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Jul 21, 2011 06:41 AM

SSSSsssshhhh! Don't tell anyone!

So here I was happily preparing a wonderfully rustic, beef, Tuscan stew for dinner yesterday. I diced up the beautiful beef I picked up from my favourite butcher, bought some fantastic anchovies from the shop, picked the rosemary fresh from the garden. Everything goes into the pot, everything is going so well...UNTIL..what happened to all the wine we used to have?


Being The Huntress I like to feel I am resourceful and head to the liquor cabinet (ie. The Cupboard Under The Stairs). There are 4 lonely bottles of wine - 2 are inappropriate and the other 2 are definitely off limits. What else can I use? Blueberry liqueur is out and 25 year old scotch is probably a little extravagent. Sooooooo, I grabbed what I thought was the next best substitute and put half a cup of Hennessey XO into my stew.

Please don't tell Mr. Huntress.

Please tell me you've done something equally questionable in the heat of the moment and just can't quite bring yourself to say anything.

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  1. I won't tell him, but there's a tradeoff. I want to know how that stew was, 'cause I'm betting it was delicious. And for your part, you can't tell my ex-boyfriend it was me who poured his 130-year old bottle of some Scotch or another down the sink and said I had no idea what happened to it. How's that?

    5 Replies
    1. re: mamachef

      I'm shuddering at the very thought of that. If it was really 130 year old stuff, you could have sold it at auction and bought yourself a new car.

      1. re: BobB

        It was really that old - a gift to him from a very wealthy student who did a lot of travel abroad. And, had I not been so angry that particular morning, you're right: I should by all rights be driving my dream car, a Shelby Cobra. Oh well. The revenge was still kinda sweet. Speaking of horrible tweaky things to do with alcohol though, me and my dubious set of college girlfriends used to make quite the day out of freezing Boone's Farm Apple "Wine" and drinking slushies. Definitely not on a par with Scotch Stew, though. Or, um, "drain-Scotch."

        1. re: BobB

          I can see now why he's an "ex".

          1. re: kaleokahu

            Yes, it definitely was a defining moment in the relationship we weren't enjoying.

        2. re: mamachef

          *sniff* sob. You could have mailed it to me :(

          (Must have been a hell of a spat ;)

        3. Mr. Pine just shakes his head when I say all his $$$$ Scotches, ports, or whatever all taste like NyQuil to me. He keeps prodding me to take a sip, but I just smile and tell him it'll be wasted on me. I'm quite the peasant, I think.

          1 Reply
          1. re: pine time

            I hear you. I like Cuervo Gold tequila. Not a big fan of Patron, for instance, it doesn't have much personality to me. There are several premium ones I like, but maybe I"m a little afraid to develop my palate in that direction, so I usually stick with the cheap stuff that I like. A friend is a real scotchaholic (seriously, I think), and he's always giving us little tastes of some of the over-the-top scotches that he likes, and they're sometimes pretty dreamy, but he usually makes sure I get pretty well toasted on them so I forget what they tasted like and just remember that some tasted even better than the others. Am I going to buy some? Probably not.

            Brandy is one of those things that I think of the same way you do of scotch- mostly it tastes like lighter fluid to me.

          2. Was it good stew?

            Not on the same scale but mine isn't even going into food--I use my husband's Absolut Vodka to spray into my ski gloves and boots to get rid of the smell. It works wonders but I should probably just go buy a cheap bottle for that.

            6 Replies
            1. re: chowser

              febreze isn't that expensive, works pretty well. I don't think it comes in Vodka, Scotch, or vermouth scents though.

              oh, yeah... no one needs to know about that pyrex brownie pan that shattered on the way to the picnic.

              1. re: KaimukiMan

                LOL. The added bonus is I can take a swig if I want.;-) My daughter wanted febreze for her locker at school and the first thing I told her was to bring the vodka spray and use it. On second thought, don't. Does febreze have a smell? The thing I like about the vodka is that there's no artificial odor.

                1. re: chowser

                  febreze does come in various scents. the neutral or whatever they call it is pretty innocuous and fades quickly. but then i don't have the most senitive nose in the world. and yeah, i can see some problems with spraying a high school locker with vodka.

                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                    "No, I wasn't drinking it, I was just spraying it in my locker>" "Suuuuuuure you were."

                    i got something at bed Bath and Beyond (I think) that works really well, a trigger spraywhite bottle with a label on an elastic collar arounf the neck that reads 'because life stinks'. It's pretty amazing and leaves NO odor behind that i can smell. I sprayed the back of my SUV down after buying some cheap potting soil that had a weird, really strong ammonia smell to it that lingered in the carpet. The spray completely eliminated it, I was impressed.

                    1. re: EWSflash

                      Thanks for the hint. My husband probably thanks you, too.

                2. re: KaimukiMan

                  i always thought vodka had no smell.....

              2. Why would you put cognac into stew? I can understand using wine but cognac being distilled is not remotely the same and just a waste IMHO.

                Although I have been known to use VSOP in Spanish coffee.

                3 Replies
                1. re: hsk

                  Well, Huntress didn't say if it was tasty or not, but I use cognac all the time with beef....and not just in Steak au Poivre. Not unusual at all.

                    1. re: hsk

                      Yes, I have used it in the traditional french cream sauce with beef, in beef gravy, and in a pan sauce with dried cherries and balsamic...s'all good. Sometimes I put cognac in my Sangria's and I also put it in my cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving....hic.....

                2. Well the stew was delicious. And while some may feel it was a waste of cognac it was simply down to the fact I had no wine and it was the next best thing I could use. And I was thinking that cognac in food is generally a delicious thing, so no harm done. I just can't bring myself to tell Mr. Huntress - he got upset when I started using my 70 year old, 3 generation port to pour over bacon - but it just made the bacon taste so good!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: TheHuntress

                    Dorie Greenspan's annoyingly-named but tasty "Go-to beef daube" in Around My French Table uses cognac, and dang tasty it is, too. (I hate the term "go-to".)