Dec. 11th, 2015

Brainless

Dec. 11th, 2015 02:24 am
mellicious: pink manicure (not lazy)
Tomorrow is "silly hat day" at work. I have a little set of purple antennae that are from Mardi Gras a couple of years ago (why did I buy those, considering I never actually go to Mardi Gras events? I don't know) that look awfully much like christmas ornaments - little round faceted balls bouncing around above my head. So I guess I'll wear those. If I wear a silly hat I don't have to wear a polo shirt, and that seems to me like a fair tradeoff. Especially since we got new shirts that are made of fabric I don't much like. There are a bunch of these things like silly hat day, coming up, and I don't have the required items for all of them - I don't really have a particularly ugly sweater, for example - so I might not can do them all, but I can minimize the polo-shirt wearing between now and the holidays, at least. (I don't think it's worth going out and buying an ugly sweater just to get out of wearing the polo shirt. I don't really hate them that much.) (This is just a tiny bit tempting, I have to admit. It's suitably hideous, but much too expensive.)

I don't get off from work two days a week til after midnight, so it's hard to get the energy to do things like write journal entries. But that's the hard part of my (very short) work-week, and tomorrow's a shorter day, and then I'm done. I really can't complain too much.

What we do when we get home is make dinner and watch Rachel Maddow, usually. Which is awfully depressing these days, mostly, but I am just not going to talk about all that. (The very fact that I watch MSNBC will probably tell you where I stand politically, anyway.) I do stay up really late, but I tend to get more brainless as the night goes on. Toward the end, I usually just play games.

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mellicious: pink manicure (xmas - merry & bright)
We sang that song in high school - I don't know if everybody knows it nowadays (or for that matter if most people did back then, either) - "...Our bread it is white and our ale it is brown / Our bowl it is made of the green maple tree" etc. Anyway, that's still the first thing that pops in my head when I see the word wassail.

But the second thing is the drink. I used to make up big batches at the holidays but it's an awful lot of trouble since it's really too much for two of us, and it's not real easy to transport. But Rob found a gallon of apple cider at Aldi for quite cheap, and I wanted something that approximates the cider drink I used to make by the gallon that can be made one cup at a time. After soem experimentation, I've come up with a version that is close enough to feel like wassail rather than just cider, to me, anyway. So I thought I would pass it along.

The main things I used to put in my large-batch wassail was cinnamon sticks, cloves, and oranges, and sugar. I looked at a bunch of different recipes to come up with mine, and I never really wrote it down, but it mostly involved dumping most of a small bottle of cloves, a small bunch of cinnamon sticks, rather a lot of sugar, and several oranges, quartered, into a big pan along with a gallon of cider, bringing it to a boil, and then turning it down and letting it simmer for an hour or so. I might have used some additional ingredients in other years (lemon juice comes to mind) but that's the gist of it. Then you can add liquor afterwards - I usually use brandy, but for the big-batch type I just let people add whatever they want, or drink it with no liquor at all.

So for the cup-by-cup version, I've dispensed with the cloves, and instead of cinnamon sticks (which are expensive) I just have been using ground cinnamon. Cinnamon and sugar also works. But I think the thing that makes it actually taste like wassail is the orange flavor along with the cinnamon and apple flavors. What I've been doing for that is just quartering an orange and throwing one piece of it in the cup, and then microwaving the whole shebang.

So here's the "recipe" such as it is.

Mel's wassail by the cup

Put the following in a microwavable mug:

  • apple cider (preferably the "fresh" kind that's available in the fall in gallon jugs in the produce section) (fill your mug about 3/4 full, to leave room for the orange)

  • cinnamon to taste

  • sugar or sweetener to taste

  • a quarter of a fresh orange, peel and all

  • brandy or other liquor if desired

Microwave until hot. (In my microwave it takes about a minute and a half.)

As far as the liquor, we bought a 750ml bottle of brandy at Spec's last year and we're still working through that. It was a domestic, not-too-expensive brand (Taylor, I think? I checked, it's Korbel) and it was fine as far as I'm concerned. If you're a connoisseur of brandies you might want something better than that. Or I'm sure vodka or wine might work fine, too. But brandy tastes good in the winter, to me.

And I drink it with the orange still in the mug, but you could of course fish it out if you wanted. If you do that, you probably should squeeze some of the contents back into the mug before you discard the rest of the orange. (The meat of the orange also tastes really good after it's marinated in the cider-and-liquor mixture for a while.)


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