Monday, June 29, 2015

How to Make Coffee Liqueur

I am not a drinker per se. I like a Margarita with Mexican food, a glass of Chianti with pizza, a Sidecar in front of a crackling fire in the winter, and a glass or two of Sangria on a hot summer day. Occasionally, very occasionally, I like to sip a nice liqueur. But this liqueur sipping is so occasional that I really never keep what I like on hand because, well frankly, there is just no room in the cabinet that I have designated for liquor, and to expand would just wreak havoc on my kitchen dish storage. So when I received a copy of Infused for review, I looked with an interested eye at the recipe for coffee liqueur.

I was wary. Extremely wary. I just couldn't imagine how this would be any good. I was imagining a coffee-flavored rum. Not that this would necessarily be a bad thing, but it just didn't sound like my cup of tea. As a lover of coffee and cold brew, I was intrigued. Essentially this is no different than making
cold brew with the rum substituting for the water, so, day before yesterday I gave it a try.

People!! This is heaven! Throw out those bulky bottles of Kahlua with the sediment in the bottom and try this. The yield is rather small, so you won't be storing it for ages, and the taste is sublime. Imagine coffee liquor that actually tastes like coffee, really good coffee. Mr. O-P reports that it is magical (okay, my word not his) on top of a scoop (or two...or five...Mr. O-P does like his ice cream) of vanilla ice cream. It is also insanely delicious in a cup of coffee.
Coffee Liqueur
Recipe from Infuse. Oil. Spirit. Water. by Prum & Williams\

8 ounces of aged rum
4 ounces turbinado simple syrup (see recipe below)
½ cup of whole bean coffee, coarsely ground
Seeds from ½ vanilla bean

Combine all ingredients in a 16-ounce Mason jar.  Seal and shake to combine.  Refrigerate and let infuse for 24 hours.  Strain through a double layer of cheesecloth.  The infusion will last for up to three months in the refrigerator.

Turbinado Simple Syrup

½ cup turbinado sugar
½ cup water

Place sugar and water in a small saucepan.  Warm over low heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved.  Cool before using.

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Sunday, June 28, 2015

The month ahead...JULY

Can you believe that July 4th is just a week away?  Neither can I.  I also can’t believe that in all of the years that I have been blogging I have yet to do a patriotic table.  It’s not just because I don’t really have anything red, white, and blue, but also because, well, the time just gets away.  I’ve decided that now is the time to set and photograph fall tables so I’m ready when fall gets here which will probably seem like tomorrow.

However you celebrate this week, I hope you have time to relax and enjoy family, festivities, and great food.

Here is a look ahead to some of the things you can expect to see in July.

Happy Fourth everyone! 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Basil Hummus

Ten years ago (and even as I write this I cannot believe it has been that long) Mr. O-P and I, along with another couple, had lunch at The Boathouse, located in one of St. Louis' iconic attractions, Forest Park. We started our meal with Basil Hummus and Pita Bread. I remember it as being very delicious, so much so, that I wrote a letter to the food editor of the Post-Dispatch requesting the recipe. They managed to get it, and published it in the paper in September of 2005. I was thrilled. So thrilled, in fact, that I put it aside, and never thought about it again.

Fast forward ten years, and this year's bumper crop of basil, that had me searching for recipes and, lo and behold, there was the recipe for basil hummus. Last night I made it, and spent the rest of the evening wondering why it took me so long to make this very easy, can't-stop-eating-it tasty snack. I had to adapt the original recipe to reflect what I had on hand, but I cannot imagine it being any better.
Basil Hummus
Adapted from a recipe from The Boathouse

3/4 ounces fresh basil (approximately 1 cup, tightly packed)
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
2 Tablespoons tahini
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil

Combine Melissa's steamed garbanzo beans and accompanying liquid (if you use canned garbanzos, drain them, reserving liquid to add after blending in order to achieve desired texture) along with the basil, garlic, tahini, vinegar, salt, and olive oil in the work bowl of a food processor (having now made this twice, I found a Ninja blender works far better than a food processor here, so if you have one of those, use it), and pulse until blended and smooth.

The Boathouse suggests serving it on a plate garnished with chopped tomatoes, diced cucumber, crumbled feta, Greek olives and parsley.

Serve with warm pita wedges, or do as I did and mound it into a ramekin and grab a box of crackers. You just can't go wrong with this delicious hummus.
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