Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Cocktail Hour

Good Morning Friends; I hope you had a lovely weekend.  Here in the U.S., we had an extra day added to our weekend in honor of Memorial Day.  At first, Brian and I thought we would do something adventurous, but we ended up staying close to home, enjoying our yard and being domestic.  I baked a rhubarb pie, and I also tried out a special "new" drink recipe.  A few weeks ago, I was spending a nice girl's weekend in Portland and I had the opportunity to try a Gimlet; a cocktail that has, for some reason, become less popular in modern day.  It was delicious, and I set about doing some research so that I could re-create it at home. A Gimlet is made with equal parts Gin and lime cordial, shaken with ice and served either in a Martini glass, or in a rock glass over more ice.  At first, I didn't know what lime cordial was, and I used Rose's lime juice that I bought in the grocery.  That was satisfying enough, but of course I had to do a little research into the lime cordial part. I found this article, written by Toby Cecchini in the FOOD section of the New York Times.  Toby is a great writer, and I found his whole article entertaining and informative.  After reading his statement, "Rose's Lime Cordial is to limes as Spam is to steak," I was completely inspired to try my hand at a homemade cordial.  It was a lot of work, but I can say with confidence that it was worth it!  I went with Toby's recipe for a raw cordial using no water, but there are others out there.

18 limes, zested and juiced*
1 lb of fresh ginger root, whirred in a food processor, or grated
1 1/2 cups sugar.

*I recommend that you use organic limes.  Citrus peel is known to concentrate pesticides, and that would spoil an otherwise wonderful concoction, don't you think? 
Step 1: zest or thinly peel all 18 limes, reserving the peels in a non-reactive bowl (ceramic or glass).  I used a vegetable peeler, and it worked handily.  While you're working, be sure to stop on occasion and breathe deeply.  Your house begins to smell divine! Bruise the peels with a wooden spoon to bring out the oils.

 Step 2: Cut your limes in half, and juice them using a citrus reemer.  Don't worry about the pulp.

Step 3: Add the sugar to the juice, stirring to dissolve, and then add the juice to the peel.

This is what 1 lb of ginger looks like.

Step 4:  Finely chop, grate, or whir together in a food processor 1 pound of fresh ginger root.  There's no need to peel the ginger.  Everything gets strained later on. Add the ginger to the peel/juice mixture.  Cover, refrigerate and let stand 12-24 hours.

Strained cordial and cocktail shaker
Step 5: After the 24 hour soak, Strain the mix, reserving the liquid and composting the peels.  This recipe yields 1 generous liter of cordial.  I used cheesecloth, but you could use a sieve or something else.  Let your cordial "cure" in the refrigerator for a day or two before consuming; it really does improve after the flavors have mingled and gotten to understand each other for a little while.

To make a Gimlet, I really recommend using Bombay Gin.  It is more expensive, but in my opinion, the flavor is better.  Not that less expensive gin tastes bad, the flavor is just not as specific.  Plus, the Bombay bottle is stunning!  Most recipes call for equal parts gin and cordial, but my preference is 1TB of Gin, and 2TB cordial.  Add the gin and cordial to a cocktail shaker with about 4 cubes of ice.  Wrap the shaker with a dish towel and shake that mix until you are sick of shaking.  Strain into a martini glass (or into a rock glass over more ice) and sip while feeling glamorous.  The flavor is sublime; a rich combination of earthy-ness (from the ginger), brightness from the limes, and hints of rosemary from the gin. These are especially wonderful on a hot day with good friends.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Resting and Creating

My Dear Friends, I hope you're still out there!  I have been taking a lot of time away from my blog; not because I don't have lots to write about, but because I haven't had much energy to write.  I've spent the past few weeks concentrating on things of core importance to me; mainly my emotional well being after Bronwyn's death.  I'm starting to feel stronger (feeling "better" doesn't really seem correct), and I have spent some nice time in the studio cutting and sewing, and also in the garden.  It is spring here, and it feels good to go outside. 


Recently I got a nice order from one of the boutiques that regularly sells my work.  It's Bella Boutique, and they can be found in Anchorage Alaska.  Here is the stack of wallets in progress, and one of them as it looks finished.  I made extra of each print because I find that it's more efficient to make multiples; especially when I'm already working on a production of many.

Thank-You for being patient with my journey; I appreciate everyone's support.  In closing I am showing you a picture of a special project that I've started working on; it's a memorial garden for Bronwyn.  Right now, it's quite spare, but over time it will grow and change, just like my feelings for her.  The wreath was made by our neighbor and friend, who gathered lichens from her yard.  Bronwyn used to spend a lot of time underneath the oak tree in her yard, so it was especially meaningful.

I hope everyone has a happy and Safe Memorial Day Weekend.