the jam-hattan

A few weeks ago I mentioned that my dearest husband Russell had conned me into doing the Whole30 diet with him.

the "jam-hattan" | Brooklyn Homemaker

Thank god that’s over!

the "jam-hattan" | Brooklyn Homemaker

If you’re not familiar with it, the Whole30 is sort of like a cross between the Paleo diet and Atkins. It’s super protein heavy, focusing on calories from fat rather than grains or sugar. Alcohol is also strictly forbidden.

While we did feel a bit “better” after it was all over, we didn’t really have that OHMYGODI’VENEVERFELTSOAMAZINGINMYWHOLELIFE feeling that the internets promised us. It didn’t really seem all that bad at first, but a week in it felt like cruel and unusual punishment, and by the end it just felt like too much of a sacrifice and waaaaay too much work for the payoff. I also didn’t feel like it really was all that “healthy”, because while it does encourage you to eat a lot of fresh produce, it also encourages overconsumption of fat and protein and salt at the expense of the grains and carbs and sugar.

The biggest takeaway that I really hope to stick with is to read ingredient lists for everything I buy, and to avoid sugar in savory foods where it doesn’t seem to belong. Once you start paying attention, you’ll realize there is added sugar in basically every packaged food on the market, and a lot of it really is easy to avoid if you know what to look for.

When it comes to avoiding grains and sugar all the time though…
You and I both know that shit just ain’t gonna happen.

the "jam-hattan" | Brooklyn Homemaker

Same goes for booze.

I wouldn’t really consider myself a heavy drinker, in fact I usually go weeks without drinking and don’t even think about it. I do enjoy a good stiff cocktail or tasty glass (or bottle) of wine from time to time though, and to be honest, it’s when I try to deny myself alcohol that I tend to crave it most.

Believe you me, after this crazy diet I fully needed and deserved a good strong drink.

the "jam-hattan" | Brooklyn Homemaker

Lucky for me, Drizly just invited me to join their Top Shelf Blogger Program.

I mentioned back in November that Drizly is basically just like or, but instead of burgers or sushi, Drizly delivers booze! I mean, how freakin’ amazing is that? We’re officially living in the future y’all!

Once I’d hatched a little plan for my first cocktail as a top shelf blogger, I had to get started with recipe testing. I was out of rye though, and nearly out of vermouth, so I went online, searched Drizly for what I needed, and had the bottles delivered to my front door in under an hour!


the "jam-hattan" | Brooklyn Homemaker

The classic Manhattan has always been one my favorite cocktails, and I especially love when I reach the bottom of the glass and get to eat those dark jammy little Luxardo maraschino cherries. It dawned on me one day that if one of my favorite things about a Manhattan is the jammy cherries, what was to stop me from just making a cocktail with cherry jam?

When making a drink with jam, it’s important to shake it rather than stirring like you would a classic Manhattan. The jam needs to be shaken in to fully dissolve into the alcohol, and once shaken it needs to be strained into the glass to hold back any chunks of fruit that didn’t incorporate.

The jam does make the cocktail a bit sweeter than it would traditionally be, almost more like an Old Fashioned, so I think it’s important to use rye whiskey rather than bourbon. Bourbon is sweet and mild on it’s own, while rye has a bold, dry, almost spicy quality that holds it’s own against the sugary jam.

the "jam-hattan" | Brooklyn Homemaker

To add just a little something extra, I thought that a touch of rose water could compliment the sweet fruitiness of the cherry. Rose water is seriously strong stuff though, and a little goes a looooong way. It took me quite a while to work out exactly the right amount that would come through without overpowering the whole drink. We had to do a whole lot of recipe testing to get the ratios just right, but luckily this drink is seriously tasty and Russell was a willing guinea pig.

In the end I realized that it’s almost best if you can only smell the rose when you put the glass up to your lips, but don’t really taste it much in the drink. The difference between a 1/4 teaspoon and a 1/2 teaspoon can mean the difference between a interesting cocktail with an elegant floral undertone, and taking a swig from an old perfume bottle you found in your grandma’s bathroom.

With the jam to whiskey to rose water ratio just right, this drink is a freakin’ masterpiece. I’ve gone ahead and gilded the lily y’all, and I think we’re all going to be better for it. I mean, maybe it’s the hooch talking, but this is seriously one of the best cocktails I’ve ever made for you guys. Strong and serious like a good Manhattan should be, but with a hint of sweet delicate elegance from the floral fruitiness of cherry and rose. Masculine and feminine. Yin and Yang. Tracy and Hepburn.

