Spicy Vegan 24-hour Maple Rye Whiskey & Sriracha BBQ Beef & Beans

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

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I have found that great northern beans take a lot longer to get tender than other beans, like black beans or black-eyed peas – so I like to cook them for days.  Literally.  That is not a necessity but long cooking times have their rewards.  My Vegetarian (Vegan) Crock Pot Spicy Barbecue Baked Beans for the Slow Cooker with Bourbon cooked for four days & still were more al dente than my boyfriend would tolerate.  But – he is a finicky eater & likes his things the way he likes them.  I found the beans to be perfect.

This recipe cooked for about 30 hours & I found the beans perfectly cooked.  Another important result of the long cooking time is is gives the beans a chance to absorb that rich brown color we have come to expect for barbecue beans.  Also – your house smells delicious.  You can used canned beans & do this stove-top (using far less of the fluid elements) but I really recommend giving this recipe a shot – using dry beans & cooking the bejesus outta them.

 I added Beyond Meat beefy crumbles to give the dish a more chili-like result and I like how it turned out.   I used beer & whiskey – you can leave these out if they do not appeal to you.  I used this Stubbs spicy BBQ but any brand you prefer will work.

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Spicy Vegan 24-hour Maple Rye Whiskey & Sriracha BBQ Beef & Beans

feeds 10+ as a side dish

INGREDIENTS

1 lb dry white beans (soaked in water overnight or quick-soaked)

9 oz vegan beef crumbles

1 onion – diced

4 garlic cloves – chopped

3 jalapeno peppers – sliced (seeded to reduce heat) (less to reduce heat)

1/2 cup maple rye whiskey

1/4 cup sriracha (less to reduce heat)

1 12 oz bottle dark beer

1/2 cup molasses

1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 cup BBQ sauce

3 TBS Dijon mustard

3/4 cup brown sugar

6 cups of vegetable stock (this might be more or less than you need – depending how long you cook your beans so add it in increments)

3 TBS Worcestershire Sauce (vegan version) – optional

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DIRECTIONS

Put everything into a slow cooker & cook on high all day.  Leave it on WARM overnight & then crank it up again.  If it gets too thick – add water or veggie stock.  If it is too thin, take the lid off the cooker & let it boil down.

It is really that easy.  If you are using canned beans or do not intend to cook the beans 24+ hours – start with less stock & add incrementally, as you need it.  Easy peasy!

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Jack Daniel’s Honey Whiskey Banana Almond Bread

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

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Bananas & avocados.  Delicious when they are perfect.  Perfectly ripe, that is.  “Perfectly ripe” is a tiny window in time for these fruits.  And perfectly ripe is open to interpretation – especially with bananas.  I like mine with a bit of green on the peel & the inside still very firm.  Others like them at their candy-sweetest – once a few spots begin to appear on the skin.  But, so far, I have never met anyone who prefers them mushy & showing as much as brown on the outside – so – when I spotted a bunch of bananas in this sad & dejected state – I took them & decided to make banana bread.  As long as the fruit inside itself is not brown – no banana is too ripe for banana bread.  I made three versions of banana bread & another sweet bread without bananas so this will be one of four breads I will roll out in the next few days.

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Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey Banana Almond Bread

INGREDIENTS

3 ripe bananas

1/3 cup butter – melted

1/4 cup honey

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

2 TBS Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey Whiskey (optional)

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

pinch nutmeg

pinch cloves

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup chopped almonds (and a few whole ones for decoration)

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

If your almonds are whole – put them in a sandwich bag & crush them.  I used the bottom of the Jack Daniels bottle.  Save a few whole ones for decoration.

Mash the bananas in a large bowl.   Then, just basically mix up the ingredients.  Pour into a greased loaf pan, place a few whole almonds on top, if you want, and bake for about an hour or until a toothpick or wooden skewer inserted comes out clean.

Voila!

