Cooking with Liquor
Question: "I need some advice. I'm a letter carrier with the postal service and every year at Christmas time , people on my route give me lots of gifts.  For the last 3 years I've accumulated Bourbon,Rum and Whiskey which just sits in a kitchen cabinet.  What can I do with these adult beverages as far as cooking goes? Do you know of any recipes that uses these drinks? Have you ever come upon some websites that specialize in this kind of cooking? are there any in your book? Other books maybe? Any help you might have would be greatly appreciated." - Terry, Beaverton, OR

Answer:  Hi Terry, Thanks for writing.  I probably use wine the most because it makes nice reductions (light sauces similar to a broth with a more intense flavor).  Several of the recipes in Stella's Kitchen use wine (Low-Fat Chicken Piccata, Captain Nielsen's Viking Stew, Seared NY Strip Steaks, Belle's Mushroom Chicken Bake, Pepper Crusted Eye of Round with Rasberry Cabernet Glaze, & Turkey Triano).  Only one of the recipes uses harder alcohol, the grilled Teriyaki Salmon on page 73 where it is used to make a bourbon-teriyaki marinade.

You can use the bourbon  to make a nice basic marinade teriyaki-bourbon marinade. Start with 1/4 c low-sodium soy sauce, 1/4 c. bourbon and a few teaspoons of apple juice or even pineapple juice.  The salmon recipe in Stella's Kitchen also has ground ginger, green onion, crushed garlic, and optional sesame seeds but you don't necessarily need to jump through the extra ingredient hoops.  You could also try adding a little of the bourbon to a beefy stew.

I've seen whiskey used in lots of chicken recipes but don't use it myself. If you found a recipe for tequila-lime chicken or something like that, just substitute the whiskey in place of the tequila.  I haven't worked with rum much except in baking so I don't have any "healthy ideas for you with rum. Your best bet may be to go to - you can search for recipes by certain ingredients.  I can't promise how healthy the choices would be there as unfortunately, none of their recipes have the nutritional information with them. You'd have to do that on your own.

My final suggestion would be to just bring one of the bottles with you to a holiday party for the hostess to make punch with oor something. It will save you a little bit of money because you won't have to bring a seperate dish nor would you have to buy a bunch of other special ingredients just to use 1/4 cup of the rum. So long as you thank those who gave you the liquor, I think there will be minimal damage to your karma by doing this. ;-)

- Stella

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