honey

Dissolve the honey in the Cointreau and add the Champagne. 

**With a meal of foie gras with a jelly of Sauternes, venison on a spicecake toast with sauerkraut, and a raspberry cake:

8 oz canned litchis
1/2 lemon
1/2 bottle of brut Champagne
3 T litchi liqueur
6 fresh litchis

Mix all of the liquids with the juice only of the canned litchis.  Garnish with a fresh litchi.  No mention of what to do with the canned fruit, but personally, I’d eat it all myself.  I love litchis.

I know that not one single reader is going to make venison on spicecake toast with sauerkraut, but you’re allowed to try the cocktail with something else.

**To accompany a menu of smoked salmon with zucchini, a citrusy white fish, and a terrine of kiwi and almond cream:

10 oz vodka
4 T litchi juice
4 T grenadine
sparkling water
pomegranate seeds
for a lemongrass syrup:
6 oz sugar
4 stalks lemongrass, cut into pieces
1 T juniper berries

Mix the sryup ingredients with a cup of water in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil then simmer for 10 minutes.  Strain and keep in the fridge.

In a shaker, place 1 T crushed ice.  Add the vodka, 1 T of the lemongrass syrup, the litchi juice, and shake.  Pour into glasses with a few pomegranate seeds in each, add a splash of sparkling water, and a drizzle of grenadine.

**For a chilled menu of a “smoothie” of goat cheese and cucumber, a roll of chicken breast and black olives, and a red fruit soup scented with violet:

6 1/2 oz vodka
3 cups tomato juice
1 oz lemon juice
6 oysters
1 oz Worcestershire sauce
12 drops of hot sauce
celery salt and pepper

Open the oysters, remove from shells, and wipe them off.  Put each oyster in the bottom of a flute glass.  Shake remaining ingredients together and pour over oysters.

I don’t know about the combination of oysters and violet, so I suggest not serving this cocktail with the dessert!

**With a supper of lobster curry, prawns sautéed with pineapple, and a spiced chocolate tart, you might serve:

15 oz can of mango pieces
3 1/2 oz coconut milk
3 1/2 oz rum
1 T lemon juice
vanilla extract

Drain the mangoes, reserving the syrup.  Place the mangoes and all of the remaining ingredients in the blender and mix until smooth.  Add mango syrup as desired to adjust consistency.  Chill for 2 hours before serving.

And there are more: a dinner of scallops with a vegetable julienne, adorable little pockets of smoked salmon wrapped around a salmon tartare, and hazelnut cake served with a Blue Lagoon.  I imagine that you are past the Blue Lagoon stage of life, but I might be wrong.   Then there’s a menu of a glass of avocado and crayfish dice, capon with beet chips, and a molten chocolate cake with a cocktail of cherry syrup, grapefruit juice, and gin.

If you decide to take one for the team and try some of these, please let us all know, so we can thank your community-mindednes with a rousing Tchin-Tchin!

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7 Comments on “Tchin-Tchin, Bottoms Up”

  1. Eden Says:

    Actually I think venison on spicecake toast sounds tasty :->

    Did they not give names for these concoctions? And of course inquiring minds want to know what the festively green bererage in the photo up top might be?

  2. Heinz Says:

    I’m not a cocktail freak but the holiday menus in your post are interesting. I once have made pheasant breasts in a sauerkraut wrapping with gingerbread sauce and also deer loin wrapped in red cabbage with spiced finger noodles on chocolate ginger sauce. So there might be a reader who makes venison with sauerkraut and spicecake toast. But I’ve to say the red cabbage meal was tastier.

  3. Lucy V Says:

    I have to get more creative with the cocktails. These look like fun ones to try!


  4. Those are some sweet cocktails!
    Do the French have a cocktail culture? Can you buy rye? bourbon? It’s an ongoing challenge to find good cocktail ingredients in Italy
    The Italians don’t exactly run to their shakers at aperitivo hour either. :–(

  5. Eden Says:

    [just to hijack this to Italian rather than French culture for a moment]

    Judith, I read an article a while back (from Corriere Della Sera?) that cocktails were becomeing THE thing after work in Milano. I wouldn’t expect that to extend otuside the bigger cities, but it does imply at least some growing interest??

  6. Abra Bennett Says:

    Eden – they don’t really give them names, more like a title of the major ingredients. You’re free to name them for us!

    Heinz – I remember your venison and gingerbread sauce recipe. That sounds so good even now! It’s the sauerkraut that kind of stopped me in my tracks.

    Judith – I can’t say if there’s an actual cocktail culture down here in the south, but one can get the makings. What I can’t get, and it never fails to blow me away, is sherry It’s not just that I can’t get good sherry, I can’t get any at all.

  7. MickeyM Says:

    I’ve had champagne and Cointreau before, without the honey, many years ago in Germany. It is deceptively delicious. I describe it as a hangover in a glass, where you don’t need to wait until morning for the headache.

    Although I am not generally into cocktails, the mango one intrigues me. East Indian groceries sell canned mango pulp, which might be easier to work with. Using only coconut milk/cream would make it a very thick drink, even with all that rum. Maybe a little sparkling soda water would frisk it up a bit.

    Sauerkraut can be surprising, if you adjust the flavor a bit. Again in Germany, I learned to cook some sort of pork roast on a bed of sauerkraut mixed with pineapple chunks in one of those clay Roemertopfs that were so popular in the 70s.

    My Bohemian grandmother passed down a recipe for Knedlicky and Zelli (sp?) — sauerkraut, beef neckbones and dumplings — which is one of my all-time favorites, because not only is the first meal excellent, but the next day is even better.

    Beef neckbones are seared and removed, onions browned, then everything back to the pot with water to cover, salt and pepper. Caraway seeds are added. Then the flavor is carefully adjusted by adding brown sugar, but not too sweet. It takes the edge off the sauerkraut.

    Everythings cooks (covrered) slowly till the meat falls off the bone – slow cooker would be good. My mom used a pressure cooker when she was in a hurry.

    Big fluffy dumplings from the Joy of Cooking. But make a double batch. You need them and some of the sauerkraut- juice-meat mixture the next day.

    I worked out a vegetarian version of this using Morningstar soy Grillers and veg beef broth powder.

    As good as the stew is, the next day is even better. Cut the cold dumplings into 1/2 inch cubes and fry in butter in a big skillet, turning often. While they are cooking, beat some eggs in a bowl and add juice from the sauerkraut stew as well as a couple of tablespoons of the sauerkraut/beef solids. Mix together well, salt and pepper.

    When the dumplings are nicely browned, pour the egg mixture in and scramble.

    I don’t why it seems to taste like it has mushrooms in it, but it does to me. Yum.


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