Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Original Daiquiri Cocktail

The Daiquri is a classic cocktail which may come as a surprise to many, who have enjoyed the frozen blender variety.  This cocktail was made famous at the El Floridita restaurant in Havana, Cuba early in the 20th century (Hemingway always ordered doubles at El Floridita).

This is a very smooth cocktail.  A nice balance between sharp and sweet.  Once you find the perfect balance of light rum, sharp citrus juice and simple syrup then you want to stick to those measurements.

Last week when the harvest moon was huge in the sky this would have been a beautiful pairing enjoyed side by side with Mother Nature.

Turn on the music, invite a few friends, and shake-up a few of these cocktails.  The world will be a better place for it.

Original Daiquiri Cocktail
Serves 1
Recipe from Cool Cocktails

2 oz. golden rum
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
2 barspoons simple syrup

Measure all the ingredients and pour into an ice-filled shaker.  Shake and strain into a frosted martini glass.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

  Tomatoes on the Vine

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Learning to Preserve: Easy Spicy Habanero Mint Jelly

The summer garden has come to an end.   The abundance of hot peppers is winding down too.  The peppers will continue to produce (albeit at a slower rate) until the first frost in December.  However,  I am finished for the season trying to preserve peppers, and this jelly was a nice end to a great season.

This pepper jelly with a hint of mint is not too sweet or to mild.  It has just enough heat to give you a slight kick in the pants without overwhelming your palate.

I don't think about spreading this pepper jelly on my toast in the morning but this would be amazing to glaze meats, or on top a wheel of soft brie, a block of warm cream cheese, or as an extra layer in your grilled cheese sandwich.

A few jars of homemade pepper jelly stashed in your pantry for use throughout the year is probably a good idea.

Spicy Habanero Mint Jelly
Makes 9 (8-ounce jars)
Recipe from Southern Living

Bring 1/2 cup firmly packed fresh mint leaves and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a saucepan.  Remove from heat, cover, and let stand 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, process 1-1/2 pounds red bell peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped; 3 habanero peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped; 1 small onion, coarsely chopped; and 1/2 cup white vinegar in a food processor until finely chopped.  Pour mint mixture through a wire-mesh strainer into a large Dutch oven, pressing mint with a wooden spoon to release flavors.  Discard mint.  Add pepper mixture, 7 cups sugar, 1 cup white vinegar, and 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice to Dutch oven.  Bring to boil over medium high heat, stirring often; boil, stirring constantly, 2 minutes.  Remove from heat, and stir in 2 (3-oz.) packages liquid pectin.  Return to heat, and bring to a boil, stirring often,  Boil, stirring constantly 1 minute; remove from heat.  Let stand 5 minutes; skim off foam with metal spoon, if necessary.  Pour hot mixture into 9 (8-ounce) hot sterilized jars, filling to 1/4-inch from top.  Seal and process.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Krista Bjorn

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Kiwi Fruit Martini Cocktail

Using the juice of ripe tropical fruit muddled into a cocktail shaker with just a hint of simple syrup and good quality vodka makes for the creation of a modern martini.

This martini is delicious, glamorous and proof that simple makes the statement.

Kiwi Martini Cocktail
Serves 1 (easily doubled)
Recipe from Cool Cocktails

2 oz. vodka (or more if you choose)
A dash of simple syrup
1 fresh kiwi

Crush a peeled sliced ripe kiwi in a shaker, using a muddler or flat end of a bar spoon.  Add ice, the measure of vodka and simple syrup to taste.  Shake and strain into a frosted martini glass.  Garnish with a slice of kiwi.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Eliza Schneider-Green

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Learning To Preserve: Mango Chutney

Mango trees growing-up were abundant throughout south Florida.  Neighborhoods were filled with backyard trees that were 35-40-feet tall.  In the summer branches were heavy with hundreds of ripe mangoes.  Companies would often scour the neighborhoods and offer to buy the fruit directly from the tree, and then would bring in equipment to shake the tree loose of its fruit.  It was not uncommon to see a "Sold" sign on the tree before the equipment arrived to indicate to other buyers that the fruit of this tree was taken.

You could get a large paper grocery bag filled to the rim with fresh shaken from the tree mangoes for a couple of bucks.  They were everywhere during the season.   If only I had the appreciation then like I do now for fresh mangoes.

A good sale on mangoes this past week provided the motivation needed to tackle the task of preserving mangoes by learning how to make chutney.

To this day, I peel mangoes in a terrible way..........

But, in a pot you can't tell.  

I plan on showing off the flavors of my freshly prepared mango chutney by using it in a special chicken dish, as a condiment on a cheese board with a good bottle of wine, and mixing a few tablespoons with softened butter, cilantro and a pinch of cayenne for an enjoyable mango fruit butter.

The ideas are endless.

Mango Chutney
Makes 5 cups
Recipe from Epicurious

3 medium apples, peeled, cored and chopped
2 large mangoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
1-1/2 cups (375 mL.) granulated sugar
1 cup (250 mL.) finely chopped onion
1/2 cup (125 mL.) golden raisins
1/2 cup ( 125 mL.) white vinegar
1/4 cup (50 mL.) finely chopped ginger root
1 tablespoon (15 mL.) lemon juice
2 teaspoons (10 mL.) curry powder
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL.) each: ground nutmeg, cinnamon and salt

1.  Combine apples, mangoes, red pepper, sugar, onion, raisins, vinegar, and ginger root in a large stainless steel or enamel saucepan.  Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat and boil gently, uncovered for 20 minutes or until fruit is tender and mixture is thickened, stirring occasionally.  Add lemon juice, curry powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt: boil gently for 5 minutes.

2.   Remove hot jars from canner and ladle chutney into jars to within 1/2-inch (1 cm) of rim (head space).  Process 10 minutes for half-pint (250 mL.) jars and 15 minutes for pint (500 mL.) jars as directed.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Lisa LazarusBrown
Apalachee Beekeepers Association