How do you substitute alcohol in recipes and add more flavor? My guest provided wonderful alternatives and insights on this topic. We discussed her two books, The Sober Kitchen and Sober Celebrations. Chef Liz reminded us that alcohol DOES NOT “burn off” during cooking or flambe. Also, “alcohol-free” products actually still contain alcohol. Lemon extract can be 80% alcohol in volume. Amazing facts that should be considered while preparing a meal. Although only a small amount of alcohol may be consumed through the food, the aroma alone may be enough to trigger a reaction in the brain to cause relapse. Endorsements abound for these cookbooks. They are full of wonderful recipes and I recommend them for all home chefs. Listen to the program here. Read more about Chef Liz:
Chef Liz, a professionally trained chef, has achieved long-term recovery and gained an innovative new view of her personal and professional life. But, in deciding to seek treatment a decade ago for alcoholism, she feared recovery would end her culinary career; a career that embraced alcohol as a key ingredient in cooking and a prerequisite to fine dining.
For Scott and the nearly 9 million Americans in recovery from alcohol and drug dependence, relapse is a major concern. Holidays, special occasions, and social events can often be a minefield of triggers. Many popular recipes, from main dishes to desserts, often call for alcohol in some form and nearly all social events include wine and spirits. Yet, scientific studies have shown that there can be a risk for relapse simply from the cravings that are set off by the smell, taste, and visual cues of alcohol. Determined to find a way to combine her love of cooking and her commitment to recovery, Scott focused on what was to become the concept for her first cookbook, The Sober Kitchen.
“I began to experiment with different kinds of substitutes to find ways to create the same flavor by using alcohol-free ingredients, says Scott. “I found that common pantry ingredients such as fruit juices and vinegars could step in perfectly for recipes that called for wine. And by combining these ingredients with things like orange oil and bitter orange marmalade for example, I found a terrific way to make a dish like Duck a l’Orange, a French classic known for its use of Grand Marnier or Curacao, without sacrificing the nuances of flavor.”
Scott expanded her experimentation with flavored syrups, teas, and infusions and the results were outstanding. Her repertoire now includes remarkable substitutions for nearly every possible culinary use of alcohol and the innovation continues to include alcohol-free drink pairings and mocktails.
Scott wrote her first cookbook, published in 2003, Sober Kitchen: Recipes and Advice for a Lifetime of Sobriety, by Harvard Common Press. It has been hailed as the first practical guide to healthy cooking and eating through the phases of recovery.
Embraced as a standard guide by The Hazelden Foundation and applauded by the Research Society on Alcoholism, The Sober Kitchen has helped thousands of individuals and families in their journey towards health and freedom from addiction.
“It’s a cookbook for real life and real people,” Scott says. And it seems the critics agree. Sober Celebrations has just received the 2008 National Health Information Silver Award honoring the nation’s best consumer health information as well as being named one of Foreword Magazine’s Books of the Year.
About Chef Liz Scott: Chef Liz has recently completed the definitive drink guide, Zero Proof Cocktails: Alcohol-Free Beverages for All Occasions, due out in early 2009 from Ten Speed Press. She continues to cater sober events, teach educational classes and workshops on alcohol-free cooking at culinary schools and treatment centers, and consults on diet and nutrition. Scott is a regular columnist for Recovery Today Newspaper – online, and has an ongoing guest segment, “In the Sober Kitchen,” on Recovery Coast to Coast radio.