Twas a fantastic weekend! We spent Friday evening tasting all that Union Market has to offer with Jill. I even ate (2) oysters and slightly enjoyed them. I probably would have no photos of this outing, but Jill kept insisting, “Take pictures for me so I can blog!” Uhhh, someone is addicted. Just as I told her she would be. It reminds me of many, many years ago how Jill said she would never listen to country music and that she would always hate it. I urged her to give it a little liten, but she adamantly avoided it and refused to see the light. Then one special day I came home to Jill, alone, sitting in front of the computer signing this song at the top of her little lungs, knowing all the words by heart. THERE IS NNOOOO ARIZZOONNNAAAA… Such was her entry into the blogging world, and now she can’t stop.
On Saturday morning, Matt took me on a little surprise shopping excursion as an early 3-year anniversary gift. I know, I was shocked too. Where did we go? Only the greatest place EVER! I got to pick out some sweet new cowboy boots and I cannot think of a better “leather” gift than this. omg I’m so excited for my Dan Post boots to arrive!! They didn’t have my size in stock at the store, but they will still be here soon :):) YAY
Today we have been working our butts off to put the house back together after having the floors redone. All new hardwood upstairs!! It’s been a bit of disarray in the process, with my office stacked full of all our junk… but things are finally getting back to normal. Just in time for Monday. Going to be a great week!
On Friday evening we joined some new friends for Seasonal Pantry. It was, simply put, excellent. It made me want to learn how to cook fancy things and then throw real dinner parties, where I serve something other than tacos. And learn how to make long, skinny breadsticks because they’re fun to eat. Oh, and handwritten menus with beautiful lettering. That part I could probably handle.
Matt and I took a “Bitters and Infusions” class through the Libations Bar School, held this past Wednesday night at The Spice and Tea Exchange in Georgetown. In the most basic terms, we learned that you can add almost anything to an over-proofed liquor (like moonshine), let it soak for a few weeks, shaking it daily, and then voila! You have yourself a bitter than can be added to a cocktail. They were traditionally made as medicines to cure all sorts of ailments, then people commonly started adding them to gin or wine, and that’s where the cocktail came from.
We got in small groups, and chose several flavors from throughout the spice shop to put in tiny flasks of moonshine. I think ours ended up with ginger, some sort of berry (looked like a blueberry, but smaller, can’t remember its name), and gentian root. Not sure what that is going to end up like, but it was fun to concoct. We got to sample a variety of other bitters that had already been marinating for while… I am talking “sample” as in one medicine dropper worth on the tongue — that stuff can be POTENT. Whew. For someone who loves to smell strange things, this class was awesome for me, I was in my own little happy place. So if you happen to start seeing all sorts of little strange bottles popping up in our kitchen, don’t think it’s all weird and all, just ask for a taste.
candy corn infused vodka – the results…
October 9th, 2011
We made candy-corn infused vodka the other week, and here are the results. I’d call it a mild success, but I probably won’t do it again next year now that we’ve done it once. We ended up leaving the candy corn to soak overnight. By the morning, it was mostly dissolved, and the vodka was a beautiful, bright orange color, but there were all these weird looking pieces of the candy still floating around looking like stalagmites in the liquid. It kinda looked like a science fair project. I’m guessing that’s the high-fructose corn syrup that even alcohol couldn’t break down. Anyways, it was almost (almost) enough to make me want to avoid candy-corn for a little while. But then Jill came over with the rest of a bag she had bought, annnnd that hiatus was over.
ANYWAYS! We made the cocktails that night, and they were… ehhh, ok.
1 1/2 cups vodka
2 ounces orange liqueur
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 large egg white
Candy corn, for garnish
Usually something with egg in it would turn me off a little, but since it was just the whites, it was actually nice and frothy. I guess it was really just too boozy tasting to me. We ended up adding a splash of tonic water, and that made all the difference. So, if you want to try it at home, I’d recommend adding the tonic, or maybe a splash of ginger ale or sprite to take the edge off.
