Winter is here! Well sort of, if you’re in Northeast Ohio. The weather here has been erratic, rocketing between freezing and mid-fifties. The weather gods are indeed fickle. As are the gods of technology — who ate several (i.e. most) of the food and cocktail photos we took for this post. But we trust you, gentle reader, to forgive us — especially after you try one (or both!) of the cocktails.
The Red Winter (pictured above)
- 1.5 oz bourbon
- 0.5 oz Cointreau or Triple Sec
- 1 oz cranberry juice
- .25 grenadine (pomegranate syrup) (note: seriously, you do not want a lot of grenadine in this. It overwhelms quickly. You just want a bit of it for some sweetness and color.)
This is super easy. Just pour all of the ingredients over ice. Shake. Strain into glass!
And as your evening wears on, should you want to try a sweeter beverage…
- 2 oz. vodka
- 1 oz. Chambord
- 1 oz. Godiva chocolate liqueur
- fresh raspberries for garnish (if you so desire)
Once again super easy! Pour the ingredients over ice. Shake. Strain into glass!
And our recipe this season is a hearty, slow-cooker stew of beans and sausage and delicious, delicious peppers!
Moose’s Black Bean Soup
- 2 16oz cans of black beans
- 2 cubanelle peppers
- 3 jalapeños (or adjusted for your preference)
- 4 andouille sausage
- 8 cups of chicken broth
- 2 Spanish onions
- Spices to taste (we used red pepper flakes, cumin, salt, pepper, thyme, smoked paprika, bay leaves and coriander)
- 1 avocado for garnish
Chop your onions, cubanelles, and jalapenos. Chop sausages. Throw all ingredients into a slow cooker on high! Wait five hours, stirring occasionally and adding spices. Serve with bread and slices of avocado for garnish.
Now that you are fed and watered, let’s look at the evening’s entertainment!
As far as movies and such go, Brad says…
Winter in my mind involves two periods. The holiday season, where we’ve already discussed our favorite movies, and then those remaining two/three months (maybe more depending on where you live) where you’re stuck with snow and cold and less cookies. So you need the same movies that are just like what you want to eat: comfort food. Yes this is the season where you break out nostalgia packed movies in large portions. It’s a great time of year to watch Indiana Jones. You know all three of them. Just the three. When you’ve got the blankets pulled up to your nose it’s the perfect position to watch Indy race to the city of Alexandretta.
It’s also the best time a year to break out your fantasy movies, the kind you used to watch when you were home from school on a snow day. Howl’s Moving Castle, Ladyhawke, Labyrinth, even The Neverending Story if you weren’t too traumatized by it. Personally though there’s one that sits on top of the pack. The Last Unicorn only gets better the more you watch it. Yes, Mia Farrow’s singing voice is bad, yes, it’s not as good as the book (but what is?) but watching this movie is the cinematic equivalent of a hug. Just what you need in the winter.
Championing the tv-binge side of things, Clarice says… How many times can I repeat Fargo (the tv show)?? Snowy cold evenings outside are the perfect accompaniment to watching both seasons of this FX anthology show from Noah Hawley. And since it’s an anthology, you can totally watch the seasons in whatever order you feel like (or have access to)! Season 2 is not dependent on seeing Season 1. There are references and such, but nothing about the plot overlaps in any way — nothing more than a few character callbacks really. Both seasons deal in weird, hyper specific characters, and boast fine-tuned plotting at every turn. If you haven’t seen the show, I highly recommend it. And if you have, then you should really go rewatch it!
And last, but certainly not least, games!
Hanna says… Do the long nights have you down? Are you feeling cooped up? Well, then, here’s the thing to drive you insane keep you occupied while you’re trapped inside by the weather!
We’re still working through the Christmas bounty of games, which included Dungeon Fighter. This game is infuriating, but I still want to play it. Or rather, like a well-written villain, I want to defeat this sonovabitch. Which we haven’t yet… In Dungeon Fighter, the board is a bullseye. And you have to bounce dice off the table and onto the target in order to battle monsters. Your party plays as “adventurers” trying to clear out these nasties — some of which have special throw requirements. It’s good, but also maddening.
Moose favorite Dead of Winter is always a good play this time of year (you can see our playthrough here), and this year saw the release of Dead of Winter: The Long Night. It’s an expansion as well as a standalone version of the game — which is a pretty cool way to add content.
Another good one for winter is Jarl: The Vikings Tile Laying Game. It’s a chess-ish strategy game for two players. You move and capture tiles, using movements printed on each tile. And every time you move a tile, it flips to the opposite side, getting a new set of movements. Best played in front of a roaring fireplace.
Stay warm out there, darlings!