ZIM Staff’s 2022 Winter Recommendations: Recipes, Books, & Music
Updated: Jun 22
Recipes & Cocktails:
Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette (Allegra)
Black Tea Peach Whiskey Sour & Black Tea Syrup (Elizabeth)
French Bread (Elizabeth)
Tahini & Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies (Aaron)
Tennessee Whiskey Pecan Pie (Ashley)
Cranberry Orange Scones (Ashley)
Merry Gentleman (Read)
I love galettes because they celebrate rustic, flavorful, and simple food. Even better, they have lots of delicious pastries (for all of us pie crust lovers) and you can eat them with your hands! Once you crack the seal on making galettes, the possibilities are endless. This galette has a butternut squash and caramelized onion filling for fall, which is my favorite time of year.
This is a sweet, warm drink that is a favorite of mine through the winter. I studied in Israel for a little while and my first order of business in cold weather was always to track down the "Sahlav Man," who wanders around markets and train stations with his giant tank of Sahlav on a little hand-dolly. Sahlav Man, thank you for the recipe and may herds of unsuspecting tourists descend upon your business.
4 cups milk
1 tablespoon Sahlav powder (AKA Sahlab/Sachlav/Salep. If substituting cornstarch, use 2+ tablespoons)
3-4 tablespoons sugar (adapt to taste)
1 tablespoon rose water
Ground cinnamon (for garnishing)
Crushed pistachios (for garnishing)
Small coconut flakes (for garnishing)
Place the milk in a saucepan and begin warming it
Mix the Sahlav powder with sugar
While mixing, add the Sahlav/sugar mixture to the milk
Bring to a simmer, and keep stirring until thickened (thinner than pudding or condensed milk; kind of like smoothie texture or melted milkshake)
Add the rose water and stir to mix.
Transfer to cups and sprinkle with cinnamon, coconut, and/or crushed pistachios.
NOTE: If the mixture doesn't thicken enough, slowly add up to one tablespoon more Sahlav. If you can't find Sahlav powder, substitute cornstarch at 3-4x the quantity, slowly adding more as needed to get the desired texture. You can substitute coconut milk for dairy milk if desired, but you'll need to experiment to find the right texture. Here is a video (not exactly the same recipe, but close enough) to show the process.
Black Tea Peach Whiskey Sour
1.5 oz of bourbon
0.75 oz of lemon juice
0.50 black tea syrup* (in a pinch you can use a splash of strong black tea and a dash of simple syrup)
0.25 oz peach cordial (Montbisou Peche is great)
0.25 Montenegro Amaro
2 dashes of Angostura Bitters
Combine all of the ingredients except the lemon zest
Shake with ice in a cocktail shaker
Serve over double rocks
Top with lemon zest
2 1/4 cups warm water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon instant or active dry yeast
3/4 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil, canola oil, vegetable oil, or avocado oil
5 1/2 - 6 cups all-purpose flour or bread flour (see note)
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the water sugar, and yeast. If using active dry yeast, let the mixture bubble and foam before proceeding (this can take 3-5 minutes). If using instant yeast, proceed with the recipe (no need to let the yeast activate).
Add the salt, oil, and 3 cups of flour and mix. Add in 2 1/2 to 3 more cups of flour gradually. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl and form a soft ball that doesn't leave a lot of dough residue on your fingers.
Knead for 2-3 minutes until the dough is smooth. If the dough starts to cling to the sides of the bowl, add 1/4 cup of flour at a time until a sturdy but soft ball of dough forms.
Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover it with a towel or greased plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until doubled, about an hour or so, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.
Turn the dough onto a lightly greased surface and divide it in half. Pat each section into a thick rectangle, 9X13 inches or thereabouts (doesn't have to be exact).
Roll the dough up starting from the long edge, pressing out any air bubbles or seams with the heel of your hand, and pinch the edge to seal.
Arrange seam side down on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You can slash several gashes in the top of the bread now or wait until after it has risen (to avoid the risk of the bread deflating, especially if you don't have a very sharp razor or knife).
Cover with greased plastic wrap or a kitchen towel, and let the loaves rise until noticeably puffy and nearly doubled in size, about an hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and make sure an oven rack is in the center position. If you haven't already, with a very sharp knife or baker's lame cut several gashes at an angle on the top of each loaf.
