A cook who is irreverently seeking to be relevant.

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Drink Me: Flavors for Less


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


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

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.


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.

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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April Fool

I considered posting a joke recipe today. Maybe something like the recipe for “Swedish Lemon Angels” out of the book Penn and Teller’s How to Play with Your Food. As tempting as the idea was I decided to post one of my favorite dessert recipes instead.

Fools are simple desserts. Googling “fool recipes” will bring you tons of recipes and just as many variations. Some recipes call for fruit purée or syrup to be folded into whipped cream, some are simple custards folded into whipped cream, and others are no more than an overly thickened Creme Anglaise with fruit syrup added in. I prefer the first two variations for texture and flavor. During the summer I don’t bother with making a heavy curd or custurd I just go the syrup or purée route. However, since spring has just sprung and it’s still pretty chilly out I decided to go with the heartier choice. This recipe, with it’s thick and rich blood orange curd, is perfect as an end to a lazy sunday brunch.

I call this an April Fool because April is the perfect month for the main ingredient, blood oranges. If you can’t find blood oranges almost any type of orange will work. Just make sure the juice is fresh squeezed and unpasturized. You may have to adjust the sugar depending on the type of orange.

April Fool

Yield: Makes 8 servings

1 cup fresh squeezed blood orange juice
1/2 tablespoon blood orange zest
6 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (cubed and room temp)
2 large eggs (beaten)
1 cus well-chilled heavy cream

Simmer orange juice over medium-low heat until reduced to 1/2 cup.

Remove the pan from heat and add sugar and butter to orange juice, whisking until butter is melted.

Whisk 1/2 ounce hot orange syrup in with the eggs. Pour remaining syrup into the top of a double boiler (a glass bowl over simmering water works best). Slowly whisk in the egg mixture. Continue whisking, until thick enough to hold whisk marks.

Remove pan from heat and add zest to orange curd, mixing evenly. Place the glass bowl in a larger bowl of ice and cold water and stir until cold. Keep cold until needed.

In another bowl beat cream until it holds stiff peaks and fold into orange curd gently. Leave darker streaks of blood orange visible.

Chilled over warm grilled pound cake.
Layered in a trifle.
In a chilled martini glass.

Seasonal berries or blood orange supremes.

Swedish Lemon Angels can be found here. This recipe will make a mess of your kitchen. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/member/views/SWEDISH-LEMON-ANGELS-1209952

The book by Penn & Teller can be found here. There are some pretty cool ideas in this book. The bleeding heart cake is super easy and can be pretty grizzly if done right.

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A New Recipe for a New Blog

For the last few months I’ve felt like it was time for a change. I didn’t know what kind of change so I did what most twenty somethings living in a faltering economy would do. I ignored it and stayed at my job. Well it would seem that reality didn’t agree with my cowardly attempt at procrastination and I found myself unable to avoid the oncoming rush of change. So after a few days of worrying I decided that this wasn’t a curse. I can either freak out and maintain my status quo or I can reach out and change my life. I have a culinary degree that I hardly use, a passion for writing, and a list of things that I’m afraid to try. Why not combine the three and have some fun in the process.

In honor of my new blog I decided to cook something I’ve never made before. I thought for a few days about what I could make and finally, while I was wandering around the Farmers Market, it came to me. I passed by the oxtails and couldn’t help but think about the few times I’d had oxtail before. immediately I remembered traveling with my family and the first time I tried the rich, warm, sticky meat. So I bought a few pounds and put them in my cart. Once I got home the tricky part started. How the heck was I going to cook these things? I didn’t want something that would hide the flavor and I really didn’t want to make a stew. I also really wanted to make something that was inexpensive and simple. This recipe is the result of my first attempt at braised ox tail. I’m pleased with the results and I hope you will be too.

With out further ado I present…

Guinness Braised Oxtail with Tagliatelle Pasta

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