January 22, 2014 by Jenn
Managing your bar will be a new addition to the blog where I give you cheap and fun ways to create your own additions to your bar cart including bitters, simple syrups, and even liquors. A new segment for our blog was born out of sheer frustration. Two things happened recently, 1. I couldn’t find any interesting bitters flavors that I wanted and 2. When I found them, they were dumb expensive. There is a fancy liquor store in town and they wanted 19 dollars for blackberry bitters…. WHAT?! So I decided that I don’t need their stinkin’ bitters. I will make my own. Guess what? It’s SO easy.
There are a lot of posts that say you can make bitters from vodka but this just isn’t true. Vodka is not grain alcohol which is what you need in order to suck out all the flavors of whatever you are turning into bitters. If you soak a fruit in vodka, it will sort of taste like what you want but Everclear on the other hand will suck out all the flavor and make your bitters pretty colors to boot.
For those who don’t know: Everclear is a clear distilled grain alcohol that is bottled at both 151-proof and 190-proof. I used the 190-proof to get high octane result. Don’t worry about the grain alcohol having an affect your cocktails alcohol-wise or taste-wise, the amount of bitters used in a cocktail is so small that the grain alcohol won’t make a difference, it’ll just add really great flavor since it’ll be so concentrated. The bitters I created are Orange Cinnamon Bitters and Blueberry Bitters. Let’s get started!
To make these bitters you will need:
- 1 bottle Everclear
- 2 jars with tight fitting lids
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 1 orange
- vegetable peeler
The amount of Everclear you use is really up to you. I know I would use the Orange Cinnamon Bitters more often than the Blueberry Bitters, so I made more of the Orange Cinnamon. I used 1 1/2 cups of Everclear for the Orange Cinnamon Bitter. I poured the Everclear into my jar then I dropped in the 3 cinnamon sticks and the peels of 1 orange. (I ate the orange as a bitters making snack after I peeled it) For the Blueberry Bitters, I used 1 cup of Everclear and 1 Cup of blueberries. Really, the amount of product you put into the Everclear really depends on how strong you want the bitters to be. Once the fruit is in the Everclear, screw on the lids tightly and put them in a cool dark place (I used a kitchen cabinet) and let them sit for 25 days. You might be thinking 25 days?! It takes a while for the alcohol to suck out all the flavor. After the 25 days, unscrew the lid and taste the bitters. If the flavor is right, remove the fruit with tongs or a fork will do just fine. If the bitters are not strong enough, leave them be for another 3 days and taste them again. Keep checking in 3 day increments until they are perfect. My bitters sat for a total of 31 days. Depending on how much alcohol you use, you could easily make 6 different kinds of bitters from one bottle of Everclear. SO much cheaper!
What’s super weird is that once I took out my blueberries, they were really hard! Like rocks. All the juice had been infused into the bitters!
The same happened with the orange peels, they were colorless and hard once they were removed. The grain alcohol totally did it’s job.
Once you’re finished you can bottle them or leave them in the jars. As long as they are tightly sealed, the bitters will last up to 6 months. Label them and poof! You’re ready to have a delicious cocktail with a great flavor!
January 20, 2014 by Emily
Everyone is all about veggies and salads and brown rice in january, resolutions and all… but that’s really not any fun is it?!
thats where pimento cheese comes into play. A decidedly southern treat that I’d never eaten until this past week. I don’t know where the desire to eat a bright orange cheese goo came from, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it for DAYS so I finally hustled my butt into the kitchen and made some.
The ingredients are fairly basic and steps are incredibly easy, but the results really are something special. The cheese is tangy, the peppers add a great texture and a nice zip to the mixture and mayo rounds everything out into a smooth creamy dream!
What you’ll need:
8 Ounces shredded sharp cheddar
4 Ounces drained and chopped pimento peppers
1/4 Cup mayo
1- Place half the cheese into the bowl of a food processor with the mayo and whir until its a smooth paste
2- scrape out the cheese/mayo mixture into a work bowl and combine the rest of the cheese and the peppers. Add a few dashes of hot sauce until it’s a zippy as you like!
3- Placed in an air tight container and chilled this lasts for up to a week.
You can eat this straight up, cold and on crackers… but I chose to make mine into a GRILLED Pimento cheese sammy.
January 14, 2014 by Jenn
Yesterday Patrick had a meeting in DC and since I was off work, I hitched a ride and spent my day at the National Mall. I love all the museums. They’re so fun (and FREE). My personal favorites are the Natural History Museum (my first stop) and the Air and Space Museum (second stop). During the winter time, it’s cold and gross and being outside really just sucks but yesterday was a particularly odd day temperature-wise. It was nice just to be outside walking around and not be freezing. 50 degrees in January is CRAZY.
1. The Natural History Museum has a really crazy exhibit on how human have changed the earth. Spoiler: we’ve done a really bad job so far. (7 billion now!!!)
2. The architecture is so awesome.
3. The room of bones is my favorite. It hasn’t been updated since the 60′s and it reminds me of Wes Anderson.
4. Overlooking the mammals exhibit.
5. Evolution of small critters.
7. The Air and Space Museum is awesome. SO many cool things hang from the entire ceiling.
8. Amelia Earhart. My personal favorite. I have always loved her, so much that I got a big ol tattoo of her on my arm.
9. Cool old newspaper clippings.
10. Murals for days.
If you get a chance to go to DC, visiting the museums is a must. There’s so much cool stuff to see. Just an FYI: if you plan on seeing the Holocaust Museum don’t make any other plans for the day as you will be totally wiped out. It’s one of the most tragically beautiful museums I’ve ever seen. For more info go here!
January 2, 2014 by Jenn
It’s January folks! This is the time of year when we all become a lot more health conscious. One inexpensive thing you can do to keep yourself healthy is wash your food.
Obviously buying organic is preferable but sometimes it’s expensive and we just can’t afford it that week. A good alternative is to wash your fruits and vegetables, or rather soak them. Even if I buy organic, I still always soak them. The veggie wash not only takes off the waxes and pesticides residing on the skin but it also keeps your produce fresh longer. It’s simple. Take a large pot or basin and fill it with 1 TBSP salt, 1 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar, and 2 1/2 cups water. Mix well and then drop in all your fruits and veggies. Let em soak for a few hours and then rinse with cold water. There isn’t enough vinegar to make the food have a strange taste or smell so no worries about that. Doing what you can to control what’s going in your body is important. Try it out! It’s easy and inexpensive. Some of the veggie washes sold in stores actually have chemicals in them which is totally counter productive. Keep it clean!