Anyways, we strained and bottled the rest of the vodka, and it IS a really pretty color. The bottom of the batch was realllly sugary and thick as it poured out. Without all the floaties in it, I’ll say it does look very tasty. I think the plan for the rest of the batch is to use it to make some orange jello shots for our upcoming Halloween party. That was Matt’s idea, and I think it will be perfect for it!
Somehow I ended up on a website called yumsugar.com (shocking, I know), and decided I had to make this recipe for candy corn infused vodka. I am a sucker for sugary things, so candy corn is naturally one of my favorites. Truthfully, it’s sad that it starts showing up in stores wayyy before October and starts testing my willpower a whole month before Halloween. Anyway, we skipped the proper recipe proportions and just went with it — 2 bottles of vodka and most of a bag of Brach’s, minus the handful that I tested for flavor. I debated over getting the little pumpkin-shaped ones at first, but didn’t want to get too crazy. I think we’re going to give it a few days to marinate in there, and once it starts turning orange give it a little taste test and then bottle it back up until Halloween!! I’ll be sure to write about how it turns out, as long as it’s good. I think now we need to plan a little Halloween costume party.
drink up! We finally bottled and labeled our first official batch of Near Northeast Hooch. It’s an infused combination of spiced rum, red apples, and cloves. Here’s the recipe that we followed, if you care to play along at home. Pretty easy stuff. Combine ingredients in a jar and then wait… If only you could make dinner this way. Oh wait, you can, it’s the equivalent of the crock-pot!
The results were pretty good, I suppose. We overdid it on the length of infusion time, but I don’t think it mattered. (note: check your calendars for long-planned vacations before you start doing something like this) I’m not a big fan of rum in general, so I will pass on any further judgement of our own infusing skills until we get to our next recipe… berry vodka.
Anyways, we already gave away the two bottles pictured, and saved a smaller one for ourselves. Here’s what I’m going to make with it tonight – apple cocktails. If this drink doesn’t immediately bring on fall weather, I’m not sure what else to try.
What do you guys think of the labels? It’s probably one of my dream jobs to design wine bottle labels, so this was a pretty fun little exercise in Photoshop for me. I don’t know about you guys, but in this house we pick out wine by 1) what’s on the label and 2) price. It goes like this when Matt picks it out: does it have a bicycle or scantily clad woman on the bottle? Is it less than $12.00? Then we can get it!! And when I’m the one shopping: Does it have a friggin’ adorable animal on it or some sort of polka dot theme? Is it less than $8.00? (I’m the cheaper one). It’s not easy having such discriminating tastes. How does everyone else pick out wine?
Last weekend when Ty and Val were visiting, we checked out the chocolate and coffee shop ACKC on 14th Street. We’d walked by there many a time, but never poked our heads in. As it turns out, it’s a cute little place owned by Rob Kingsbury (the chocolatier) and Eric Nelson (the artist). When you walk in, you are bombarded with bright colors from the artwork on the walls and tons of tiny little morsels to make you drool. The photo above is a closeup of one of the many custom tabletops painted by Eric, which are pretty much awesome.
Last night was the infamous High Heel Drag Race, an annual costumed event held on 17th St. in Dupont Circle on the Tuesday before Halloween. There were plenty of lovely drag queens out last night, despite the heavy rain, and, since all of the action occurred just steps from our house, we had some friends over beforehand to enjoy some Giggle Juice (pictured above) and pizza. We didn’t get to snap too many pictures of the ladies from a few rows of people deep, where we had to poke our heads in and among the umbrellas, (or kneel on the ground to see through the crowds if your name is Andrea), so you’ll just have to check out the Flickr Pool for some funnies!
2 bottles dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc, chilled
5 cups lemon-lime soda, chilled
2 cups white grape juice, chilled
6 limes, thinly sliced crosswise
Make ice block: Fill medium metal bowl with water and freeze overnight.
Make punch: In large punch bowl, stir together wine, soda, and grape juice. Add lime slices. Just before serving, remove ice block from freezer and defrost just long enough to be slipped out of bowl, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to punch bowl and serve immediately.