Suzi's Blog

It’s Pepper, Not Salt: Rimming Your Glass with High Heat

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You may be asked if your margarita glass should come with salt. I always say, “No, sugar instead please.” It draws stares. I feel, well, like people think I’m some kind of sugar addict. How, how very degrading.

I don’t care if it’s true. It’s still degrading. I have to change, if not in restaurants, then at home. From an earlier post for a specific cocktail, I’m abstracting out the rimming mix that went with it. Here’s a blend of spices that you can use, instead of salt or sugar, to rim your cocktail glass. And, not just margaritas. This mix provides a bolt of flavor that matches with tropical drinks of all orders. Or, and I know this is heresy, just a glass of bourbon or whiskey can elevate to a new level with this rim extension. The flavor, just the sheer aroma, of this mix will change your perspective on your favorite beverage.

The spice mix below is a suggestion. You can add, change, mix, or match at will. But, do show some care when you first use it. This mix, for example, is hot. Truly hot.

I guess there is life beyond sugar after all.

Rimming Spice Mix

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons celery seed
  • ½ teaspoon habanero powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Preparation:

Place all the ingredients in a small bowl and slow whisk to mix. This mixture is devilishly hot. So, do NOT wet your finger, dip it in and taste test. You’ll be screaming and running for a beer if you do.

Source: Imbibe.com which credits Tilth Restaurant in Seattle [please visit titlerestaurant.com to learn more about this exciting New American restaurant]

 Photo Credits: Canon T2i, EFS 18-55MM Macro lens, shot at F/2.8 for 1/30th second at ISO 3200.

Roasted Strawberry and Jalapeno Freezer

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There is that old tale, promoted by real estate agents, that if your house is going to be shown, then you should have chocolate chip cookies in the oven. The aroma will sell your house. Not that pool.

Nonsense. You should have strawberries roasting. It’s far more poetic.

From Cocktails for the Four Seasons, by Jenny Park and Teri Lyn Fisher, here’s a flavor bundle that will surely please you. And perhaps confound you, too. I tasted this and could do nothing but smile.

The idea is this. Roast strawberries to intensify their flavor. Freeze them and put the cold gems in a blender with booze and jalapeno simply syrup. The roasted strawberries have an intensified, dark flavor. They are still quite sweet, though, which provides the contrast for the smoky heat of the jalapeno simple syrup. It’s one of those rare times where you can be confused and pleased all at the same time.

I made this drink my own way, of course. I wanted it very cold so some ice cubes went into the blender. Mango flavored rum replaced the coconut — there are times when I want simple fruit sophistication instead of blunt force coconut power. You have leeway here and can use the rum of you daily preference. It’s much less about the rum. Much more about the jalapeno syrup.

Roasted Strawberry and Jalapeno Freezer

Yield: 4 drinks

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds strawberries, hulled and sliced in half
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 ounces tequila blanco
  • 6 ounces coconut rum
  • 6 ounces jalapeno simple syrup
  • Juice of two limes
  • 4 strawberries hulled [for garnish]
  • 4 candied jalapeno knots [for garnish, see yesterday’s post]

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Spread the strawberries onto a baking sheet and drizzle them with the vinegar and olive oil. Toss them tougher and roast for 30 to 40 minutes.

Allow the strawberries to cool. Pour the berries into a parchment-lined baking dish and place it in the freezer.

Once the strawberries are fully frozen [about 3 hours], place them in a blender with the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into four snifter or hurricane glasses.

Garnish each glass with a candied jalapeno knot and strawberry skewered on a cocktail pick.

Imbibe. Enjoy.

Source: Cocktails for the Four Seasons, by Jenny Park and Teri Lyn Fisher

Photo Information [top]: Canon T2i, EFS 60mm Macro Lens, F/2.8, 1/20th second, ISO-3200