Place the baking sheet in the hot oven and (this part is optional) immediately toss 3-4 ice cubes on the bottom of the oven (this gives a delicious, classic, French bread crispness to the crust). Close the oven door quickly.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden and baked through.
Remove from the oven and slather with softened butter (optional, but delicious).
This will make 2 loaves, 1 loaf cut the measurements in half
Ice: consult your oven's manual for details or caution on putting ice/water on the bottom of the oven floor
Flour: as with all yeast doughs, I never use the flour amount called for in the recipe as a hard fast rule. Because a multitude of factors can impact how much flour you need in your yeast dough, I always judge when to quit adding flour by the texture and look and feel of the dough rather than how much flour I’ve added compared to the recipe.
Whole Wheat Flour: You can use 1/2 to 3/4 finely ground white whole wheat flour with good results (you can also do 100% finely ground white whole wheat flour but it will be denser). If using part or all whole wheat flour, add a few minutes to the kneading time to help develop the gluten. If you don't have an electric mixer, this dough can be made by hand using a large bowl and a wooden spoon!
Tahini & Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies
These are my "Coooooorantine Cookies" (that might be a horrible pun) but cookies I came up with during early quarantine. I love this recipe because A) I love chocolate chip cookies; B) It gave me something to do during early quarantine, and C) I think baking cookies is an easy way to share something nice with friends and family. This time of year, I love making a huge batch of dough and driving around delivering cookie dough to friends.
1. Mix together the soft ingredients listed below (no more than 3 minutes mixing)
1 cup butter, softened naturally (I recently started making brown butter, which really enhances the cookies!)
1.5 cups of brown sugar
1/4 cup of regular sugar
2 eggs - room temp
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2. After mixing wet ingredients, add these dry ingredients and mix:
2 teaspoon salt
1.25 teaspoon baking soda
2 and 2/3 cups of flour
3. Then add:
1/2 cup of tahini
12-16 oz of chocolate chips (depending on how much chocolate you like. I like to do a combo of heath bar, milk, and dark chocolate)
PRO TIP: The cookies are best if you let the dough sit in the fridge overnight before baking!
4. Bake at 350 F for ~10 minutes, or just until the outside edges start to brown. They may still look a little under-baked, but let them finish cooking on the cookie sheet after taking them out. Sprinkle with sea salt and let them cool just until they can be picked up without falling apart, grab a glass of milk, and enjoy!
Tennessee Whiskey Pecan Pie
Growing up my favorite dessert around the holidays was my mom's pecan pie. Every year, whether I'm with family or not, I make my own pecan pie and think back to the times spent in the kitchen with my mom baking.
½ tablespoon butter
¼ cup finely chopped pecans
Pinch of kosher salt
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon table salt
¼ cup cold butter, cubed
¼ cup cold shortening, cubed
3 to 4 Tbsp. buttermilk
1 cup dark corn syrup
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
¼ cup Tennessee whiskey*
4 large eggs
¼ cup butter, melted
2 teaspoons plain white cornmeal
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon table salt
2 ½ cups lightly toasted pecan halves
Prepare Crust: Melt 1/2 Tbsp. butter in a small skillet over medium heat, swirling to coat the sides of the pan. Add 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans, and sauté 2 minutes or until fragrant and lightly toasted. Sprinkle the pecan mixture with a pinch of salt. Remove pecans from the skillet, and cool completely. Reserve for use in Step 4.
Pulse flour and add the next 2 ingredients in a food processor 3 or 4 times or until well combined. Add cubed cold butter and cold shortening; pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Drizzle 3 Tbsp. buttermilk over flour mixture, and pulse just until moist clumps form. (Add up to 1 Tbsp. buttermilk, 1 tsp. at a time, if necessary.) Shape dough into a flat disk, and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Chill dough for at least 1 hour.
Meanwhile, prepare Filling: Place corn syrup and the next 3 ingredients in a large saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Cook, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes; remove from heat. Whisk together eggs and the next 4 ingredients in a bowl. Gradually whisk about one-fourth of the hot corn syrup mixture into the egg mixture; gradually add the egg mixture to the remaining corn syrup mixture, whisking constantly. Stir in 2 1/2 cups of lightly toasted pecan halves; cool completely (about 30 minutes).
