Happy New Year!
For us, New Year’s Eve is an excuse to host a dinner party, so we invited our closest friends over and had a low key evening. We started with homemade French bread (recipe to come) with local butter and quick-pickled radishes. Then we had braised pork belly with turnips and an arugula-parsley salad. For dessert, Erik fried Twinkies. Yeah, we had fried Twinkies after such a homemade old-school meal. They were fantastic. He promises to post the recipe soon.
The pork came from this great, relatively new butcher in our town. He sources from small, local farmers and is really knowledgeable about his art. He tries hard to sell the whole animal, even the parts that aren’t so popular, so the shop is full of cookbooks and he’ll suggest ways to prepare, for example, trotters (pig feet). When there wasn’t enough pork belly in the case, he shouldered half a pig and filled our order right there and then. Take a look!
Anyway…after dinner, we rang in the new year with Champagne from Westport Rivers in southern Massachusetts. Since none of us are huge Champagne fans, we awoke this morning to at least half a bottle of warm, kind of flat Champagne sitting on the kitchen counter. As you know, I have trouble wasting food, so I found two recipes for using the last bits of Champagne in the bottle.
The first, Champagne vinegar, isn’t much of a recipe. For every cup of leftover Champagne, add one tablespoon of homemade apple cider vinegar or a store-bought apple cider vinegar with the “mother” (Bragg is a good brand). Pour the mixture back into the bottle and cover the top with a thin towel or cheesecloth, secured by a rubber band or piece of string. Let it ferment in a dark, cool place for a month or so. It’s ready when you like the taste.
The second, Champagne sorbet, is from the Flour cookbook, which I LOVE for special occasion baking. It has a nice Champagne taste, but it’s not overwhelming. We might make it next year for a fancy-schmancy New Year’s Eve dessert – we certainly can’t get less fancy than fried Twinkies.
Makes a generous 2 cups
|2/3 cup||White sugar|
|1 cup||Champagne||Substitute another sparkling beverage, e.g. Prosecco or sparkling cider||Westport Rivers|
|3 TBsp||Lemon juice||Fresh, if you have it (1 large lemon)|
- Combine the sugar and water in a small pot and heat to boiling over medium-high heat.
- Boil, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. When you think it’s fully dissolved, turn off the heat and wait a minute until the water is still. Check the bottom of the pan for undissolved sugar. If you spot some, bring it back to a boil for another couple of minutes and then check again.
- Let the syrup cool in the pot. Transfer it to a small bowl and refrigerate for two to three hours.
- After the syrup has chilled, add the Champagne, lemon juice, and salt.
- Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and freeze according to the maker’s directions. For ours, this was 45 minutes.
- If you want a firmer sorbet, pack into a freezer-safe container (we used a pint jar) and freeze overnight.