Archive for ‘Alcohol’

July 12, 2012

The Teaches of Peaches | Herb Nectars

We just got back from vacation in Georgia. It’s such a great state with so many people committed to delicious food fresh off the farm.  My kind of place, really.  And to be honest, they make some mean fried chicken.

While I was there I couldn’t help but do some canning of some fresh Georgia peaches.  I basically followed this method for canning the teeny ten pounds I had into four quart jars.  In some of the jarred peaches I packed in some fresh basil,

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March 20, 2012

Persephone’s Drinks Cabinet | Texas Savvy Firefly

Even a cocktail can be local and seasonal.  Especially if it has lovely ruby red grapefruit juice in it along with a super smooth locally distilled vodka, in this case Savvy, out of Austin.  The recipe: grapefruit juice and vodka in a two to one ratio.  A splash of grenadine.  Stir.  Pour over ice.  Superb.

Playlist included Look at Miss Ohio, covered by Miranda Lambert.

January 16, 2012

Persephone’s Drinks Cabinet | Prickly Pear Rum Punch

Sometimes I need a bit of liquid en[courage]ment to get moving in the blog posting realm again.

Enter the cocktail.  I whipped up something with the few bits and bobs that we have ’round the house.  I know, I have prickly pears in my house.  In January.  Hush.

Because of this cocktail, I’ve been inspired again to dive into some typically Mexican edibles, primarily all things cactus.  Nopales, as they’re called, are eaten with great relish despite,

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December 29, 2011

Persephone’s Drinks Cabinet | Stone Fruit Sparkler

What’s New Year’s Eve without a sparkly cocktail?  Although I know folks are firmly on either side of the fence about them.  ‘Tis the season, I say.

Just about everyone loves a little (or perhaps a lot, God love ’em) bubbly this time of year.  Give your glasses of sparkling wine, Cava, Prosecco, Asti, Crémant, Champagne (the choices really are almost endless, really), a little extra glee with a splash of Middle West SpiritsOYO Stone Fruit.  This year’s seasonal vodka is kissed with sweetness from Montmorency cherries, peaches, apricots and loveliness.  I think it pairs deliciously with an Asti (which deserves another look; it’s not what it used to be) and is perhaps even better garnished with a homemade maraschino.

Cheers to another great year!

OYO Stone Fruit Sparkler, makes one

1.5 oz Stone Fruit Vodka, chilled

1 dash orange bitters (Fee Brothers are good)

5 oz sparkling wine

In a champagne saucer or flute, combine the vodka, bitters and top with the sparkling wine.  Imbibe.

Playlist included Shampain, by Marina and the Diamonds.

November 23, 2011

Persephone’s Drinks Cabinet | The Rum Whitfield

Oh my goodness.  I stumbled on something.  Pumpkin water.

Water.  Only the complete essence of pumpkin.  Much like tomato water.  Only pumpkiny-er.  Obviously.

I just knew this would make a good cocktail addition.  And of course, my friend Molly completely helped me in sussing out some ingredients.  Because she’s totally good at it.  And she knows all about cocktails.  And does stuff for these guys.

So this cocktail is entirely inspired by the season, what I had around (I was roasting a pumpkin for a pie, y’all, and had this left over), the Ohio seasons, and our recent trip back to New Jersey, our former home.

The Rum Whitfield, makes one

1.5 oz. spiced pumpkin water* (**)

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August 31, 2011

Persephone’s Drinks Cabinet | Cherry Mint Julep

All summer long, as things have grown I’ve picked them.  And put them in alcohol.  Rhubarb, blueberries, apricots, cherries, peaches.  Tonight I enjoyed a fabulous cherry mint julep.

Simple, classic.  And like the fastest pony at the Derby, always a winner.

Southerners: people partial to front porches, magnolias, fresh peaches, cool breezes, fast horses and mint juleps.

PK’s Cherry Mint Julep, Makes 1

2 sprigs fresh mint

heaping t. powdered sugar or sugar in the raw

2 shots Cherry bourbon, plus a bit more to top off the drink (I like Knob Creek with dark red cherries steeped for about a month)

In a cocktail shaker muddle the mint leaves from one sprig along with the sugar and a few tiny pieces of crushed ice.  Fill shaker with ice, pour in bourbon.  Shake well to chill thoroughly.  Pour over more crushed ice in a silver mint julep cup (I prefer mine with a bit of tarnish, for character and a casual feel) or in a short cocktail glass.  Garnish with remaining mint sprig.  Top off with additional bourbon if desired.

Playlist included the cover of Islands in the Stream, by Yim Yames of My Morning Jacket and Neko Case.

 

August 28, 2011

A Nomad’s Meal | Kicked Up Hatch Chili

It’s a short season.  They’re only really available at the tail end of August.  And I can see why people are obsessedFestivals and cooking competitions span New Mexico and beyond as fans of Hatch’s heat put them in everything from quesadillas to key lime pie.

Hatch chiles are meaty, flavorful green chiles with a skin that slips off easily after a deep roast over my stove’s gas burner cranked to high, and a quick steam in a bowl covered with cling film.  They freeze wonderfully well if you take care to roast them and remove the skins before you freeze them.  One word of warning: they get hotter the longer you freeze them.

I bought a pound of chiles and roasted some for a batch of chili.  After roasting and removing the skin and seeds, I pureed them with a few rehydrated dried chiles for some smoky depth.  I ended up with quite a nomad’s version of chili.

There are several tricks to great chili, the first being you should probably work to develop your own house style.  Start with a recipe that you love.  Use better than average meat: thinly sliced sirloin, cut into short ribbons works worlds away better than basic ground round.  Deeply browned meat and softened onions provide a good flavor base for the chiles and spices.  You are by no means stuck with beef: lamb and buffalo are great options as well.

Use a combination of chiles for the best flavor.  Today I soaked pasilla, ancho and chipotle chiles and blended these with the fresh roasted hatch and a little water for my own chile paste.  Extra paste freezes really well in ice cube trays.

In terms of spicing, think beyond chile powder and cumin to possibly include black cardamom pod (adds a great note of smokiness), a bit of paprika, tiny amounts of cinnamon and cloves, a sprinkling of ground coffee, a drizzle of molasses, apple cider or rice vinegar for balance.  Adding these seemingly exotic spices only deepens the complexities of the chili.  Chili is really not far off from a curry  — its just a matter of how you look at it.

Add in some local beer along with the water depending on where you live: Shiner Bock if you’re in Texas; a bottle of Columbus Brewing Company Pale Ale if you’re in Ohio.  If you choose to add beans, think of perhaps adding a dried bean mix.  Today I used Goya’s 16 bean mix.

By all means let this concoction simmer for several hours, covered to keep in the moisture.  This is a dish that develops over the day.  Keep your spices and seasonings handy as an hour into the cooking will taste much different than three hours into it.  Take your time and trust your palate.  Adjust, adjust, adjust.

Just before serving, you can add in a tablespoon or two of masa harina to thicken and add a bit more flavor.  Serve over rice, if you like.  I believe a Basmati for extra fragrance and interest does wonders.  But remember, there are no rules when you’re making the house recipe.

Playlist included Someday by Ceremony.

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