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Boozy & Spicy BBQ Baked Black-Eyed Peas (Beans) – Vegan

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OK – let’s talk about these beans.  They can be made with black-eyed peas, as I show here, or with white beans or really any kind of beans you prefer.  There are lots of ingredients & none of them are critical – so – if you want to skip one or two go ahead.  Or if you do not feel like wasting beer & whiskey in a pot of beans – don’t.  There is plenty of flavor in these guys so I feel confident you will like them even if you tweak the recipe a bit.

I quick-soaked these which is to say – I covered them with several inches of water and brought it to a boil & left them to soak (off the heat) for about an hour.  Or – you can just soak them overnight.  This makes them cook faster & breaks down the stuff in them that inspired that “beans, beans – good for you heart” gem we all remember.

I cooked these for about 3 hours.  If that sounds interminable – use canned beans and these could be done in an hour but the full two hours will blend the flavors better.

 

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Boozy & Spicy Baked BBQ Black-Eyed Peas (Beans)

INGREDIENTS

1 lb dry black-eyed peas (of which I used about 4 of the resulting 5 cups of beans post-soak) or 5 cans beans

1/2 green bell pepper – chopped

10 sweet mini peppers (or the other 1/2 of the green bell) – chopped

1 jalapeno – seeded and chopped (optional)

4 garlic cloves – chopped

1 (28 ounce) can tomato sauce

2 TBS red wine vinegar

2 TBS lime juice

1/2 cup soy sauce

1-4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce – minced (use as much as your heat tolerance allows)

1/4 cup molasses

1/4 agave nectar (or honey – if you are not vegan)

1 TBS ground cumin

1 teaspoon dry thyme

3 TBS Dijon or other spicy mustard

1 bottle dark beer (I Used Guinness but Guinness is not vegan – so if you are vegan – use a vegan dark beer) – optional

1/4 cup Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey (or regular whiskey – if the honey whiskey isn’t vegan)  – optional

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

If using dry beans – quick soak them & then bring them back to a boil & allow to simmer for an hour – while you get the other ingredients prepped.  Before draining the beans – reserve a cup of the bean water.  Measure out 4 cups of beans.  Save the rest for a recipe I will post soon!

Or just open & drain the cans of beans.

I pulsed the mini peppers, garlic & jalapeno in my food processor to mince them but a more coarse chopping is fine.  In a large bowl – combine all the remaining ingredients – except the beans & reserved bean water.

I sprayed a large (9×12?) ceramic baking dish with cooking spray & put the black-eyed peas in there and poured the liquid on top.  I baked it for two hours, stirring occasionally & added some of the reserved bean water to thin it a few times.  You may or may not choose to do this – depending on how much liquid you like in your beans.  I hadn’t boiled my beans for the hour after quick-soaking so they were still a tad more al dente than I like so I baked them another hour.  You may or may not choose to do this.

If using canned beans – all the steps above apply but they will probably be done in one hour – DEFINITELY in two.

Maybe try these with my Vegan Korean BBQ Ribs?

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Jameson Whiskey Spicy Vegan Beef Bourguignon with Gluten-Free Pasta & Broccoli

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OK – I am officially obsessed with Trader Joe’s Beef-Less Strips.  The other day I made the easiest & most awesome Spicy Vegan Mongolian Beef.

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Last night I made this vegan variation of beef bourguignon & it was amazing!  Beef bourguignon is, basically, a French beef stew.  Many recipes call for cognac.  I didn’t have cognac so I used Jameson whiskey.  Many beef bourguignon recipes require a good 3-4 hours of cooking the meat in the oven.  This was made stove top in thirty minutes & I believe that would hold true even if you used real meat.  It was so Goddamn delicious – I ate it all – by myself!  I served it atop gluten-free spaghetti.

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You could use any pasta you like or mashed potatoes or polenta – whatever.  I also steamed some broccoli & added it to the plate.  It was really quite something & I sincerely hope you try it.  It is SO EASY & so yummy – I promise – you will make it again.

