Coffee Liqueur

I love homemade coffee liqueur, but for some reason I haven’t been doing much infusing lately so it’s taken me a while to get around to trying it. I’m getting some yummy raw cream in a couple weeks, so now seemed like the perfect time to make something tasty to enjoy it with. I had initially thought about using clear liquor for it, but then it occurred to me that the caramel-y notes of the rum I had in the pantry might go really well with the coffee I have (I prefer beans from Central and South America, so that’s what I used here). Make sure you’re using good beans here! Just like using wine in cooking, you want something you enjoy the flavor of as that flavor is going to carry over to the finished product. The number of recipes I saw online that encouraged people to opt for cheap grounds made me cringe! Some recipes added vanilla and lots of spices, but I want to try just the straight coffee infusion this time around and see how the flavor of these delicious coffee beans comes through. I just put it up today, so I’ll be checking it every few days and we’ll see how it turned out! As with other infusions, I’ll make a simple syrup (sugar and water, I add a pinch of salt too) to add to it to sweeten it up a bit after it’s infused.

Update: I strained it after 4 days and it was perfect. Snuck a little bit of coconut cream from my dinner (trying my hand at haw mok pla using the leaves from my banana trees, along with one of my favorite things–lime rice!) and had a pre-dinner cocktail that was really delicious but also made it incredibly hard to concentrate on cooking. Mmm.

Coffee Liqueur

2 cups dark rum (not spiced)
1 cup whole coffee beans, coarsely chopped
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
pinch salt

-Combine rum and coffee in a container with a sealing lid (I always use glass or other nonreactive containers, just in case).
-Let sit until the coffee flavor is as strong as you would like it (I’m guessing  2-3 weeks).
-Strain the infusion and set aside.
-Combine water, sugar, and salt in a pot. Stir and heat until the sugar and salt dissolve completely.
-Add the simple syrup to the infusion.
-I like to drink it with some cream or half and half (or even just milk).

Kumquat Marmalade, Part 2

A little while back I shared my recipe for maple kumquat marmalade. We Floridians are rolling in fresh citrus this time of year, so my friends who gifted me the kumquats for that marmalade gifted me another gallon bag of them in exchange for using my canning pot. These kumquats were perfectly ripe and so tasty, and when you get citrus like that the best thing to do is make sure you are bringing out all those great flavors (instead of masking them behind other ingredients). Making this was such a fun experience: few things in the world beat taking the time to slow down and experience a perfectly fresh ingredient while it’s being prepared (my whole house smelled like fresh citrus, it was delightful). Adding fresh bay leaves to my citrus preserves is my new favorite way to bring in some exciting flavor elements that are subtle enough to let the main ingredient(s) shine. I canned 3 jars of this stuff this morning, so I’ll have plenty to last me once our citrus trees are done fruiting.

Simple Kumquat Marmalade
1 gallon (I’m guessing it was ~2-3 lbs worth) fresh kumquats
1/2 tsp sea salt
3/4 – 1 c sugar (depending on your tastes)
2 fresh bay leaves
1 c water

-Slice the kumquats in to little rounds, taking care to remove the seeds as you go.
-Place the sliced fruit in a nonreactive bowl and add half the sugar. Toss to coat the kumquats evenly.
-Let sit overnight to remove some of the bitterness from the fruit and start the preserving process.
-The next day, add the kumquats, the rest of the sugar, bay leaves, salt, and water to a pot and simmer until the water is absorbed (it will still be chunky, you just don’t want it to be soupy).
-Place in to canning jars and process in a hot water bath (or just keep it in the fridge).

Preserves Galore

I’ve had all sorts of exciting things going on lately (new research projects, travel, what have you) so I’ve been grossly neglecting my food blog. I’m planning on posting some new goodies soon, but until then, here are two of the recipes I’ve been using this month as I’ve been preserving my excess produce. I just put the rest of my garden in a few weeks ago (it takes up half the yard!), I’m getting ready to plant horseradish crowns (which should be shipping soon), and my fruit trees all seem to be producing, so I should have plenty of preserving to do as the summer progresses!

Ginger beer: This stuff is so good. I drink it with or without rum, but I’ll go through the giant batch I made in about a week or two.

Sauerkraut in a jar: I love this because I can play with the batch size depending on what size jars and cabbage heads I get, and because it doesn’t make my whole kitchen smell. I might be doing a cooking demo at an Occupy event this month, and if I do, I’m planning on sharing this recipe! Remember to take the cabbage leaf off before you gift it or can it, or you might get some doubtful stares from the recipients.

There are some other things I’ve been making that I don’t use recipes for. Fresh cheese, for example. Just heat milk, add acid (I live in Florida, so the most fresh tasting option is lemon juice), stir, and strain. I’ve been experimenting with rennet-based cheeses too (that’s been hit or miss, but I’ll get there).
Bread is another thing I don’t often use recipes for. If I’m trying a new technique I might look at one, but for the most part I know how I want my dough to feel.

I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of blogging again, but until then, I’ll try to post recipes from elsewhere on the web that inspire me!

Goodies from the Sidebar

I’ve been a little behind on blogging lately thanks to school and other fun stuff. Here are the things from my side bar from last month!

Added to the Pantry: February

6 pints sauerkraut
1 pint buttermilk
1/2 c butter
1 c garlic and shallot scape pesto
6 herbed burger buns
4 beet veggie burgers
3 pints preserved tangerines

Independence Days Challenge: February

Plant Something: 3 kinds of tomatoes, Montpelier green beans, assorted peppers, cucumber, pumpkin, okra, potatoes, Jacob’s cattle beans, asparagus, artichoke, basil, watermelon, Landreth stringless beans, lots of herbs and flowers.

Harvest Something: 1 lb garlic and shallot scapes, 3 lbs braising greens, 1 lb lettuce, 2 lbs baby rainbow chard, 1 lb radishes.

Preserve something: Grated frozen hash browns, chicken stock, 6 jars sauerkraut, 3 jars preserved tangerines.

Waste Not: Using scraps to make stocks, sauces, and juice; composting unusable scraps, repurposed metal scrap from behind the house to make a trellis.

Want Not: Bought bulk goods, purchased some milk and meat direct from local farmers, prepared yogurt, butter, and buttermilk from local milk.

Eat the Food: Using only a hand basket at the grocery store to avoid over-buying; trying at least one new veggie-based recipe a week. Buying only local, bone-in meat to use bones for stock, buying fish that’s lower on the food chain and mostly from the Gulf Coast (about an hour or two away).

Build Community Food Systems: Sharing extra veggies with friends and neighbors, and eventually with local food banks/Occupy, or selling to local farm stands. Sharing preserved goods with neighbors.

Skill Up: Garden layout! I drew inspiration from Shaker gardening techniques and dug trenches between every two rows of veggies to keep things organized and keep my feet from compacting the soil. Also learning about how to prevent tomato blight organically using baking soda, milk, etc.