Monday, August 8, 2011

Weekends in the Kitchen

My new Boston life is much more relaxed than my old NYC life. It feels like I have more free time. (I think not having to work summer Saturdays helps a ton!) So, a rainy Sunday and an abundance of rosemary inspired a barkeep afternoon in the kitchen. which is significantly more roomier.. I've been wanting to make herbal simple syrups for some time- something to jazz up club soda or to give a cocktail even more flavor.

The rosemary simple syrup is just too easy to screw up. Yet, I research and research proportions, afraid it will come out terrible! And it turned out delicious and refreshing, and easy. The simple turned a lovely green color. I may try adding more rosemary next time for a more intense flavor.

As I write this, I'm enjoying it with club soda. It's a tad too sweet for my liking, so will adjust my proportions accordingly. This would make an elegant nonalcoholic drink for your next cook out- perhaps mixed into lemonade, topped with club soda! (And spike it with vodka for your imbibing guests!) I think it could also work with gin! I love exclamation points!

Here's what I did:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary

    Combine all three into a small pot and simmer until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain simple syrup into a clean jar and enjoy it!

Up next, brandied cherries. I can't leave the supermarket without buying a bag of cherries! Hands down, one of my favorite fruits. I'm a Manhattan drinker, and inspired by my drink the other night, I decided I would make my own brandied cherries. I poked around at a few recipes and nearly followed this Brandied Cocktail Cherries.

My word of advice- if you plan on removing cherry pits, invest in a cherry pitter. Oh my. I found that using a cake tester from C&B and moving it around the pit and massaging it out worked, but it took forever.

Here's what I did.
  • 1 pound of cherries, stemmed and pitted while watching a National Geographic documentary about solitary confinement.
  • Combined 1/2 cup organic sugar, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg, a sprinkle of cinnamon (as I didn't have a cinnamon stick), and a shake of salt into a medium sauce pan. Simmered until sugar dissolved. (It was starting to smell like Christmas!)
  • Added the cherries and the brandy to the syrup and simmered for about 2 minutes stirring the entire time. (Why did I do this? Not sure- maybe to cook down some of the sugars, but I don't think 2 minutes is enough of time.)
  • Poured cherries into jars and covered with syrup.
  • Cool to room tempertaure and then into the fridge!

Stay tuned for their appearance in a cocktail!

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