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Jameson Whiskey Spicy Vegan Beef Bourguignon with Gluten-Free Pasta & Broccoli

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

8 oz package Trader Joe’s Beef-less Strips (or other brand or similar portion of real beef – cubed or strips)

10 pearl onions (fresh or frozen)

3 carrots – chopped

5-10 mushrooms – cut in half (or quartered, if they are large)

1 TBS cornstarch (or flour)

olive oil

1/4 cup Jameson whiskey

1 cup red wine (use a decent one so you can drink the rest of the bottle with the meal)

1 cup vegetable stock

1 TBS tomato paste

2 bay leaves

4 garlic cloves – chopped

1/2 tsp (or more – to taste) crushed red pepper (optional)

Fresh thyme

S&P to taste

1/2 lb pasta

Broccoli florets (enough to feed two as a side)

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DIRECTIONS

If using fresh pearl onions – put them in boiling water for 3 minutes & then drain under cold water.  Cut the ends off & peel.  Set aside.  If using frozen ones – jump ahead.

Dredge your meat (real or vegan) in the cornstarch.

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Put a thin layer of olive oil in a large saute pan & heat over high.  Add the meat & sear on all sides.  This will likely take longer if you use real meat.  Don’t worry much about under-cooking real meat as it will continue to cook as you add ingredients.

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Deglaze the pan with the Jameson whiskey (simply by adding it & stirring it in – scraping the bottom of the pan) & then add 1 cup red wine, the vegetable stock, tomato paste, bay leaves, garlic and crushed red pepper (if using).  Heat to a boil then reduce to med-low.  Add S&P to taste.  Ad several sprigs of chopped fresh thyme (leaves only – not stems).

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In another pan, add a glug or two of olive oil & over medium heat, saute the pearl onions, mushrooms & carrots.   Saute, stirring frequently, until they begin to sear or brown a bit (5 minutes or so).  Deglaze the pan with either more Jameson whiskey or wine (or water) and then add the lot to the beef stew pan.

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Continue cooking over medium heat until the carrots are tender.  If the stew is too thick, add some water.  If it is too thin – increase heat & cook until you get the desired consistency.  Lower heat & let it simmer while you cook the pasta & steam the broccoli.  I simply added the broccoli florets to the pasta for the final two minutes.  Remove the bay leaves.

Drain the pasta & broccoli & put some on plates.  Top with the beef bouguignon (and maybe extra thyme as garnish?) & serve with wine.  At least one bottle per person.  🙂

Or slop this stuff down with the remaining Jameson, in which case, the one bottle should be enough for two.  😉

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Grown-up Fireball Whiskey Cupcakes

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These guys are as easy as can be.  You could make them with your favorite “from scratch” cupcake recipe or just buy a box of cake mix.  Same with the frosting.  I had to make a dinner for 12 the other day and, as it was a dual birthday celebration – desserts were a must.  I just didn’t have time to get all fancified with these.  Or even to photograph them properly – so – pardon the bare bones effort here.

If you haven’t tried Fireball whiskey but you like a cocktail & you like to pretend you aren’t really having one – this Fireball is for you.  I cannot stomach any brown liquors or whiskey, in general, but this stuff is candy in a bottle & I promise you will NOT taste whiskey.  At all.  My badass boyfriend Miles is in town for our anniversary (today!) and he has a weakness for this Fireball elixir and I thought I’d experiment with it in cupcakes.  It worked & they were colorful & tasty & reminiscent of those fireball jawbreakers.  Try them!

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Grown-up Fireball Whiskey Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

1 box of white cake mix (and the ingredients – eggs & oil – that the box outlines)

Fireball whiskey

Sprinkles of your choice

Red food coloring

Cupcake liners

For the icing

White frosting

DIRECTIONS

See?  EASY!

Make the cake mix as directed but replace the water required with Fireball whiskey & then add a tablespoon or two of red food coloring.

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Bake as directed.  Cool the cupcakes.

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Add a TBS or two (or more if you like) of Fireball whiskey to the frosting.

Frost & decorate as you like.  Voila!