Now that I’m a Drizly top shelf blogger, you can expect at least a handful of equally “intoxicating” (har har) recipes from me every year. To help you take full advantage of everything Drizly has to offer, I even have a nifty promo code that you can use on your first visit to their site! If you follow this link to refer a friend, you’ll both receive $5 off your first orders with the promo code: bkhoochmaker

Bottoms up y’all!

the "jam-hattan" | Brooklyn Homemaker

The Jam-hattan

  • Servings: makes 1 cocktail
  • Print
2 oz good rye whiskey (I used Bulleit)
1 oz sweet vermouth (I used Carpano Antica)
1 tablespoon cherry jam *see note
1/4 teaspoon rose water **see note
2 to 3 dashes aromatic bitters
garnish with 1 or 2 Luxardo maraschino cherries, if desired

Combine the whiskey, vermouth, jam, rose water, and bitters in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice.
Shake shake shake until the shaker is ice cold and frosty on the outside, a good minute or so. Strain over ice into a rocks glass, and garnish with a skewer of Luxardo maraschino cherries.

Bottoms up!

*Different jams have different sugar to fruit ratios, so your drink may come out sweeter than mine if you use a jam with more sugar than the “Bonne Maman” Cherry Preserves that I used. If your jam is very sweet, you may want to use a little less.
**Some rose waters are more powerfully flavored than others, so if yours doesn’t come through enough you can add a drop more, one drop at a time, until you’re happy with it. Just be careful! Rose water is STRONG stuff and can easily overpower your drink.


classic pot roast with sweet potato parsnip mash

Being raised by a single parent meant that my sister and I shared in a lot of the household responsibilities.

classic pot roast with sweet potato parsnip mash | Brooklyn Homemaker

It was a different time, we lived in a safe neighborhood, and my grandma lived next door. When we’d get home from school mom would still be at work and we’d have the house to ourselves. Every day we’d be met at the door with a long list of chores taped to the newel post at the foot of the stairs. The list changed daily and was usually pretty substantial, at least long enough to keep us out of trouble until mom got home. Chores didn’t just include vacuuming or washing the dishes either, we were in charge of serious cleaning jobs like vacuuming out heating vents and scrubbing the bathroom tile surround.

At the time, I don’t think it would have been humanly possible (if you consider pre-teens human) for us to hate our chores any more than we did, but looking back on it I’m incredibly grateful. After living with countless roommates through college and until meeting Russell, I now realize that beyond keeping a tidy house, mom was also teaching us valuable life skills that many of my friends and neighbors weren’t learning. I know all sorts of things about not living like a slob that many of my peers don’t, like how to wash dishes and actually get them clean. I can remember the specific moment in college when I realized I no longer wanted to fight with my roommate about who’s turn it was to do the dishes, because whenever she did them I’d end up wanting to wash them again anyway.

classic pot roast with sweet potato parsnip mash | Brooklyn Homemaker

Another item that was usually on the list was making dinner. Working later in the day meant mom wouldn’t always have time to get dinner on the table after she got home, so she taught me a few simple recipes I could make on my own. Cooking dinner was one of the chores that I actually enjoyed doing and as time went on I started teaching myself new dishes all the time.

Pot roast was one of my old standbys, but back then I didn’t really know the “rules” when it came to braising and roasting, so to be honest my roasts weren’t very good. At the time I don’t think I even realized it, and mom never complained, but I hold myself to much higher standards nowadays. I was probably using the wrong cuts of meat, or cooking them at too high a temperature too quickly. I may have even been undercooking them, or at least not cooking them long enough to melt the collagen and make them tender. Either way, they were often as rubbery as shoe leather and flavored with little more than dried onion flakes, so as I got older I decided I didn’t really like pot roast.

classic pot roast with sweet potato parsnip mash | Brooklyn Homemaker

Unfortunately I was a vegetarian in college, so even though I took several culinary courses, at the time I didn’t really feel the need to pay much attention during the meat classes.

If I could turn back time…
If I could find a way…

classic pot roast with sweet potato parsnip mash | Brooklyn Homemaker

It was only a few years ago that I finally decided to give pot roast another go around, and that’s when I looked to the internet to show me the way. I tried a few recipes that came out okay; certainly better than what I made when I was 12, but not really good enough to make me want to bookmark any of them to make again.

Then, one day, I discovered the Cook’s Illustrated pot roast recipe.

Game-changing. Mind-blowing. Life-altering.

classic pot roast with sweet potato parsnip mash | Brooklyn Homemaker

Seriously. Their method makes, hands down, the best pot roast I’ve ever tasted in my entire life.

It is a little more work than some of the other recipes I’ve tried, but it is WELL worth it. It’s important to find the right cut of meat, and to speed up the collagen melting you’ll need to do some butchering of your own. You’ll also need to tie the meat up with cooking twine so it doesn’t fall apart in the pot, and to promote even cooking you have to flip it half way through cooking. Then the sauce for the meat is made by pureeing the vegetables from the roasting pan with broth and red wine for texture and flavor. This makes it a bit more involved than the set-it-and-forget-it style recipes prominent on Pinterest, but you guys, I swear. You’ll never want to make pot roast any other way.

classic pot roast with sweet potato parsnip mash | Brooklyn Homemaker

Because I don’t know how to leave well enough alone, I did go ahead and make a few changes to their recipe to make it my own. The cooking method is exactly the same though, and produces the same mouthwatering, fork tender, practically falling apart results. Beyond the traditional red wine, the sauce benefits from a bit of acid and the original recipe calls for balsamic vinegar to be added at the end. Instead, I added apple cider (and a bit of chopped apple) to the cooking liquid. I thought this could be a fun seasonal twist and would add a subtle sweetness. It really works and makes this roast the perfect dish for welcoming fall weather.

