Suzi's Blog

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

Sugar Syrup Revisted

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Whack. Bam. Crunch. It’s a melody that has been occurring periodically in our kitchen.

“Don’t hurt the marble.” Suzen is very protective of her counter top. I’m protective of my plastic quart container.

My fridge always has a quart of sugar syrup on the top shelf, ready for use in cooking and certainly needed for many of the cocktails I try. Yes, a little sugar syrup is a secret ingredient used in the best of margaritas.

But, I’ve been having a constant problem with that container. After a few days, the sugar begins to “undissolve” out of the syrup. [I was not a chemistry major so I don't know the right word here.] My syrup is literally coming apart and the sediment on the bottom of the container is hard, rock hard. So, at some point, I use up what liquid syrup remains and then apply hot water and banging to clean the container.

To attack this problem, I’ve experimented with the way I making the syrup and I believe I have the solution: alter the ratio of sugar to water, and, simmer until golden.

The classic syrup recipe calls for a ratio of 2:1 in sugar and syrup. So you put 2 cups of sugar in a saucepan, add 1 cup of water, then stir to dissolve the sugar as you bring the mixture to a boil. After you reach a boil, different recipes call either for some continued simmering or none at all.

In my shift, I’m using equal amounts of sugar and water, so 2 cups of each. Then, after the syrup first reaches a boil, I back off the heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes. The liquid develops a light golden color. Light, not dark. The simmering ensures that the sugar has truly dissolved into the water and that there are no mini-crystals left to trigger that crystalization process I want to avoid.

Yes, this “dilutes” the syrup but it’s still very sweet to the taste and has worked well in cocktail assembly.