Posts tagged ‘Penzeys’

Christmas means gløgg season at the Nielsen house

Nectar of the Gods. The Nielsen Christmas gløgg bottled, labeled and ready to gift

Nectar of the Gods. The Nielsen Christmas gløgg bottled, labeled and ready to gift

Every year we put on a smashing party and pack in 50 or 60 friends to imbibe Danish spiced (mulled) and fortified warm wine known as gløgg. In case you’re wondering, it’s pronounced a little like water gurgling down a blocked drain. Glug. Glug. But with a kind of caveman growl. Put your whole body into it! Imagine how a Viking would sound.

We bottled the remainder, and I created some labels. Voila! Hostess gifts for those lovely friends who invite us this season.

Merry Christmas! Glaedelig Jul! Skål! Godt Nyt År. Happy New Year!

Countdown until guests arrive. Gløgg warm, glass cups, raisins and almonds ready.

Countdown until guests arrive. Gløgg warm. Glass cups, raisins and almonds ready. House smelling divine.


Cautionary note: Gløgg must be served warm – but never boiled. The boiling will not only burn off the alcohol but also dampen the spices. We’ve learned the hard way.

In each glass cup, put a spoonful of raisins and blanched almonds that have been soaked for days in brandy.

The key to the spicing is to use only fresh, be very generous, and let “mull” for at least two days. note: I buy only from Penzeys which sells the best spices in America. If you can’t make it to one of their many shops, order on line Penzeys.

Ingredients in our gløgg:
Red wine (mainly)
Port wine (generously)
Brandy (a little less than port)
Rum (go easy as this is what gives it real punch. You want your guests coherent)
Cinnamon sticks
Cardamon pods
Whole cloves
Fresh ginger root
Orange peel
Lemon peel
Sugar boiled in water to create syrup

The very beginning. Start with red wine and a bottle opener.

The very beginning. Start with red wine and a bottle opener.

Prep time with Jesper, Rex and Dawn

Prep time with Jesper, Rex and Dawn

December 21, 2015 at 10:30 pm 2 comments

Sandra’s recipe for Wild Boar Tajine

Last night some friends were dropping by with a bottle of good Merlot to see the sunset. As life has been more than hectic lately, I wasn’t up to a full-on meal.  Greg and Jess live in North San Luis Obispo County where hunting abides, so I pulled out a wild boar shoulder from the freezer and invented a new dish inspired by my years in North Africa.

The nomads cook their tajines (also spelled tagine) with camel or goat, so wild boar seemed a logical progression.

This stew was designed to eat around the bar. Instead of dipping into the sauce with chunks of bread in the North African fashion, I rolled up the shredded boar with a couple of spoonfuls of sauce in whole wheat tortillas to create a North African, Mexican Moo-Shoo wild boar.

Where do you get wild boar? Either you need to hunt yourself – or have generous friends that do. In this case, a friend of a friend passed the meat to me. P.S. Our wines are listed at end of post.


traditional tajine dishes by

traditional tajine dishes – photo by

My favorite tajine dish (of 3) that I purchased at IKEA for $60. Bottom is aluminum made to look like cast iron. Lid is ceramic.

My favorite tajine dish that I purchased at IKEA for $60.
Bottom is aluminum made to look like cast iron. Lid is ceramic.
note: I also own a 2-persons silicon dish bought at Marshall’s for $15
plus a yellow glazed ceramic dish from Portugal ($50).

There are many kinds of tajine dishes on the market now. I prefer ones with metal bottoms with one-step cooking on top of the stove. Ceramic tajines (traditional ones) do not do well for stove-top cooking. The ceramic was designed to be placed over charcoal. In Morocco, the circumference of the bottom dish fits exactly its own charcoal cooker.

The web shows many pictures of ceramic dishes on a gas fire, but as I’ve had a couple dishes break while cooking, I feel obliged to caution you. If you have a ceramic or silicon dish, then I advise you to do all the sauteing in a frying pan, then transfer to tajine dish and cook in oven. The temperature should be medium heat.

This stew could also be made in one of those French-style iron cookers with heavy lids (also called Dutch ovens).  But I’m a firm believer that the conical lid of the tajine dish adds a dimension in savory moistness.

For a little history note, the Romans cooked stews in pots with conical lids. I’m wondering which came first, the Romans’ introduction into North Africa, or the Berbers teaching the Romans?

Wild Boar Tajine (Moroccan stew)

Serves 6.


shoulder of wild boar, cut into big chunks with the bony piece left whole
tortillas, strongly advise whole wheat for texture and flavor
garlic, 5-6 cloves, minced
onions, 2 large yellow, cut in 2-3 inch wedges
olive oil, enough to generously cover bottom of pan
tomato paste, 2 Tblsp
salt, rock, sprinkle generously
black pepper, fresh ground over all
apricots, dried, generous handful
raisins, big and black, generous handful
carrots, 4 large, cut in half lengthwise and then sliced in narrow wedges
red wine, 1/3 bottle
Guinness, ½ bottle
diced smoky bacon, 1 Tblsp
***Please note: You will never find wine/beer or bacon in a traditional Moroccan recipe
beef stock (paste), heaping Tblsp
cumin, 2 heaping Tblsp
paprika, 1 generous Tblsp
cardamon, very generous pinch
ginger, very generous pinch
cloves, very generous pinch
cinnamon, 2 generous pinches


Take a Tajine dish and set on medium fire
Sauté garlic, onions and bacon in olive oil until onions soft and starting to clear
Add in tomato paste, turn well
Sprinkle with salt
Add wild boar
Sprinkle meat with spices, one at a time, turning the pieces to make sure coated
Salt more if desired
Add apricots and raisins to pan, distributing evenly
Add red wine
Add beef stock paste, turning well
Add Guinness
Mix in carrots
Put on lid, reduce heat to low – as low as possible while still cooking.
Cook 3-4 hrs – longer is best – removing lid and turning meat chunks every 45 minutes or so for even soaking in sauce.

Let sit as long as you want and reheat with lid on to serve.
note: the longer the spices sit, the better they taste. The flavors meld together with time.

  • Remove boar meat onto carving board and shred.
  • Warm tortillas in microwave.
  • Spoon on shredded meat, then sauce from Tajine dish. Amount of sauce subject to taste. I recommend each guest building their own.
  • Wrap tortilla like moo shoo pork so doesn’t drip.


Sandra adds “This is simply marvelous (ain’t it grand to love your own cooking!) if you want exotic spicing combined with the wild taste of the boar. You could use any meat, but the very long cooking is especially good for tougher cuts.

The Secret:  USE FRESH SPICES! I get mine from Penzeys Spices. If you use from grocery store, then DOUBLE at least the above. Also LONG slow cooking vital to bringing out flavors.

SUGGESTED WINES: We started with EOS Estate Merlot, Sonoma,  2009 and finished with Red Carpet Pinot Noir, Santa Maria Valley, 2011.

April 11, 2013 at 8:11 pm 2 comments

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