Archive for ‘Alcohol’

August 14, 2011

Persephone’s Drinks Cabinet | Fig Margarita

Several years ago, before Cherub was born, I bought my mother a fig tree.  For years she had longed for a tree like the one that grew in the backyard of the little house in Austin where she raised her two little girls.  She always loved feeding me peeled figs when I was tiny and just beginning to enjoy my first tastes of  real food.  This was something she hoped to recreate with soon-to-be-born grandbabies.  She needed a tree in the ground early, she told me, so the harvest would be ready when I got around to having one.

Ahh, how she forgot what a harvest she would have from just one, abundant tree.  Now in its prime, at peak season, she picks five and six pounds of figs a day from that little tree.

The babies, that so recently mashed just-picked and peeled figs between soft pink gums, now grab branches and haul themselves up to climb to the places Demeter can’t reach.  And she has lots and lots of figs.

I still love them.

When she visited, she brought me a couple of bottles of fig syrup.  Because to make a moderate amount of syrup you need lots and lots of fruit.

I am more than a little grown up now, and I enjoy figs in all sorts of ways.  Most recently in the form of a fig margarita.  This margarita would be equally enchanting with fruit syrups of any kind (raspberry, certainly strawberry, peach).  Just give some thought to what spices on the rim might marry best with the fruit you choose.  This cocktail is all about celebrating a bounty in unexpected way.

Aggie Lane Margarita, makes one

For the rim:

1/2 t brown sugar

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July 10, 2011

Persephone’s Drinks Cabinet | Cherry Shrub

I couldn’t let cherry season pass with a cocktail of some sort.  And this one is so surprising and light: low in alcohol high in gorgeous cherry flavor.  It’s an ancient recipe out of Mary Randolph’s The Virginia House-wife originally published back in 1838.  And it’s perfect for sipping on the screened porch on hot afternoons.

I had a copious amount of a couple of types of cherries that were languishing with their pits still firmly inside.  I didn’t feel like pitting them.  I’ve been pitting them for days: for a few quick moments

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June 24, 2011

Strawberry Week | Strawberries in Pimm’s with Basil Cream

This is PK’s contribution to Breakfast at Wimbledon.  The Championships are perfectly situated at the dawn of summer, and so strawberries and their best friend cream have become as important as the tennis.  It’s a very simple version of a late-June favorite, but with some lovely refinements.  Just drown the berries in Pimm’s, a handful of sugar, and a whisper of ginger.  Then steep the cream with freshly-snipped basil leaves, whip it lightly, and you’ve re-made an old favourite.

Henman Hill* Strawberries and Cream, Serves 4

4 c strawberries, halved or quartered or left whole if they’re lovely and small

handful of sugar

12 scrapes of a fresh knob of ginger (I used a microplane to get it very fine)

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June 15, 2011

Persephone’s Drinks Cabinet | Sugarplum Soother

Mama said there’d be days like this.  And when there are,  you might consider adding a bit of lemon balm to your evening cocktail.  It’s been used since the middle ages to reduce stress and anxiety, and promote sleep.  Plus with a lovely lemony scent, and pretty toothed leaves, it makes a gorgeous garnish.  Sometimes, I’m all about the pretty.

This evening’s local cocktail was a sweet combination of the juneberries (a.k.a, sugarplums) from our generous next door neighbor muddled with the lemon balm that so generously reseeded itself along the patio edges.   After a tough day (read: extra loud, bossy Cherub), this is exactly the cocktail I want in my hand.

Sugar Plum Soother, makes one

Small handful of juneberries

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June 4, 2011

Persephone’s Drinks Cabinet | Sage Flower Sangria

Get some food people together and you can come up with some pretty tasty ideas.

At dinner recently, my friend Bethia pointed out how flowery Kate‘s sage plant was and plucked a few of the purple blossoms for us to pop in our mouths.  Our eyes widened and we were immediately smitten with the surprisingly honeysuckle-y sage-iness of the teensy lavender-colored blooms.  Enterprising Kate made up a quick batch of sage flower syrup and kindly gifted me a batch.  I love that girl.

I used some this afternoon in some red wine sangria.

My sage plant in the background with the last of the flowers on it. Note the syrup and the triple sec in the bottom of the pitcher. Make sure to give it a good stir.

Sage Flower Sangria, serves me and Hades…

1 bottle of red wine (inexpensive Rioja, Beaujolais and Lambrusco are all good kinds)

Small handful of strawberries, halved (Worthington farmer’s market has them in now)

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May 10, 2011

Persephone’s Drinks Cabinet | Candied Ginger Vodka Gimlet

Sometimes, you just want a little cocktail, but only have a few things in the fridge or pantry.  This is perfect drink for those times.  We seem to almost always have a lime or a knob of ginger lying around as I’m always making Asian noodles of one sort or another.  Tried and true, this is a gimlet with just a little twist.  It’s extra delicious with OYO Vodka.  But then again, just about everything is better with a little OYO Vodka.

Candied Ginger Gimlet, makes one

3 ounces vodka, use OYO if you can find it

1 ounce lime juice

1 ounce ginger simple syrup

For the candied ginger simple syrup:

In a nonstick pan, take a thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and diced, and throw it in with a tablespoon of sugar and a tablespoon of water.  Heat it until it becomes extremely syrupy, and add it to your simple syrup (1/2 c sugar, 1/2 water, brought to a boil, simmered for a moment or two and allowed to cool).  Let it infuse for as long as you like, but try to give it at least 15 minutes. Strain.

For the cocktail:

In a shaker with crushed ice, combine all ingredients, shake well, and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with ginger and lime.

Playlist included Surfboard, by Esquivel.

March 14, 2011

Irish Cooking | Gaelic Steak

Steaks are the ultimate in quick cooking.  Fifteen minutes and dinner can be on the table.  Plus if you’re feeling a little sluggish, maybe you need a little more iron, or perhaps a Guinness.  Tonight’s Gaelic version was topped with sauteed onions, watercress and a whiskey reduction.  This is a wonderful combination, perhaps the best way to eat a steak, and like the Guinness it goes so well with, it gives you strength.

Gaelic Steak, Serves 3, Inspired by The Scottish Irish Pub and Hearth Cookbook

1 one pound rib steak

2T butter

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