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I always rotate my morning coffee spots. Yesterday, it was the Modern Times Coffeehouse, which I love visiting because I can first scan the bargain cookbook section at Politics & Prose before grabbing my coffee for the day.

In my browsing yesterday, I found a  $6 copy of Chinese Cuisine by Susanna Foo, who runs her eponymous Gourmet Kitchen just outside of Philadelphia. Its reputation is sterling. As I was paying for my new purchase, the clerk behind the counter told me she adored this cookbook. She cooks from it all the time, she said. She asked if I’d like to see her favorite recipe.

How could I say no? So she turned to the page on Foo’s brandy-infused hoisin sauce, which sounds delicious. Unlike the monotone dude in this video, both the clerk and I have mixed feelings about commercial hoisin sauces. They all seem as thick and gelatinous as canned cranberry sauce.

Foo’s is different, the clerk showed me. It starts with commercial hoisin but cuts it with other ingredients, including brandy. Foo writes that the brandy gives the hoisin a “more intense flavor and a finer texture.”

 The recipe is after the jump.

Susanna Foo’s Brandy-Infused Hoisin Sauce

2 tbs corn oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups (16-ounce jar) hoisin sauce

2 tbs Asian sesame oil

1/2 cup brandy

2 tbs red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup chicken, pork or beef stock

Directions: Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Add the garlic and cook over high heat, stirring, until it is golden, about 2 minutes. Be careful not to let the garlic brown.

Add the hoisin sauce and the sesame oil and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.

Reduce the heat to medium, add the brandy and vinegar and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly to keep the sauce from sticking to the pan.

Add the stock and reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, until the sauce is well blended and thickened.

Cool the sauce and pour into a jar with a tight-fitting lid. This sauce will keep well, covered and refrigerated, for up to 1 month.

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