Saturday, April 23, 2011

Fruit Infused Vodka

Fruit Infused Vodka
I lack of post over the past two weeks is unacceptable. But if you had the amount of work I did then you're about ready for a cocktail as well...No thats not food coloring I put in those glasses. It's real fruit color and flavor infused into plain vodka over a number of days. I had seen several chefs on the Food Network make flavor infused vodkas with ingredients such as cucumber, jalapeño and even candy. I wanted to infuse vodka with flavors that were a little more pleasing to my palate, namely, raspberry-mint infused vodka and pineapple-lemon infused vodka. Both of these are super fruity and flavorful and mix well with a lot of juices for optimal cocktail inventing :) 

1 bottle of triple distilled vodka divided in half
6 tablespoons sugar
3 cups pineapple, diced
1 lemon, sliced
1 pint raspberries
1 large handful of mint leaves (about half a cup)

When dividing the vodka, pour half into a large tupperware and the other half into another large tupperware. You need to use something with a large opening on top to place the fruit and herbs. Place the pineapple and lemon into one container and place the raspberries and mint into another container and seal with the lid. Set aside somewhere cool for one week. Midway through the week open each container and stir the ingredients and add three tablespoons on sugar into each container. Seal and wait until the end of the week. 

After the vodkas have been sitting with the fruit and herbs for one week they are thoroughly infused with the flavor. The pineapple lemon vodka should be a pale yellow color and the raspberry mint vodka should be a bright pink. Both infusions should be extremely fragrant. Separately, run the contents of each tupperware through a strainer to separate the fruit from the vodka and make sure the vodka goes into another clean container. Then using a funnel lined with a coffee filter, pour the vodka into a bottle. The coffee strainer ensures that only vodka makes it into the bottle without any tiny fruit particles. You should have two transparent liquids. Mix with club soda, juice or blend with ice for a refreshing spring cocktail. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Carrot Ginger Soup

Carrot Ginger Soup
with Curried Sour Cream
I love soup and carrot ginger soup is one that I had wanted to tackle for quite some time. I researched several recipes online but never found one that I liked enough. I came up with this recipe entirely on my own and I must say that it is the absolute perfect consistency. With absolutely no cream added, this soup is creamy and smooth and healthy! With the cool garnish of curried sour cream to give it a bite and chopped scallions for more onion flavor. Aside from being super tasty, this soup is incredibly cheap to buy all of the ingredients for and requires less than fifteen minutes of active cooking time! Its the perfect starter dish for a dinner party because of its brilliant orange color and gourmet appeal or it's the ideal healthy lunch. Lets get started...

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
3 cups diced carrots
3 cups chicken stock
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon curry powder

This soup honestly couldn't be easier to prepare. Heat a large pot on medium-high heat and place the teaspoon of oil in the pot. Dice the large onion and place in the pot and allow to sauté until translucent, about five to seven minutes.  During this time, peel and chop the carrots into inch long cylinders. Drop the carrots into the pot and allow to cook with the onions for several minutes. Add the chicken stock to the pot and allow to simmer for thirty to forty minutes until the carrots are tender. Feel free to use vegetable stock if you are cooking for vegetarians. After about thirty minutes, grate and add the tablespoon of ginger as well as the salt. Allow to cook for several more minutes.

Once the carrots are sufficiently tender. Use an emersion blender to puree the soup until silky smooth.  If you don't own an emersion blender you can puree the soup in batches using a blender.  In a small bowl combine the sour cream and curry powder for a fresh compliment to the soup. Ladle the warm pureed mixture into bowls and top with a dollop of curried sour cream. Serve immediately and enjoy!