Archive | August, 2014

Chive Butter

22 Aug

Earlier this year Nick built me a planter so I could grow some herbs – it was going well until recently when my thyme, chives, parsley and oregano absolutely exploded.

I didn’t know what to do with all of my flavorful greens… I started drying some and putting them in mason jars, cooked with some, and threw some in olive oil (foreshadowing for another post coming soon!). While the thyme, parsley, and oregano dehydrated well, I knew that the chives wouldn’t do too hot just drying. I had to figure out what to do with my pounds and pounds of chives!

IMG_2575

In the main office at work we have a large poster of Paula Deen. Every day for the last few months those blue eyes just pierced my soul… it was like she was trying to communicate with me. And then, finally, it happened. Paula quietly whispered “butter” in my ear, and I knew what I was going to do.

I started by pulling a stick of butter out of the fridge before bed one night, to let it soften (cue major debate on whether or not you’re supposed to refrigerate butter… I do, get over it). Early the next morning, I cut about a handful of chives from the garden, and diced them finely – it turned into between ⅓ cup and ½ cup when chopped.

In a bowl, I combined the butter, the chives, and I added about 1/2 tsp of sea salt. I mixed well with a spoon, put into a tupperware container, and then instantly started putting it on everything! Spreading on toast, caramelizing onions, and our next step is to throw it on steak.

IMG_2577

Easy reading version:
1 stick butter, softened
~½ cup chopped chives
1/2 tsp sea salt

Combine! Put in a nice container and pop in the fridge.

IMG_2582

Limoncello

6 Aug

Although I had originally made this three different posts, it’s easier to read as one. Just remember: there are three distinct steps, each taking place at least a couple weeks from each other.

Long story short, you take the rinds off of lemons, steep in grain alcohol, add sugar, and drink. Sounds easy enough, right?

IMG_2401

STEP ONE:
What I used:
1 handle of grain alcohol (or the highest proof alcohol you can find)
25 lemons
a sharp knife or veggie peeler
a large container that you can close up tight (large tupperware works well)
recommended: citrus juicer

What I did:
Start by peeling all the lemons, being sure to get only the rind with no pith (so just yellow, with no white parts). Throw it in a giant tupperware container (or whatever you’ll be using), and pour in all of your alcohol.

Cover and put in a cool, dark place. Shake it up every once in a while, about once a week or so. The booze should sit in the tupperware for about 6 or 7 weeks – you’ll know it’s ready when the lemon peels get crispy and snap when you bend them.

IMG_0134-001

 

STEP TWO:
What I used:
The aforementioned grain alcohol with lemon peels
Funnel (or some type of funnel-y apparatus)
Coffee filters
Bottles
Water
Sugar

Only do this step when your liquid is now bright yellow and the rinds are brittle.

Start by making a simple syrup. For the amount and strength of alcohol we used, we’ll use 8 cups of water and 5 cups of sugar. Feel free to scale up or down if you prefer tart or super-sweet drinks, or if you use a different strength alcohol. You’ll definitely want to scale if you used a different volume of booze.

Heat 8 cups of water in large pot until boiling. Turn the heat off, add sugar, and stir until dissolved. Let rest until cool enough to handle.

As you’re waiting for the water to cool, take a minute and sanitize your bottles and funnel. We have a sanitation powder we mix with hot water that Nick uses in brewing, so I just used some of that. I didn’t know if our funnel could stand boiling water… but that’s always an option.

Pour the lemon mix into a large bowl through a colander to remove large lemon peels. Add sugar water and stir well until everything is fully combined. If your funnel has a filter, that’s great, but if not use a coffee filter in there and filter/funnel the booze into bottles. Some people like to filter it several times… but I am partially too lazy and partially too impatient for that. I find that one pass through the filter is enough for my inexperienced palate. Warning: this will take longer than expected so be ready to wait for a while! You may need to change/clean the filter out a few times during the process.

Once the bottles are full, throw them in the freezer!

IMG_2118 IMG_2116

 

STEP THREE

Assuming you followed steps one and two, you should be left with a couple bottles of stuff in your freezer. I’ve seen some sources that say you can drink it right away and others saying you should wait between 30 and 45 days for it to mellow and for the flavors to come together. I am personally of the belief that it is just sugar, water, alcohol, and lemon, so let’s not waste more months waiting around.
I’d say I waited about two weeks before I became too impatient and started drinking it. I’m going to try and wait another month before enjoying the rest… but we’ll see what happens. You can enjoy it alone, or make it into a mixed drink. Just watch out – even though it tastes like candy, it is super duper potent. Enjoy!

IMG_2379