I am not a cheap man. Just ask my wife about my spending habits.
But, even I have my limits. For a recipe to come this weekend, a really good cocktail, recipe, I needed chili vodka. I began to drink a long time ago. So long, that when you went to the rum and vodka section of the liquor store, you just went to a space two feet or maybe eight bottles wide. A couple of brands of vodka, couple of rums.
And now when you hit that store to find something? You need to pack a lunch. It’s a long, long journey down that aisle. Vodkas and rums by the dozen. Raspberry, pineapple, pina colada, … There are a multitude of flavors. Some enchanting. Some that seem a bit silly. Or scary.
Did I find my chili vodka? No, although there was a bottle of pepper vodka for $30. Should I buy it? Would this vodka be good? Would the cocktail be good? How long would it take me to use up that bottle? I still have some stuff I bought before I married Suzen although I will never confess to that.
No. I could not, would not gamble. I bought a bottle of regular old, honest-to-god vodka. And then I made my own chili vodka. That’s it in the picture above. Yes, that’s an Exxon or BP style oil slick on top. The chilis are there, right at the bottom of the jar I used. To get the chili flavor quickly, and not have to wait days, I bought a bottle of Italian red cherry peppers. They are inspiringly fiery. I added some of these bottled peppers to the pure vodka and — voila — in just four hours I had liquid heat.
Does that oil matter? No, it’s just sitting there on top. You can easily scoop it off before using in a beverage. Truthfully, a little of the oil in the cocktail is not going to matter and the oil conveys pepper heat as well.
How long will this vodka last? Years. A decade. But long before that time has flown, I’ll be putting its heat and flavor to good use.
I’m posting this on Friday. Sunday you’ll get the cocktail. And Saturday? Why, I need to blog the ginger ice cream first! It’s quite a cocktail.
Quick Chili Vodka
Yield: 2 cups
- 2 cups vodka
- ¼ cup pickled Italian peppers, drained but not dried of its oil
Pour the vodka into a pint mason jar. [I know 2 cups = 1 pints but there’s headroom.]. Add the peppers. Don’t shake or stir. Just the pepper slide to the bottom. Over the next four hours, just gently swirl the jar.
After four hours, you’ve got flavored vodka. Keep the peppers in the jar, and the flavor simply intensifies.
Source: Brian O’Rourke
Photo Information: Canon T21i, EFS 60MM Macro lens, F/9.0 for 1/12 second at ISO 3200 [no flash]
There is a new cookbook about to hit the stores: Le Pain Quotidien by Alain Coumont and Jean-Pierre Gabriel. If you know about the Le Pain Quotidien stores [restaurant, bistro, coffee shop all in one], then your curiosity is already stirring. If you never had the pleasure of dining at the long communal table that is emblematic of each Pain Quotidien site, then here is a recipe to stir your imagination.
In a nutshell, a corn cream — accented with lime zest and jalapeno — is spread over bread. Goat cheese is dotted on top, and the concoction is placed under the broiler to let the cheese melt down and mingle with the cream. It’s very satisfying. Personally, I doubled the amount of corn, cut right off the cob. It is a meal unto itself.
Tomorrow I’ll review the book in general, giving you more recipe ideas. Since “pain quotidian” roughly translates to “daily bread” there are a bevy of bread-based recipes. But, as this one shows, you can have magnificent style and a most satisfying meal by topping that bread with some basic treats.
Although this recipe says it serves 2, the recipe can be easily scaled. The bread slices can be cut once they are out of the oven and you can use this as a dandy warm appetizer. Make lots. People are going to gobble it down.
Corn, Jalapeño and Goat Cheese Tartine
Yield: Serves 2
For the salsa:
- 1 tomato, diced
- ½ onion, finely chopped
- ½ garlic clove crushed
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
- Juice of one limes
For the tartine:
- 1 slice smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 4 tablespoons cream fraiche
- ½ garlic clove crushed
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeno pepper
- Grated rind of ½ lime
- ½ cup corn, canned or fresh [about ½ cob]
- 2 slices of sourdough bread, medium thickness, fairly wide
- 2 ½ ounces of young, soft goat cheese [or feta], sliced
- Cilantro leaves for decoration, optional
Preheat your oven broiler.
Make the salsa by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl and mixing.
In a small saucepan, combine the bacon, crème fraiche, garlic, jalapeno and lime rind with 1 tablespoon of water. Place over low heat and bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 1 minute, then add the corn. Remove from the hat.
Spread the corn cream onto the bread. Divide the goat cheese between the two tartines. Then place them under the broiler for 3-4 minutes until the cheese is just beginning to melt. Removed from the boiler. Serve immediately with the salsa on the side.
If you desire you can dot the tartines with cilantro leaves for color, contrast, and flavor. To make them easier to eat, you can cut each one into 3-4 slices.
Source: Le Pain Quotidien by Alain Coumont and Jean-Pierre Gabriel