Friday, December 01, 2006

Mulled Wine and Squash Biscuits


Last night I had a very impromptu dinner party, featuring this delicious mulled wine. I scoured the internet looking for recipes and then bastardized what I found and created my own. Judging from the scarlet-stained smiles of my pals Miss NoNo, Heidi, Berge and Camille, I'd say the recipe was a winner. Of course, I ordered them to drink up & smile, but I sure didn't have to order them a second time.


I bastardized yet another recipe that was for squash biscuits. The recipe didn't call for buttermilk but I figured, of course you can put buttermilk in biscuits, right? And so I did. By this point however, I'd had quite a few nips of the mulled wine so I was getting sloppy and I kept on adding flour and it was becoming quite the gooey mess. I didn't have high hopes and I didn't have much patience, but neither did I care. Instead of cutting the biscuits into little round bits, I just glopped them onto the pan with reckless abandon, and I wish I'd gotten a photo, because they looked like weird scone-blobs. But guess what? They tasted fabulous and had a lovely texture inside. I guess the secret is to drink more mulled wine and cultivate reckless abandon.

Here are the recipes...

Mulled Wine:


1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
8 - 10 cloves
8 - 10 juniper berries
8 - 10 whole allspice berries
4 - 6 whole peppercorns
1 - 2 cinnamon sticks
A light sprinkling of freshly grated nutmeg
2 tea bags of herbal tea - I used Good Earth decaffeinated herb blend
1/2 cup Grand Marnier
3 - 4 slices of orange zest
3 - 4 slices of lemon zest
Thinly sliced oranges and lemons
2 bottles red wine - I used 1 bottle Merlot and 1 bottle Zinfandel

Bring the water to a boil and add the sugar; whisk till it disolves and then add the teabags, spices, citrus and zest. Turn the heat off. Let this steep for about 10 - 15 minutes and remove the teabags. Now stir in the Grand Marnier and the wine, and turn the heat back on. The key is to heat it very slowly and don't ever boil it. When it's good & piping hot, serve it up and prepare for scarlet smiles all around!

Reckless Abandon Squash Biscuits

2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cold butter
1 cup cooked squash (I used pumpkin)
2 teaspoons maple syrup
2 - 4 tablespoons buttermilk

Pre-heat the oven to 400. Combine the dry ingredients. Cut the butter into small pieces and work into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter or fork, until the mixture is the size of small peas. Mix the maple syrup into the squash; then stir this into the flour mixture. Add enough buttermilk to make a soft dough. Now knead it a bit 'til you have a nice pliable dough, adding more flour as needed. Now here's where the usual recipes call for folding the dough over a few times before rolling it out and cutting it. The reckless abandon method calls for just kneading it a few times and then dropping it by big fat tablespoonsful onto your baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes or so, and serve steaming hot, preferably with butter. And if you're really feeling reckless, just blow off dinner and fill up on these.

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