Sunday, June 2, 2013

Gluten free crepe goodness

So this blog has been very vodka-centric so far, but I need a place to write some of my GF recipes, so here goes. 

Jealous of Becca's crepe breakfast this morning, I set out to make GF crepes. All of the online recipes said 'us a GF flour mix'. Lame. Never works for me when I do this. So, looked for a recipe for rice flour crepes. Found one, but then realized I only had a half cup of rice flour left. So, did as I always do...improvise. Turned out delicious! Highly recommend for both GF and non-GF peeps. 


.5 cup rice flour
.5 cup tapioca flour/starch
1/4 teaspoon xanthum gum
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon melted butter


1- In a medium sized mixing bowl, beat together all ingredients until smooth.

2- Pour, using 1/4 cup measure into a medium sized, hot, non-stick (or greased) skillet.

3- Turn skillet to thinly, evenly distribute batter in a circle.

4- Cook about 30 seconds per side.

5- Add delicious fillings. For savory we did chèvre, smoked salmon, chives, and capers. For sweet, we did one with plain whit sugar and fresh squeezed lemon juice (my personal fav which comes from London crepes with Alvise and Max), and apricot mix made by Trish (fresh apricot, lemon juice, butter, and sugar...heat over stove so turns into jammy goodness). 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Summer Bliss - Cucumber Vodka

This vodka was a request of Miss Erin Ball's, and is also a tribute to a lovely evening with my fabulous co-workers - Lucy, Erin, Carrie, and Dave - and a bottle of cucumber vodka.

This is one of those really simple and fairly quick infusions. And it is delicious!

1 bottle (750 ml) vodka
- don't go too cheap here...the cucumber is such a soft flavor that a really astringent, cheap, Russian vodka will ruin it. You don't need to go to the Grey Goose level, but a good mid-range one is a better choice. I think I used Platinum vodka for mine
3 cucumbers
- peeled and sliced (I kept the seeds in mine, but I've read other recipes that took the seeds out. I was happy with how mine turned out, so will probably continue to keep the seeds in the next batch)

What To Do
This one is really simple. Just mix the peeled and sliced cucumbers with the vodka and let sit for three weeks. Then strain out the cucumbers using a mesh strainer.

Put in a bottle and keep chilled for a hot summer day!

I premiered this vodka on the 4th of July out on our newly built patio. It was a huge hit!

Drink Ideas

Cucumber Vodka Spritzer
This is how I enjoy this vodka the most because you can really taste the cucumber without interference of other strong flavors.

Mix one jigger of the cucumber vodka with some ice and muddled mint leaves. Then add in a half a can of club soda. Simple and delicious!

Cucumber Vodka Collins
This one is good, but the lemon flavor masks the flavor of the cucumber a bit. Some people at the patio party preferred this one, and others preferred the spritzer.

Mix one jigger of cucumber vodka with a pony of lemon juice and a squirt of agave nectar in a shaker with ice. Serve over ice and add half a can of club soda.

When life gives you lemons (or limes), make limecello!

This is actually my second batch of limecello, but I'm obviously not good at posting on my blog. I have several other infusions that need to be posted too. Since I hurt my foot hiking, guess I have the time to catch up!

So, I'm starting a batch of limecello for summer 2011. Yes, it's mid-July and therefore really late to start this batch. But it's been one of the coldest springs/summers on record, so my fun, summer drink motivation has been minimal.

But, the sun is out, so here we go!

25 limes (the thicker the skin, the better because it's easier to get the rind and not the pith)
1 jug (1.5 liters) vodka (no need to buy the really nice stuff, but I try to get a cheap to medium quality vodka)
2 cups sugar
2 cups water

What to do

1. Peel all of the limes with a vegetable peeler. Try really hard to get just the rind (the green part) and not the pith (the white part). The pith is bitter, so you want to minimize the amount of pith. Also, I juice all of the limes when I'm done peeling off the rind and use the juice for other drinks/recipes. Don't waste good lime juice!

2. Pour jug of vodka over your lime rinds.

3. Let vodka and lime rinds sit for 6 weeks. Stir once a week. I know 6 weeks can be a painful wait, but it really makes a better limecello if you let it infuse that long.

4. After six weeks, strain the lime rinds out of the vodka. I use a mesh strainer with cheese cloth on it. This helps ensure the minimal amount of little bits getting through, and therefore a clearer liquid.

