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April 2015 – Ginger Snap

Apr 01, 2015 12:20PM ● Published by Jennifer Neys

by Maria Terry

Ginger is one of my favorite aromatic flavors. It is versatile and brings spicy flavor to a recipe without overpowering heat. It can be used in both savory and sweet preparations and is found in both foods and beverages.

Homemade Ginger Ale is a delicious non-alcoholic drink recipe that delivers spicy ginger flavor yet has no actual ginger added. However, Angostura Bitters (available at BevMo) is part of the recipe and it’s made from a secret blend of herbs and spices, so ginger may be in there after all. In any case, it is superb with toasted cashews mixed with dried tropical fruits (papaya, mango, etc.) and thin slivers of candied ginger. The mix of toasty, sweet, salty, and spicy makes a delightful amuse-bouche.

New Zealand Gewürztraminer is a grape wine that contains no actual ginger, but its spicy tropical flavors remind me of ginger. Serve with an entrée of Cumin-Ginger Dusted Pork Tenderloin and Horseradish Carrots. Both the wine and horseradish in the carrots have floral spiciness that echoes the ginger dusted on the meat. Accordingly, give your palate a place to rest from the onslaught of flavor by serving simple mashed potatoes alongside.

End the meal with the inspiration for this menu, Ginger Snap Cookies. Ginger Snaps have incredibly complex flavors and aromas yet are not overly sweet. Because of the restrained sugar, these cookies will work with a dessert wine. Why not try a Hungarian Tokaji (available a many wine shops and Costco)? Made from the Furmint grape, this wine contains no ginger either. However, like Gewürztraminer, it also has a spicy-sweet quality that works well with the baking spices in this cookie. And if you can’t find a Tokaji, a late-harvest white wine like Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon or Viognier will substitute nicely.

So, go on. Pair Up! 

Maria Terry is a Certified Sommelier and Wine Educator in the San Francisco Bay Area. www.LaSommelierre.com

Homemade Ginger Ale

Ingredients for one drink:

1/8 tsp. Angostura Bitters (two or three shakes)

6 oz. 7-Up

½ oz. Coca-Cola

Wedge of lime

Directions: Fill glass with ice. Squeeze lime wedge over ice and coat the rim, toss wedge into glass. Shake bitters over ice and lime. Add 7-Up carefully and float Coca-Cola on top.

Ingredients for one pitcher (4-6 servings):

¾ tsp. Angostura Bitters

1/3 cup Coca-Cola

1 lime, juice only

1 lime, cut into attractive circles

2 liters 7-Up

 Directions: Add all ingredients into pitcher, 7-Up last, and add slowly to prevent too much foam. Pour over glasses filled with ice. 

 

Cumin Dusted Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients 

Garlic powder

Ground Cumin

Ground Ginger

Kosher salt

Crushed red pepper

2 pork tenderloins

Extra-virgin olive oil 

Directions 

Preheat the oven to 400°. Sprinkle tenderloins with liberal amounts of salt, garlic powder, cumin, ginger and crushed red pepper to taste.

Coat a large, oven-safe sauté pan with olive oil and bring to a high heat. Sear the pork on all sides. Put the sauté pan with the pork into the oven. Roast the pork, turning it over halfway through the cooking time, 5 to 7 min. 

Remove the pork from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before carving. Slice the pork into ½ -inch thick slices on the bias.

Yield: 6-8 servings


Horseradish Carrots 

Ingredients

2 pounds carrots cut into 1/2-inch slices

¾ cup mayonnaise

1/3 cup half-and-half cream

¼ cup prepared horseradish

2 tablespoons finely chopped onion

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

½ cup crushed potato chips 

Directions

Place 1 inch of water in a saucepan; add carrots. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain.

 In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, cream, horseradish, onion, salt and pepper; add carrots and toss to coat.

Transfer to a greased 1-1/2-qt. baking dish. Sprinkle potato chips over carrots. Bake uncovered at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly.

Yield: 6-8 servings

  

Ginger Snaps 

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground cloves

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

¼ cup molasses

½ cup sugar in a shallow bowl, for finishing

Directions

Set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices in a bowl; stir well to mix. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together on medium speed the butter and sugar for about 5 minutes until very light, fluffy and whitened. Add the egg and continue beating until smooth. Lower speed and beat in half the dry ingredients, then the molasses. Stop the mixer and scrape down bowl and beater. Beat in the remaining dry ingredients. Remove bowl from mixer and use a large rubber spatula to finish mixing the dough.

Use a small ice cream scoop to scoop out 1-inch diameter pieces of dough. Roll into balls between the palms of your the hands, then roll in the sugar. Place the balls of dough on the parchment lined cookie sheets, leaving about 3 inches all around each to allow for spreading. Bake the cookies for about 15 to 20 minutes or until they have spread, the surface has crackled, and they are firm to the touch. Slide the paper and cookies off the sheets to cool. Store the cooled cookies between sheets of parchment or waxed paper in a tin or plastic container with a tight-fitting cover.

Yield: about 40 cookies

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