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
- 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]
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.
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
Cucumbers. Absolutely marvelous food. Or eye patches.
I often use cucumbers in dips where they are combined with yogurt or sour cream for a mellow treat. But, there are options. This recipe gives you fire on day one and a tumult of heat if you let it sit in the refrigerator.
I would normally say here to play with ingredients, but I suggest you follow this recipe meticulously. Get a sense of the heat and, if you have the courage, you can ramp it all up next time.
The flavors here layer. They do not clash. But like a spice symphony, they do come together for a grand finale.
[Oh, if you read the recipe, and compare the pictures, then you will see that, yes, I did peel the cucumbers.]
Nippy Cucumber Relish
Yield: 4 cups
- 4 large Kirby [pickling] cucumbers, each about 5 inches long [about 1 ¼ pounds]
- 1 medium carrot
- ½ cup white wine
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh red jalapeno, or other hot red pepper
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
Scrub the cucumbers and cut ½ inch off each end. Cut the cucumbers in large dice and place the diced pieces in a bowl.
Trim and peel the carrot. Grate it on the largest holes of your metal grater. Stir the carrots into the cucumbers.
Combine the remaining ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 2 minutes and let the mixture cook, stirring occasionally. Taste and add more salt if necessary.
Serve right away at room temperature or refrigerate until chilled. Keep chilled until almost ready to serve. The relish will last for 5 days in the refrigerator. However, do recall this: every day it sits there marinating, the relish gets hotter. Day 1 is fine. Day 5 requires a cold beer.
Source: Chutneys & Relishes by Lorraine Bodger