5. Make a simple syrup by dissolving the 2 cups of sugar in the 2 cups of water. Just bring the water to a boil, stir in the sugar until it dissolves, and then let it cool. Some people like their lime/limoncello sweeter so if that's you just increase to 3 or 4 cups suger and 3 or 4 cups water. But I like mine with a little tartness, so I keep it down at 2/2.

6. Pour the cooled simple syrup into the lime infused vodka.

7. Let the limecello mixture sit for another 10-14 days.

8. Chill and drink! I keep mine in the freezer. It can be sipped straight, or mixed with club soda and mint, or some other fun concoction. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Spiced Vodka for Autumn Libations

The air is crisp and the clouds and drizzly rain have rolled in. Nothing sounds more appealing than a cup of hot apple cider with a shot of spiced vodka thrown in. So, here it goes:

Start with 750 mL of vodka
Day 1: Add a stick of cinnamon. Let it infuse for 10 days
Day 10: Add 3 split nutmegs. Infuse for 3 more days
Day 28: Ok, at day 13 I was planning to add the cloves and allspice, but totally spaced it. Sooo, the nutmeg and cinnamon infused for 2 extra weeks. Was very nutmeggy (in a good way) at this point, but I wanted more of a multi-spice flavor. I added a fresh cinnamon stick, 20 cloves and 5 whole allspice. Infuse for 2 days
Day 30: Filter out all spices using cheese cloth. Mix with apple cider, warm up, and enjoy! Its absolutely delicious!!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Summer Fun

It's hot. It's hot in Seattle. It's hot in Seattle and what better to cool off the soul than some yummy yummy new vodkas!?!

So, earlier this summer when we were just starting to warm up I started infusing some lighter vodkas that would be good to mix with a little club soda and a spritz of lime or some crushed mint leaves...mmmm.

I actually may need to go fix myself a little drink before carrying on with this post....

Ok, that's better.

So, to start the summer out I made 2 delicious libations...lavender vodka and blueberry vodka. I'll start with the blueberry. Becca had got us started on blueberry vodka spritzers last summer and man, those go down like water. So, I gave it a go:
  • ~ 1 Liter vodka
  • 12 oz fresh blueberries
  • 3/4 fresh squeezed lemon
Mash the blueberries into a lovely purple, pulpy mess, pour in the vodka and squeeze in the lemon juice (this helps keep the color).

Then I let this sit for a week and strained out the berries. This turned out to be a bit of a pain in the butt because it's sooooo pulpy. I've used coffee filters for other straining, but had to run the blueberry stuff through a regular mesh strainer 3 times to get out the big hunks and then through cheese cloth because it just wouldn't go through the coffee filter.

The final color is absolutely gorgeous as you can see in the photo below. The favor was good, but the blueberry flavor wasn't quite as strong as I'd like. I also just infused some raspberries into grappa for Nicole and it wasn't that strong either. I'm thinking maybe I should dry heating up the berries before infusing them into the vodka so the flavor will be stronger. That'll be the next experiment!

This blueberry vodka is best served with some club soda and a spritz of lime or mint. Light and refreshing and perfect when heat-pocolypse strikes and we have the hottest day ever in Seattle :-)

The same day, I also took my first stab at lavender infused vodka. Mmmmmmmmm. This was amazing. So good! And I think it can even get better.

This one is so simple and takes the least amount of time out of all the infusions I've done so far.
  • ~1 Liter of vodka
  • 1/4 cup of lavender

We infused it for 30 minutes. Everything I read said that infusing it much longer will ruin it. We used cheap vodka for this and because the lavender is so subtle you could definitely taste the vodka more. I think we'll probably go 45 minutes to an hour next time and use a higher quality vodka so its not so astringent. But, event though it was a little...alcoholy, it was still absolutely delicious. A nice herby flavor, which was a pleasant break from the more typical fruity drinks of the summer.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Early Infusions - Limoncello batch #1 & Candy Cane Vodka

Limoncello Batch #1

So, like I said I started my first batch of limoncello in the winter of 2008. It did not get done in time for Christmas presents or holiday parties, but it was finished in time for the 2009 legislative session, so it still served its purpose.

