Virginia City is turning into quite the foodie destination. New restaurants on C Street — the Corner Cupboard and Julie Bulette’s — offer casual American fare, while the Core in the Cider Factory on B Street will be known for more of a European touch. Our traditional favorite, the Café Del Rio, stills charms guests with a five-day schedule of great southwestern cuisine.
It’s hard to go hungry these days in this old West mining town. Virginia City during its heyday was known for excellent cuisine, and with all of the new restaurants, we may reach back to our old historic roots in culinary prominence.
This recipe is a simple, but grand, combination of flavors. The B Street House offers a fresh fruit course with every breakfast, many of which could do double duty as dessert. Orange Strawberry Grand Marnier is a favorite among guests who enjoy fruits macerated in alcohol for a robust course. Add a dollop of freshly whipped cream and you have a great, easy dessert.
Macerated fruit is a standard of both restaurant chefs and home cooks because of its elegant simplicity. To macerate means to steep or soak, and the term used in cooking usually refers to fruit. The liquid of the maceration, often alcohol, helps release the fruits’ own liquid, replacing the juice with the stronger liquor essence. Dried fruits can be macerated in any number of different alcohols or liqueurs, then stored for a long period to be used as a topping for cake or ice cream. The dryer the fruit, the longer the time needed to steep it in the liquor. It’s a useful technique, and one that provides a versatile repertoire of dessert-happy fruits. For maceration liquors consider ports, wines and flavored liqueurs. Adding freshly chopped mint or chopped nuts to a fruit and liquor combination is also an option. Fresh fruit or dried, single fruit or a mix, a macerated fruit course offers a versatile option for a breakfast fruit course or dessert.
Grand Marnier, an orange cognac, is used in this recipe. It is rather pricey, but I don’t know of a good substitute. The fruit in this recipe can be macerated for a short two hours, or can be held in the refrigerator for at least a day. I prefer to make this recipe in the afternoon and hold it overnight in the refrigerator for breakfast the next day.
ORANGE STRAWBERRY GRAND MARNIER
4 cups navel orange segments
2 cups quartered strawberries
1/3 cup Grand Marnier liqueur
2 tablespoons sugar
Prepare the oranges by either segmenting or cutting each section away from the inner membranes in a technique called supreming. The photo with this recipe shows small organic oranges that were broken into natural segments. To supreme the oranges, cut off all peel and outer edge of membrane on each segment. With a sharp knife, cut each segment of orange away from the segment’s membrane. Slice over a bowl to catch the drops of orange juice. Discard of membrane. Quarter strawberries and add to bowl with oranges. Pour Grand Marnier over fruit and add sugar. Stir carefully until just mixed. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight to let flavors blend. Serves four to six.
Check out the music and shows at Piper’s Opera House this summer. A great schedule includes guitar, banjo, vaudeville, burlesque and more. Stay for dinner and make it a mini-vacation!
Carolyn Eichin owns B Street House Bed and Breakfast in Virginia City.