Author: John Schlimm

Publisher: Da Capo – Lifelong Books – 164 pages

Book Review by: Laxmi Chaandi

This delightfully interesting book has 75 recipes of different types of food that contain liquor, nonalcoholic drinks and other liquids, including ice cream. The highly creative John Schlimm treats you with all kinds of delicacies spiced up or made tastier with alcoholic drinks ranging from brandy to rum to whiskey and nonalcoholic drinks ranging from apple juice to sorbet to vanilla cream.

The types of foods he presents with his imaginative twists are also wide ranging. Be it appetizers or other starters, breakfasts or brunches, dinners or desserts, light main dishes or lunches, snacks, soups or sweet treats, there isn’t a dull recipe. Almost everything is a surprise in this one-of-a-kind book.

Beautiful full-color photos – many being full-page ones – are well placed and neatly organized in this compact book which has a two-page list of booze he suggests you should stock your liquor cabinet with. This slim book has inset tabs that make it easy for you to find the type of recipe you are looking for. Again, Schlimm’s creative imagination is at work even in naming the tabs. Here are some of them in the pages in the contents section:

Where else would you find “boozy soups” or “drunken desserts” or “plastered party starters” or “sloshed suppers”? Nowhere else but in Schlimm’s “Tipsy Vegan” !

Feel like giving your party guests a different sort of punch as they enter your door for an enjoyable evening? How about knocking them out with the Dandy Brandy Punch? As Schlimm introduces it:

“Friends, start your engines! This potent concoction of citrus and liquor packs a wallop and will nicely kick off any celebratory gathering. So, consider yourselves forewarned: most guests will hightail it back to the punch bowl for seconds (at least) so plan the party accordingly.

All you have to do is get a large punch bowl, place a large block of ice and pour all these ingredients in it: juices of eight lemons and two oranges, a three-quarter pound of confectioner’s sugar, a three-quarter cup of Curacao, two ounces of grenadine and 1 ¼ quarts of brandy. Mix them all together, add ice and that’s it – you’re all set!

For eats, you can start your party with some “plastered party starters.” One of them is “flaming hot peanuts.” What you need are: two pounds of dry-roasted, salted peanuts, half a cup of Tabasco sauce (adjust quantity to your preference), one-eighth cup peanut oil, juice of one lime, one teaspoon sugar (or two teaspoons prepared sweet red pepper relish), quarter cup bottled crushed, drained jalapenos, three tablespoons of whiskey, eight droplets of liquid smoke (optional), and other hot choices to make one cup of liquid or mild sauces for a little less kick.

To prepare this snack, place the peanuts into a large re-sealable plastic bag. Separately blend all the other ingredients in a glass container. Pour the blended mixture into the re-sealable bag with the peanuts and marinate overnight.

In the morning preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit, place the peanuts on a baking pan, spread the liquid blended mixture evenly on the peanuts and roast the mixture for 2 ½ hours, stirring it every half hour. Turn the oven off and let the peanuts rest in the oven overnight. Next morning, put the peanuts in an airtight container lined with paper towels.

In the Lush’s Lunch section, one dish you can try that’s made with half cup vermouth or dry white wine is called Lentils in the Fast Lane, implying it can be prepared easily and quickly. This is a simple comfort food requiring a cup of French green lentils, 10 ounces of pearl onions, a large peeled carrot and two cloves of garlic, pressed.

When these main ingredients are cooked in two cups water and two tablespoons margarine and seasoned with the right amounts of ground black pepper, salt, a bay leaf, a pinch of dried thyme and half cup dry vermouth or dry white wine, the result can taste as sumptuous and filling as it looks on page 103 of this book. Go to it to get the exact amounts of ingredients and cooking directions.

Here are other mouth-watering suggestions for party time or different times of the day to enjoy with groups of friends or by yourself:

Among “party starters” an easy-to-prepare salad  is the “salsa ala vodka” which is a blend of diced fresh vegetables made with half a cup of vodka. The veggies you need are:  chives, chili peppers, cilantro leaves, cucumbers, light green or white scallions, and tomatoes. See the seasonings in the book, needed to pep this up.

Among “boozy soups” I like the hearty “chugging pumpkin soup” made with rum. The main ingredients are: a puree of pumpkin, a baked russet potato, a large carrot and five cups vegetable stock. Whip these together, season them with the specified seasonings and presto, you have what looks like a delectable, hunger-satisfying soup!

There are just so many luscious items in this out-of-the ordinary collection of gems for the person who enjoys eating but does not want to labor over difficult-to-follow recipes.

These are easy-to-make dishes yet highly unusual treats by the talented John Schlimm.