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Spicy Extra Crispy Southern Fried Chicken & Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey

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Ok, well, I haven’t eaten chicken since the late eighties & I have never made fried chicken.  I did make a cauliflower version – my Spicy Southern Fried Cauliflower and Delta Dipping Sauce with Smashed Baked Potatoes and White Gravy and Buffalo Mac & Cheese.  I loved it!

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But my chicken-loving boyfriend, Miles, was in town this week & I had promised him for months that I would make him fried chicken on this trip.  So – we went to the amazing Super King and bought 2.5 pounds of chicken for under $4.  I got two breasts & two drumsticks.  After breading & frying, one of those breasts weighed in at 14 ounces!  That is nearly a pound of fried chicken in just one piece.  The drumsticks weighed about 8 ounces after breading & frying.  That amount of chicken could feed 4-6 people.  Crazy.

Anyway, I was somewhat intimidated to make this dish, primarily because Miles is a very picky eater & because I couldn’t try it myself to test its worthiness but – a promise is a promise – so I did it.  And I think it was a huge success!  It came out golden on the outside, moist on the inside & was very crispy.  I was dying to eat it myself but I had my fried cauliflower & Delta dipping sauce with which to console myself and console myself I did.

I included a bottle of Miles’ new favorite sipping whiskey in some photos because the bottle is pretty & because it really was what Miles washed his chicken down with.  That & a Bud Light.

Miles’ contribution to the meal can be seen in the frame with the whiskey – little bowls of the spiciest, pan-fried red potatoes.  They were little bowls because both of us kept sneaking bits out of the pan every time we went near it & pretty much devoured the lot before the chicken was ready to serve.

The Delta dipping sauce is really a spicy Thousand Island dressing but it is delicious & I strongly suggest you try it – even on a salad.  That way – you can maximize the fat intake of a single meal.  🙂  Fuck it.

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Spicy Extra Crispy Southern Fried Chicken

3 lbs chicken

4 eggs

1/3 cup water

1 cup Frank’s Hot Sauce (or other hot sauce)

4 cups flour

2 tsp cayenne pepper

2 tsp each of S&P

2 tsp chipotle chili powder (or smoked or regular paprika)

2 tsp garlic powder

Lots of vegetable oil for frying

1 gallon zip lock baggy (not necessary but it makes life easier)

1 quart buttermilk

1 tsp each – salt, pepper & garlic powder

DIRECTIONS

Put the chicken pieces in a container & cover with buttermilk.  Marinate them like that in the fridge for a few hours.

Blend the eggs, hot sauce & water in a deep bowl.

Blend the flour, cayenne, S&P, chili powder & 2 tsp garlic powder in a Ziplock bag or a deep bowl.

When ready to cook the chicken, remove it from the buttermilk & sprinkle with S&P and garlic powder.

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Heat a lot of oil (I used enough that I could completely submerge a breast & drumstick – and cooked the chicken in two shifts) over medium heat.  MEDIUM HEAT.  If you have a kitchen thermometer – the oil should be 350 degrees.  I do not have one.  If you do not have one either – simply put the end of a wooden spoon or chopstick in the oil to test it.  When it reaches 350, little bubbles will creep up the wood.

Put the chicken in the flour mixture & completely coat it.  Then, dunk it in the egg mixture & coat it again & then back into the flour mix.  The crust should be fairy thick.  Then fry those bitches up!

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My pieces took 20-25 minutes to cook but that was because they were Flintstone-style gigantic hunks of chicken.  Normal pieces should cook in 14-18 minutes.  If the chicken seems to be browning faster than the inside is cooking – lower the heat.  Drain on paper towels.

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For the Delta dipping sauce

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tsp lemon juice

1/8 cup vegetable oil

1/8 cup sambal oelek (or other chili sauce)

1/8 cup ketchup

1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp mustard

1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

2-3 dashes hot pepper sauce (Tabasco or another brand)

1 garlic clove – minced

DIRECTIONS

Blend together & chill.

