With all of the “Best of 2010” cookbook lists circulating lately, your head may be spinning. I know mine is. In the spirit of the holiday season, I’m giving away a small cookbook that’s had a big year for very good reasons (see below for giveaway details).
Praised by Gwyneth Paltrow’s popular e-newsletter, Goop, Amy Pennington’s Urban Pantry: Tips & Recipes for a Thrifty, Sustainable & Seasonal Kitchen is full of simple tips and recipes for stocking your kitchen in a cost-effective way with essential seasonal ingredients. The 60+ recipes are straightforward, but definitely offer unique and creative twists and turns.
I couldn’t resist Pennington’s “Steeping Fruit” recipe. Not only does it give you carte blanche to use any ingredients you like, but the combination of dried fruit, winter spice and liqueur is just too alluring to pass by. Try this infusion on a cheese plate, over thick Greek yogurt for breakfast or alongside roasted or grilled meats. It’s also great as a simple dessert on its own, and probably even better over a bowl of ice cream or with some freshly whipped cream.
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 Earl Grey tea bag, or a bag of loose tea
- grated peel from 1 orange
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 pound (about 2 cups) dried fruit, such as figs, prunes, apricots or raisins
- few splashes of brandy
Note: I used California Calimyra figs and adapted the recipe a little adding a pod of star anise, 6 cloves and pear brandy.
In a small saucepan over medium-high, heat the water, tea bag, orange peel, cinnamon stick and sugar until nearly boiling. Remove from heat and stir in the dried fruit and brandy. Let it steep for at least 30 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed. Serve the infusion at room temperature.
Pennington’s Pantry Note: You can easily add to this infusion. Try some cloves, different teas or liqueurs, such as cognac or sambuca. Store leftover fruit infusions in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.
To enter the Urban Pantry cookbook giveaway, please leave a comment below telling us your best tip for a thrifty, seasonal and/or sustainable kitchen.
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This giveaway is open from December 14th-December 17th 12pm PST. Please be sure to leave a valid email address. The winner will be randomly chosen and notified via email. If the winner does not respond within 24 hours after notification, another winner will be randomly chosen.
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