I lost the sheet of paper with the original recipe on it, but this is basically what it involved:

  • Peel 20 lemons and mix those lemon peels with a big ol' jug of cheap russian vodka** (1.75 Liters) in a glass jar.
  • Let the lemon peels and vodka sit for 45 days stirring every couple of days
  • On day 45, remove the lemon peels from the vodka and strain out and particles. Then make a simple syrup consisting of 4 cups of sugar in 4 cups of boiling water. Let the syrup cool and mix it in with the lemon vodka.
  • Let the lemon vodka sit with the simple syrup for another 45 days.
  • The limoncello is ready! Put it into glass bottles or other containers. Mix it with seltzer water for a limoncello spritzer, or store in the freezer and sip the liquor straight on a nice, warm, summer day. We actually saved the lemon juice from the 20 lemons we used for the peels and made them into ice cubes, which we mix in with our limoncello spritzers.
So that was it; that was the first batch. It wasn't bad, but wasn't great. Honestly I was glad I hadn't given it away as Christmas presents as it was too sweet and the flavor was off a bit. We have been sipping this batch down for about 6 months now and are almost out. Next batch will have a much smaller amount of simple syrup...we'll see what happens!

**Note: throughout this blog, I will almost always use vodka for my limoncello. I have red that stronger grain alcohols, like Everclear are recommended. However, thanks to the rules and regulations of the Washington Liquor Control Board you cannot get Everclear in Washington State. So until I can make it over the border to Idaho, vodka will have to do.

Candy Cane Vodka

Despite the fact that I didn't finish the limoncello in time for Christmas presents, I didn't want to completely disappoint my friends, so I made a batch of candy cane vodka. While this infusion is very VERY sticky, it was delicious and festive and fun to make.

How to do it:
  • Mix 750 mL of cheap Russian vodka with 1 package of candy canes (unwrapped please).
  • Let it sit and the candy canes will dissolve.
  • When candy canes are completely dissolved (about an hour), the infusion is ready to drink! The vodka is neither red or white like the two characteristic colors of a candy cane. Rather it is a bright pink.
I'm sure you can think of several drinks to make with this, but what we did was one shot of candy cane vodka mixed with 2 shots of Godiva Chocolate Liquor in a martini shaker with ice. Shake it and pour into a martini glass. Fabulous holiday drink.

At another holiday party the same year, my step-sister, Dena, had heard of my delicious concoction and so we made another batch (same recipe). However, this time we mixed it with creme de cacao (white chocolate flavor) and some half and half cream. This tasted even better than the Godiva Chocolate liquor and the nice creamy pinkish-white color was more appetizing than the sticky brown. Delicious holiday treats.

NOTE: do not garnish the chocolate candy cane martini with a cute little candy cane...the cute little candy cane will start to dissolve and quickly ends up being an icky sticky nightmare.

The Beginnings of Infusion Confusion

In the Spring of 2001 I ventured to the lovely seaside town of Sorrento in Italy. Truly one of the most beautiful places I've visited. And that is where I first tasted the sweet nectar called 'limoncello'. A sweet lemon liquor that when sipped on the balcony overlooking the Gulf of Naples makes you experience true bliss. Ok, I was 21...I didn't exactly sip it, but you get the general idea. It was sweet and syrupy but crisp and refreshing. I was in love. In love with Italy, in love with limoncello, in love with seeing the world. Ahhh, good times.

After 3 glorious weeks traveling around Italy, I returned to London and then later returned to the good old USA. But still, memories of that delicious elixir popped into my mind from time to time and I would start to salivate. Wishing to re-capture my Italian experience, I started searching for limoncello here in the States. What I found was either too expensive or it tasted like lemonade mixed with rubbing alcohol. Not exactly reminiscent of my Mediterannean memories. Then I met someone who on a whim had decided to make his own limoncello. And thus an idea and a hobby was born.

However, I procrastinated.

And procrastinated.

Then, last summer Becca introduced me to the glorious cocktail that is a mixture of blueberry vodka, club soda and lime juice. Mmmmmmm. However, blueberry vodka is not the cheapest liquor and it's pretty easy to kick it back. So, I started thinking why not make the darn stuff myself with nice, cheap Russian vodka.

But again, I procrastinated.

Then, something clicked. Something changed. Something made me get off my duff and pick up this hobby I had been thinking about for a couple of years now. And what was this 'something' you ask???

I was broke.

I was broke and it was Christmas and I wanted to make something fun and different for my friends and family. What better gift than homemade limoncello? How awesome is that? So I started reading and researching and then I started my first batch of limoncello.

One slight issue. Do any of you know how long it takes to make limoncello? Not exactly something that infuses overnight (like some of my later libations). So it was not in the stars to give homemade limoncello as Christmas presents, but at least I got started. Expect some yummy sippings come this December though! I've finally got my act together.

And thus began infusion confusion in Seattle.