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Brie Quesadilla with Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey-Soaked Cherries

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This Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey cherry idea was my boyfriend’s.  He loves my Jack Daniels Whiskey & Honey Glazed Carrots – a lot.  When I ran a few of my quesadilla ingredients by him (one using Coca Cola & another using balsamic vinegar) – he suggested something with this whiskey.  So – essentially – I made the exact recipe but with fresh cherries instead of carrots.  It is outrageous!  I used it in this quesadilla but it would be incredible on anything from salmon to chicken to ice cream.   Crazy yummy!  Maybe just pour it over a wedge of brie & serve it with a crusty bread.  Ymmmmm!

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Brie Quesadilla with Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey-Soaked Cherries

INGREDIENTS

Tortillas

Brie – sliced thin

1 cup fresh cherries – pitted

2 TBS butter

1 TBS brown sugar

3 sprigs of thyme – leaves only

1/4 cup Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey

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DIRECTIONS

Melt one of the tablespoons of butter in a large saute pan over high heat.  Add cherries and thyme & stir – sauteing them for 2-3 min.  Remove the cherries to a bowl with a slotted spoon.

Add the whiskey & let it saute for 30-45 seconds.  Reduce heat & melt the remaining tablespoon of butter.  Add the brown sugar & stir to combine.  Once a glaze begins to form – a minute or two – add the cherries back to the pan & stir to get them coated in glaze.  Cook another minute or two & set aside.

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Then – simply assemble the quesadilla the normal way.  Heat a dry pan.  Place a tortilla in it.  Layer the brie & some of the cherries & fold the tortilla.  I use a put lid to apply pressure & trap the heat.  After a minute or two – flip the quesadilla.  When golden on both sides – unceremoniously shove it in your face and commence to making another!

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Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey Marinated BBQ Pork Loin

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Hey, kids!  I wrote a hilarious novel!  Read the reviews on Amazon!  Buy it – read it!  Laugh until you pee!

Now – food!

I don’t eat meat & haven’t since the late 80’s.  Some time in that period, my then boyfriend & I were renting a house that had a strange chicken coop kinda thing in the yard.  The house was on Mount Washington in Highland Park – not exactly a rural location – but we thought – a few chickens might be fun.  We thought we could raise them & then eat the eggs they produced.  So – we bought a book hilariously titled “Poultry as a Hobby” – found a pet store selling teenage chicks, bought a few – and built a little chicken-wire run around the coop and deposited the new pets into their new home.

A few weeks later, as I was hosting a dinner party, I remembered I had neglected to lock the chickens back up inside their coop for the night.  I ran outside but, even though it had just gotten dark out – in the dim light – I could see that there were no chickens in the run.  Coyotes had gotten them all, leaving no trace of their crime.  I returned to my dinner party, sobbing, and declared to my guests, “No chicken will ever again die because of me!”  And I gave up all meat & poultry forever – right then & there.

That boyfriend has since gone on to marry & have a pack of gorgeous, bi-lingual kids & open a chain of AMAZING gourmet pizza places all over France (and in other parts of Europe).  Look up PINK FLAMINGO PIZZA, if you are ever in Paris.  Truly inventive & amazing pizzas.  With lots of meat.  HERE is a post I wrote about the restaurant last year.  Definitely check it out!

My current boyfriend is also an over-achieving carnivore & regularly orders things with names like “Meat Lover’s Pizza.”  He happened to be in town for Easter this past weekend & I decided to treat him to something other than my vegetarian pastas & pizzas.  I bought a huge log of pork loin at Costco that was nearly as long as his leg & as big around as his slim thigh.  And it was only $20!  Who knew pork was such an economical way to feed people?  $20 for nine pounds of pork loin? Wowza!

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So – I brought it home & cut it into three roasts & marinated it for three days.  On the day, I fired up some coals on a grill & when they were all hot & ashy – I put one of the roasts on the grill.  I decided to cook one up on its own lest I try to cook – and ruin – all three at once.  It blackened nicely on the outside & took probably 45-60 minutes to finally reach 145 degrees in the thickest part (a meat thermometer is crucial for cooking pork).  I let it rest for about ten minutes & then sliced it up.  Miles, my boyfriend, tasted it & gave it his seal of approval.

