Archive for June, 2011

Drink Me: Flavors for Less

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Yesterday I posted a recipe for cucumber vodka today I was thinking about all sorts of other flavor ideas. When I got home from work today I searched my kitchen for different flavors that I could infuse into vodka. I found a slightly overly ripe tomato and a bag of orange infused cranberries. So with out further ado I give you tomato vodka and cranberry-orange vodka.

Tomato Vodka

Crush one, very ripe medium sized, tomato in the bottom of a one pint mason jar. Fill the jar with vodka, seal it and refrigerate it for at least a week. When it has finished steeping strain the mixture.

Cran-Orange Vodka

Pour 1/4 of a cup of cranberries into a one pint mason jar and top off the jar with vodka. Seal the jar and refrigerate for at least a week. Strain and enjoy.

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Cheap Cheats

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It’s time for some more inexpensive kitchen quick tips!

If you use vanilla beans and don’t know what to do with the left over pods (or the old ones hiding in the cabinet) you have a few options. If you’ve used the pods for flavor (creme brûlée is a good example) you have to rinse them first then the fun can begin. Simple vanilla sugar is the easiest, just place the pods in your sugar bowl and voila. It’s also super simple to make vanilla extract.

Vanilla Extract

Chop up leftover vanilla beans and put then in a small jar (4 to 6 Oz is perfect). Fill the jar with a good quality vodka and seal it. Let the beans steep for a week in a cool dark place. Any time you have extra vanilla throw it in the jar and top off the vodka.

If you increase the amount of vodka to about a pint and throw in your vanilla you can let it steep to get some great vanilla vodka.

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Drink Me: Homemade Cucumber Vodka

I’m a fan of flavored vodka. I just don’t like paying an arm and a leg for something so easy to make. Recently I made cucumber vodka. All in all it took about ten minutes and cost about seven dollars to make a pint.

Pour one pint of good quality vodka into a clean non-reactive container.
Make sure the lid fits well.
Grate 1/2 of an English cucumber into the container.
Seal and leave the mix in your refrigerator for at least a week.
Strain the vodka and enjoy.

Once its steeped I’m partial to a Pickled Martini.

Mix two ounces cucumber vodka and 1/2 an ounce of dry vermouth in a shaker over ice. Add a splash of pickle brine and shake. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a cucumber slice.

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Brookhaven Farmers Market

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I went to the newly minted Brookhaven Farmers Market today. Today was the first of three Sunday markets planned for this year. The market was not the biggest With only 14 tents. However, even in such a small space they managed to provide a great market for the area.

I picked up some excellent produce while I was there. Tomatoes, green cucumbers, zucchini, broccoli, and paddy pan squash. I also picked up a lemon cucumber. I had never seen A lemon cucumber before but I was immediately taken with how beautiful they were.

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As soon as I cut into the first cucumber I was hit by what is possibly the strongest smelling cucumber I’ve ever had. As aromatic as it was it wasn’t overbearing. The skin was a little thicker than a regular cucumber but not so thick that you would want to peel it. As for the flavor, it was sweet and classically cucumber, I wouldn’t say it was anything special. However I do think that they were beautiful and will make wonderful pickles.

My next exciting purchase was an amazing local Camembert. It came from CalyRoad Creamery. I can’t express how much I loved her cheeses. She also had a wonderful feta that I would add to a watermelon salad in a heart beat. Not to mention her assortment of goat cheeses. Apparently she also teaches workshops, which I will most certainly be checking out.

While I was there I also had an Arnold Palmer Popsicle from King of Pops, Cookies from Love Flavors, and I bought soap from
Ancient Paths Farm. I also ran into Chef Chip from, one of my favorite places to go for a healthy and amazingly yummy lunch, Brookhaven Bistro.

All in all I really enjoyed the farmers market. I hope to see what they become down the road. In the future I would like to see a better showing and some more variety. I also hope they can get some meats or even just eggs. The next to market days are July 31 and August 28.

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A Few Ideas

Caramelized white chocolate ice cream.

Coca-Cola caramel.

Whiskey vinegar.

Habanero vodka.

Tomato vodka.

Celery seed vodka.

Making bitters at home.

Making a still for alcohol.

Candy apple.

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It’s not that I’m lazy…

It’s really not that I’m lazy… I just don’t have a lot of spare time to write about my cooking. Obviously we all need tricks to speed up our day. Especially in the kitchen. I present you with two easy tricks to make things go a little smoother.

1) It’s summer and it’s hot. Use the hot box that is your car as a quick place to sun dry herbs. Place paper towels, parchment, or just plain legal paper in the back window then put your herbs on top to dry.

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2) In a pinch for barbecue sauce? Mix honey and a dark beer let them reduce until thick. Add ketchup and stir. A little salt and pepper to taste and you are done.

20110609-040342.jpg Guiness Barbecue Spare Ribs are easy with this quick sauce.

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