,,One of the delights of life is eating with friends, second to that is talking about eating.
And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends. ,,
-Laurie Colwin

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Playing with vodka

If you live in Estonia you have to know vodka in all the possible ways :) And here is my way of playing with vodka.
To make flavored vodka is easy and doesn't require special equipment or special tools. You need moderate or high quality vodka as base for your flavored vodka recipe.To get started, choose the flavor you want to make. There are so many flavors and flavor combinations you can use when you're making this vodka. I think everything that's edible can be used to flavor vodka. The choices of fruits (lemon, lime, mango, raspberry… etc.), vegetables (ginger, horseradish, cucumber, coffee, etc.), herbs (mint, dill, basil, lavender... etc.) and spices (cardamon, cumin, fennel, juniper berry, vanilla ...etc.) are only some of the flavors sample that can be used for infusion. The key to get the best flavor is to use fresh ingredients, not frozen or canned varieties. If use fresh fruit with a lot of volume you will need a sealable container were marinate will happens. Today I use only spices so I don't need to change the vodka from its bottles.
The proportion of ingredients to vodka will vary according to the type of ingredients you choose (fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, etc.), the flavor of the ingredients and the intensity you want to achieve with your flavored vodka.
To make flavored vodka in a sealable container or directly in the original bottles, cover the ingredients you use with vodka. Cover the container tightly and store it in a cool, dark, dry place. Shake the container or bottles gently every couple of days.
Most infusions take from 7-10 days; some are ready overnight, and others (such as almonds) take up to 3 months. It depends on the potency of the ingredients and how strong you want the flavor. The only way to know if the infusion is ready is to taste it periodically. The final step is straining the infused vodka into clean bottles through a strainer. The infused vodka taste better after aging in a cool dark place.
Infused vodka makes a nice gift, especially when you reveal that the infusion is homemade, and don’t forget to label them!
Today, for a special request, I infuse the vodka in three different ways. One is with juniper berry, one is with fennel seeds, cumin seeds and fresh dill, and the last one with just fresh chili.
Here is some different way I use this infuse vodka.
Here I made different flavored vodka jelly shots were I mix one part of infused vodka with one part fruit puree or flavored cold water and gelatin (21gr for 1 liter of liquid). Too much alcohol overpowers the shooter. You can use it as vodka jelly shot for your party or get more creative. For this vodka jelly you need to allow more time than usual for the jelly to set, because of the alcohol in it.

Here I turned this jelly into something very delicious. The mix jelly vodka I cubed it and I covered it with a sweet condensed milk jelly. This is a very interesting twist; it looks pretty and would make people take a second look. I got this idea from a very nice blog call "The Food Librarian".
I made four different colorful jelly were I used  for each one 200ml vodka, 200ml flavored water or fruit puree and 10 gr of gelatin. Leave to set in a fridge for couples of hours. After it was set I cubed half of the jelly and mix them in a cake tray.
I covered the half of jelly cubed mix with a condensed milk jelly made from: 1.2 liter of sweet condensed milk mix with 1 liter milk and 50 gr gelatin dissolved in 50 ml water. Next I cubed the rest of vodka jelly and added on top. Chill in the fridge for 2-3 hours.
Serve sliced in big block pieces.
Please eat responsibly :)
Enjoy. Pin It Now!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Miso soup

I love this Japanese soup – salty broth with the miso flavor, tofu and uncooked vegetables. Miso soup is served with nearly every meal in Japan, including breakfast. It is very simple and quick to make, nutritious and low in calories.In Japan the people who are known for living long, healthy lives, over 100 years old, drink miso soup every morning. The characteristic that defines miso soup is that the miso paste is mix with a fish stock called Dashi. All the other ingredients are added depending on personal preference.
Miso is a thick paste made from fermenting and ageing(10 months to a year for miso to be ready) soybean and/or rice.The ratio for miso and water is 1 tablespoon of miso paste per 250ml of water and is enough for 1 serving. The most important thing about making miso soup is that you never boil the miso paste because boiling it will kill the enzymes. Only add miso after you’ve turned off the heat. If you are using anything that needs a little cooking time, just do that before you add the miso paste.
Dashi is Japanese style fish or vegetables stock, which is the base of many Japanese dishes, such as soup or dipping sauce. It can be made from dried small sardines or dried bonito for fish stock and kombu (dried kelp) or dried shitake mushroom for a vegetables version. In this recipe I use instant fish Dashi. If you don't have Dashi, you could use some fish or chicken stock. Here is my version of this lovely soup.
For 4 serves.
- 1l of water.
- 4 Tbsp red miso paste.
- 2 teaspoons instant dashi.
- dash of soya sauce.
- 200g tofu cubed.
- 50g sprouts.
- 20g coriander.
- 4 shitake mushroom sliced - I use from conserve.
- 100g daikon( white radish),tiny slice.
- 1 red chili pepper slice.
- 2 pack choy salad sliced in half.
Pour the water into a pot and bring to a boil. Add the instant dashi and soya sauce and whisk to dissolve then turn the heat off. Place the miso paste in a small bowl and add 2-3 Tbsp of the hot water to the miso and whisk thoroughly, to a smooth paste. Then whisk the miso mixture back into the pot, and stir well.
In the individuals bowls and add tofu, mushrooms, sprouts, coriander,daikon radish, pock choy and red chili. Ladle hot broth into a bowl over vegetables and whisk with chopsticks to mix.
Top with fresh coriander and serve immediately.
Enjoy. Pin It Now!

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