I put the other two chunks of meat on the grill but the grill was only hot enough, by that point, to char the outside.  So – I put them in a roast pan with some olive oil & baked them at 350 for about 30 minutes – until they, too, were 145 degrees inside.  Then I just sliced them all up, too, and put them on a platter with little slider rolls & a few variations of BBQ sauce.  It smelled incredible & people inhaled it.  I highly recommend trying this if you want an easy & cheap way to feed about 20 people!

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Here are the ingredients I used for the marinade:

9 pounds pork loin – divided into three

1 cup Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey

2 TBS Worcestershire sauce

1 cup Dijon mustard

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup your favorite BBQ sauce

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Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey Glazed Carrots

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012

I must admit – I have really been underachieving with this blog lately.  Lots of factors are to blame, though.  It hasn’t been lack of interest or effort on my part.  It has been a combination of my trying various recipes that fail & are unworthy of posting, my need to eat some Goddamn leftovers whenever I make something instead of tossing them so I have an excuse to make something new and then a week & a half over Thanksgiving with my boyfriend – whose palate is Southern & conservative & accustomed to a great deal of meat.  Mine is quite the opposite – northeastern, adventurous & lacto-ovo-pescatarian.  Hence – little cooking happened over the holiday that warranted posting – and most of what did (lots of Thanksgiving new additions to my menu) remained undocumented due to the sheer volume of things I cooked.  I made:

Brie & homemade cranberry sauce mini tartelettes, roasted turkey, celery root stuffing, vegan gravy, turkey gravy, cream cheese mashed potatoes, corn pudding, glazed carrots, cauliflower gratin torte with homemade crust, peas with roasted onion & mint, pumpkin mac & cheese, slow-cooked BBQ baked beans, homemade cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie cupcakes with homemade crust and a full-sized pumpkin pie with a homemade crust.  There just wasn’t time in my days (three of them spent cooking) to properly track my ingredients & quantities & to photograph everything.

Do not think I wasn’t self-flagellating as I slaved for three days over food as my blog remained stagnant & forgotten – and as I neglected to take advantage of what could have been a month worth of posts.  I comforted myself that food cooked so close to – and on – Thanksgiving day was likely to be no aid to those of you out there who might be looking for Thanksgiving recipes.  I will attempt to make up for it by posted a few in the near future that I think might serve you well over the December holiday season.

The first one I will share with you is the recipe for the VERY EASY glazed carrots.  I used Jack Daniels Honey whiskey – but any whiskey would likely do.  There are very simple & appropriate for kids, too, as the alcohol burns off in the cooking.   They can be made hours in advance & reheated just prior to serving.

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Jack Daniels Whiskey & Honey Glazed Carrots

(This recipe should serve 10-15 very generously – and up to 20 if there are lots of other sides on your table.)

INGREDIENTS

1 cup Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey

4 lbs carrots, peeled & cut into 1/2 inch slices

2 1/2 sticks of butter (half a pound or MORE)

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar

2 tsp salt

Pepper to taste

Chopped parsley or chives as garnish (optional but pretty)

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DIRECTIONS

Melt 3 TBS butter in a large saute pan over high heat.  If you do not have a large saute pan – do this recipe in two batches.   You want the carrots to come into contact with both the butter & the heat of the pan – and you do not want your butter to burn.  Add carrots & stir – sauteing them for 2-3 min.  Remove the carrots to a large bowl with a slotted spoon.

Add the whiskey & let it saute for 30-45 seconds.  Reduce heat & melt the remaining butter.  Add the brown sugar & stir to combine.  Once a glaze begins to form – a minute or two – add the carrots back to the pan & stir to get all the carrots coated in glaze.  Cover the pan & saute over medium or medium-low heat for maybe 5-10 minutes – until carrots are cooked to your preference.  Add S&P.

If serving immediately – pour the carrots & glaze onto a platter & top with the parsley or chives (if using) and serve.  Or – set them away off heat & reheat when ready to serve.

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