Preheat oven to 325°. Unwrap the dough, and roll it into a 13-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle dough with sautéed pecans (reserved from Step 1). Place a piece of plastic wrap over the dough and pecans, and lightly roll the pecans into the dough. Fit dough into a lightly greased (with cooking spray) 9-inch pie plate. Fold edges under, and crimp. Pour cooled filling into the prepared crust.
Bake at 325° for 50 to 55 minutes or until set; cool pie completely on a wire rack (about 2 hours) before slicing. Serve with Whiskey Whipped Cream, if desired.
*Water or apple juice may be substituted.
Cranberry Orange Scones
Something about the cold winter air makes me want to bake warm pastries and these scones never disappoint. These are perfect to make in batches and share and they never last long!
2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for hands and work surface
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons orange zest (about 1 orange)
1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, frozen
1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 heaping cup (125g) of frozen cranberries*
optional: 1 Tablespoon (15ml) of heavy cream and coarse sugar
1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar
2–3 Tablespoons (30-45ml) fresh orange juice*
Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and orange zest together in a large bowl. Grate the frozen butter using a box grater. Add it to the flour mixture and combine until the mixture comes together in pea-sized crumbs. See the video above for a closer look at the texture. Place in the refrigerator or freezer as you mix the wet ingredients together.
Whisk 1/2 cup heavy cream, the egg, and the vanilla extract together in a small bowl. Drizzle over the flour mixture, add the cranberries, then mix together until everything appears moistened.
Pour onto the counter and, with floured hands, work dough into a ball as best you can. The dough will be sticky. If it’s too sticky, add a little more flour. If it seems too dry, add 1-2 more tablespoons of heavy cream. Press into an 8-inch disc and cut into 8 wedges.
Brush scones with remaining heavy cream.
Refrigerate scones for at least 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C).
Line a large baking sheet. After refrigerating, arrange the scones 2-3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet(s).
Bake for 22-25 minutes or until golden brown around the edges and lightly browned on top. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes as you make the glaze.
Make the glaze: Whisk the confectioners’ sugar and orange juice together. Add a little more confectioners’ sugar to thicken or more juice to thin. Drizzle over scones.
1oz pear brandy
0.75oz sweet vermouth
0.5oz ginger liqueur
0.5oz cinnamon syrup
Stir with ice and strain into an old-fashioned glass over fresh ice.
Garnish with a pear slice dusted lightly with cinnamon sugar and a sprig of fresh rosemary.
The Motherlode (Sammy)
The Ministry for the Future (Aaron)
Braiding Sweetgrass (Kait)
The Motherlode: 100+ Women Who Made Hip-Hop
By: Clover Hope
Obviously, this isn't a holiday-specific good read, but this is what has been on my shelf lately. After reading The Rap Yearbook by Shea Serrano, I wondered where all the women were in the story of rap and hip-hop. This book provides great insights and context into the role of female artists in the evolution of hip-hop. The artwork by Rachelle Baker makes it even more fun to read!
The Ministry for the Future
By: Kim Stanley Robinson
This is a science fiction book, but very strongly based on reality (not at all like geeky sci-fi stuff). It takes place not too far in the future, once climate disasters start getting much worse, and is primarily about a committee that the IPCC starts (The Ministry for the Future), that acts on behalf of unborn humans and animals. It goes into the politics, economics, and ethics of how to act in the face of horrible climate disasters. It is definitely dense, but really interesting in many different ways!
Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants
By Robin Wall Kimmerer
This book explores nature, plants, ecology, mythology, and life more broadly. Each chapter brought new wisdom and plant knowledge wrapped together in a soothing read. The author, a professor of Environmental Biology and Director of the Center for Native People and the Environment at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) and a member of the Potawatomi Nation, brilliantly combines indigenous knowledge and scientific discovery together to tell a compelling story about taking care of Mother Earth. This is an addictive yet relaxing read you’ll be sure to want to pass on to a friend or relative after you’ve finished.
Stevie Wonder - What Christmas Means to Me (Holly)
House of Hamil - Dance of the Winter Solstice (Ashley)
By: Stevie Wonder
By: House of Hamil