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  1. I have a 20 year old bottle of Chambourd that's 3/4 full -- I think I bought it to flavor buttercream for a friend's wedding cake. Color has rusted a bit and the fake gold is chipping off the cap, but it smells the same as always so I assume it's fine.
  2. Very curious about the aloe liqueur. New experiments this weekend--woot!
  3. Polenta Cake question

    This was....interesting. Not bad, but something I'd play with a bit more to improve. Recipe was wetter than I expected given the eggs : dry ratio. Perhaps just because polenta doesn't absorb the way a wheat flour would. I was in a rush and the pan slipped out of my hand while I was about to flip it to cooling rack, so I can't say whether it would have torn or not under less fraught circumstances -- it certainly broke when it dropped to the countertop on its edge! Pieced it back together, poked lots of holes, spooned syrup over it until it threatened to start puddling, covered center with candied citrus rinds and piped a sweetened mascarpone cream around the top edge -- effectively hid the major sins. Flavor was excellent. Texture -- I think a finer grain of polenta would have been an improvement. At any rate, thanks for the suggestions. Cheers!
  4. Polenta Cake question

    Thanks, Cally and PastryGirl. 3 eggs in the recipe, to 2 cups almond flour plus 3/4 cup polenta (plus butter, sugar etc, obviously). I can't remember what horrified me so much about the original glaze formula, unfortunately, and I threw out that page!
  5. Polenta Cake question

    I have a genuine gluten-allergy coming to Thanksgiving, so in addition to my normal pies I'm making a polenta/almond flour cake that I've never tried before (after all, why not make someone my guinea pig on a major holiday?). The recipe calls for poking baked cake with holes and glazing, but the glaze formula sounds revolting. I candied kumquats and orange and lemon peel - plan to use the flavored simple to moisten the cake and then pile the rinds on top. It'll be a 9" round single layer, probably 2 to 2.5" finished height. Any guesses on how much syrup to use? I don't want to turn it into pudding!
  6. Thanksgiving cocktails

    What's everyone doing this year? I keep it pretty simple - I just spice (usually cinnamon, cloves, ginger, orange & lemon peel) a batch of hot cider and put it out with bourbon (probably Old Grandad bonded) and rum (Appleton 12) options for those who wish to doctor their glasses. Everyone always brings wine for the dinner table. And I'll pick up some sherry or port to accompany dessert. And this year I'll make them all my guinea pigs for the green walnut liqueur I made over the summer.
  7. Thanksgiving Side Dishes

    Quiet1, last year I made herbed spaetzle (I think the recipe was from the Scarpetta cookbook) with roasted mushrooms - total winner, and nice that you can do everything ahead of time except the final saute on the spaetzle - use a big enough pan and you can toss in the (already roasted) mushrooms at the last moment to bring them up to temp.
  8. The Nastro D'Oro Avvero Campania is absolutely delicious - bit of mint, bit of cola, bit of citrus. Haven't tried the Gifford Passionfruit yet.
  9. Fridge. It'll be fine in there for, say, a couple of months. Flavor will start to fade a little, but it won't get nasty.
  10. naturally I just ordered a miscellaneous case of booze from them last week.
  11. Homemade Liqueurs

    Thanks very much for the input!
  12. Homemade Liqueurs

    I'm noodling over how to make a toasted sesame liqueur. I was thinking I'd follow the rough outline of Katie Loeb's limoncello instructions -- toast sesame seeds in the oven, cool, let sit in 100 proof vodka at least a few days, strain, add simple syrup to taste to balance the sweet/umami/bitter, then top off with sufficient 80 proof vodka to bring alcohol quotient up to 30% by volume (that is, assuming it required enough simple syrup to drop it below 30% -- who knows? I could end up adding water instead to go the other way). So my questions are -- what volume of sesame seeds should I use per liter of overproof vodka? Any guesses on how long I show leave it to infuse? And are there any concerns about the alcohol drawing the oil from the seeds and into the finished product -- and if so, should/how do I then remove the oil? Or is there some totally different methodology I should pursue? Thanks in advance for any advice/experience you have!
  13. Finally put the Giffard to use and have to give it a thumbs-up relative to St Germain. The Giffard is a little less synthetic-ish. Though still with that grandma's guest soaps vibe.
  14. Nocino (Green Walnut Liqueur) & Vin de Noix

    Reminder to others planning the Nocino experiment this year-- back in Feb I'd put on my calendar that this week is Order Green Walnuts Week!
  15. Wray & Nephew - help!

    Eventually, the combination stabbing center bit of plastic with a corkscrew and then yanking free with needle-nosed pliers did the trick. Mercifully the quality and potency of the rum proved worth the effort! I've rarely felt so stupid in my own kitchen. Though perhaps if we'd attempted this while still sober it would have worked out better -- we'd already done a good deal of recipe testing with a new bottle of Cruzan black strap before trying to fight our way into the W&N. Thanks all for the advice!