Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Cooking with alcohol, or not

I like to cook with wine and other kinds of booze. You're probably thinking it's an excuse to open a bottle of wine. Not at all! I like the depth and complexity alcohol adds to the flavor of dishes. Theoretically, at least, the alcohol burns off, leaving the tannins and whatever the heck else is in wine in your entree. I can't imagine my favorite dishes without wine. That's why I cook with it. Although, sure, having a bottle of Chianti open for dinner is a side benefit, and Justin doesn't complain.

But not everyone likes cooking with alcohol. (cough! Deanna cough!) I get a lot of free preview issues of cooking magazines because, well, I subscribe (or have subscribed) to a lot of cooking magazines, and the latest, Cuisine at Home, includes a list of alcohol substitutes, which is as follows:

  • whine wine: white grape juice; chicken or vegetable broth; ginger ale
  • red wine: grape juice; cranberry juice; chicken, beef, or vegetable broth; flavored vinegar; tomato juice
  • brandy: white gape juice; apple juice; cherry, peach or apricot syrup
  • beer: chicken, beef, or mushroom brother; white grape juice; ginger ale [I think you can also substitute O'Doul's or other near-beer]
  • rum: pineapple juice with almond extract or molasses; vanilla extract
  • vodka: water; apple cider or white grape juice mixed with lime juice
  • sherry: vanilla extract; orange or pineapple juice; coffee

Choose whatever is most appropriate for the flavor of the dish. As a general rule, if you are using a recipe that involves other liquids, you can substitute more of those for the alcohol, as long as they are suitable for doing what the alcohol would be doing (e.g. you can saute things in wine, but not in cream). And of course there are recipes that just have to have alcohol in them, like Bananas Foster, Linda's famous rum balls (which I will post closer to the holidays), or other things you might want to light on fire.


Blogger Deanna said...

I would like to note that I do cook with mirin (a Japanese marinade that has some rice wine in it), and I do eat that, since the alcohol content is extremely mild (less than my mouthwash). I also make a good beer-and-onions mix for brautwurst, according to Eric, although we use the cheap stuff (Budweiser from a can) for that. I don't eat that, though. My mom used to make a beef burgundy in the Crock Pot, which was the only time she cooked with wine (unless you count mirin), and I like chicken marsala (I've never gotten sick eating it). So I do try dishes with wine in them, it's just that sometimes the measurements become subjective and the cooking time doesn't allow for all of the alcohol to disappear. Though if my daughter spills red wine again, I will have to think about banning it from the table. :)

5:30 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home