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
From Maximum Flavors comes this turn-the-world-around recipe for scones. Although the recipe below calls for nut butter and some kind of fruit, in the headnotes authors Aki Kamozawa and Alexander Talbot do give away their favorite combination: peanut butter and strawberries.
I know that “peanut butter” says “butter” but I never think of it as “butter” like the yellow stuff Suzen and I bake with. Yet here it is. And the result is a light, melt-in-your-mouth texture. The peanut flavor is an undertone with the strawberry highlights punctuating palate in unexpected surprises.
These scones are rich enough that no additional butter is needed. Pairing these scones with a hot espresso is precisely the way to begin a winter morning.
Nut Butter Scones
Yield: 12 smallish scones
- 1 ½ cups/ 225 grams all-purpose flour
- I ½ cups / 210 grams white whole wheat flour
- ½ cup / 100 grams granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons / 12 grams baking powder
- ½ teaspoon / 2.5 grams baking soda
- ½ teaspoon / 3 grams fine sea salt
- 1 cup / 270 grams nut butter (peanut, cashew, almond, etc.), cold
- 1 cup / 260 grams whole milk (or substitute soy, almond, or rice milk)
- ¾ cup fruit (berries, raisins, diced bananas, etc.)
- 2 tablespoons / 25 grams raw sugar
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a food processor, combine the flours, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and pulse a few times to blend. Add the nut butter and pulse to blend. The mixture should look coarse and granular. Add ½ cup (195 grams) of the milk and pulse until the mixture begins to clump together. If it seems too dry, add the remaining milk, 2 tablespoons (32.5 grams) at a time, pulsing in between additions, until it begins to clump together and look like coarse streusel.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured countertop and scatter the fruit over the top. Use your hands and a bench scraper, if you have one, to gently fold the fruit into the dough, adding a bit of flour if the juices from the fruit make the dough too wet to hold together. It should just hold when you press the dough together. Form the dough into an 8-inch (20 cm) round and cut it into 12 equal wedges. Or you can shape it into two 4-inch (10 cm) rounds and cut each in to 6 pieces.
Put the scones on the baking sheet. Sprinkle the tops with the raw sugar. Bake for 8 minutes, rotate the sheet, and bake until golden brown, 4 to 8 minutes more, checking after 4 minutes. Let the scones cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before serving.
Source: Maximum Flavor Aki Kamozawa and Alexander Talbot
Photo Information [top picture]: Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/4.5 for 1/100th second at ISO-1000