Instead of roasting large chunks of potatoes and carrots to serve with the roast, I decided that I wanted to serve it over a bed of mashed sweet potatoes and parsnips. I think the slight sweetness and bright color pairs perfectly with the subtle apple flavor in the sauce.

classic pot roast with sweet potato parsnip mash | Brooklyn Homemaker

I know I already said this, but hello fall flavors. You couldn’t ask for a more perfect dish to celebrate the change of seasons. A word of warning though, the house will smell unbelievable for up to four hours and your mouth will be watering constantly.

The flavor of this meat is just so…. meaty, and you won’t believe how tender it comes out. No knife required.
The pureed veggies in the sauce add a great rich and roasty flavor, and gives the sauce a nice thickness without having to make a roux for gravy.
Adding parsnips to the mashed sweet potatoes really helps balance their sweetness and adds a depth of flavor. Taking the time to brown the butter gives them an extra richness, and helps them feel well paired with the roasted meat.

Go make this.

classic pot roast with sweet potato parsnip mash | Brooklyn Homemaker

Classic Pot Roast with Sweet Potato Parsnip Mash

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

3 1/2- to 4-pound boneless beef chuck-eye roast
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium (or 1 large) onions, halved and sliced thin (about 2 cups)
1 large carrot, chopped medium (about 1 cup)
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped medium (about 3/4 cup)
2 celery ribs, chopped medium (about 3/4 cup)
1/2 firm tart apple (I used Braeburn), peeled cored and chopped medium (about 1/2 cup)
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or crushed (about 2 teaspoons)
1 cup beef broth, plus more for sauce
1/2 cup dry red wine, plus another 1/4 cup for sauce
1/2 cup fresh apple cider
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 large sprig plus 1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
Ground black pepper
chopped fresh parsley for garnish, if desired

Sweet Potato Parsnip Mash:
3/4 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered
6 tablespoons butter
1 to 1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

Pull your chuck roast into two pieces at the natural seam, and trim off any large layers and knobs of fat. Sprinkle both pieces of meat with 1 tablespoon salt (1½ teaspoons if using table salt), place on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet, and let stand at room temperature 1 hour.

Adjust your oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Heat butter in heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium heat. When foaming subsides, add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add carrot, parsnip, celery, and apple; and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes more. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about one minute. Stir in 1 cup of broth, ½ cup wine, apple cider, tomato paste, bay leaf, and thyme sprig; and bring to simmer.

Pat the roasts dry with paper towels and generously season on all sides with pepper. Use kitchen twine to tie each piece of meat into a loaf shape for even cooking and prevent it from falling apart.

Nestle the meat on top of the vegetables. Cover pot with a tight fitting lid and transfer to the oven. Cook beef for three hours, flipping halfway through. Check and, if necessary, continue cooking until beef is completely tender and sharp knife easily slips in and out, about 30 minutes to 1 hour. This extra time is best used to start your sweet potato parsnip mash, recipe below.

Once fully cooked, transfer roasts to cutting board and loosely tent with foil. Strain liquid through mesh strainer into a large liquid measuring cup. Discard bay leaf and thyme sprig. Transfer cooked vegetables to blender jar. Allow liquid to settle 5 minutes, then skim any fat off surface. Add beef broth as necessary to bring liquid amount to 3 cups. Place liquid in blender with vegetables and blend until completely smooth, about 2 minutes. Transfer sauce to medium saucepan, add remaining wine and chopped thyme, and bring to simmer over medium heat. If sauce is too thick it can be thinned out with more beef stock. If too thin let it reduce to the desired consistency. Once reduced taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

While sauce heats and reduces, remove twine from roast and slice against grain into ½-inch-thick slices.

Sweet Potato Parsnip Mash: 
Place sweet potatoes and parsnips in a large stockpot, cover with salted water, and bring to a boil. The parsnips can take longer to cook than the sweet potatoes, so it’s important that they’re in smaller pieces. Once the pot comes to a boil reduce the heat to medium and cook until vegetables are fork tender. This should take about 15 or 20 minutes, but can vary depending on the size of the pieces.

Once tender, transfer sweet potatoes and parsnips to a colander to drain. In the same pot heat the butter over medium heat just until it begins to brown. Stir occasionally and watch it closely or it can burn. Remove from heat. You can either push the drained sweet potatoes and parsnips through a potato ricer or food mill and add them back into the pot, or add them to the pot first and mash them with a potato masher. Stir in milk, a little at a time, until you reach your desired consistency. Add nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Serve the meat on top of the mash and top with sauce and a sprinkle of chopped parsley.