Category: syrups & infusions

Honey, lemon & ginger “flu” tea.

Honey lemon ginger flu tea.

Just a few weeks ago, back in mid-January, I was very sick. Like, sick sick. Not hospital sick, but sick enough to where I ended up at the doctor twice in one week, was on two different antibiotics for a total of 2 weeks (one of which is an antibiotic they give anthrax exposed patients! Lovely!) and had to get a chest X-ray. It was wicked. Wicked gross… and it lingered for a wicked long time. I still have a little cough!

I didn’t make myself any spiced honey this season either. I’m an idiot. I made my parents two gigantic jars and neglected to make myself anything. However, I saw a quick and easy alternative on instagram and decided it wasn’t too late to make it. Hopefully I will not be sick again this season, but just in case…

Honey lemon ginger flu tea.

Honey, lemon and ginger go into a jar. It sits for a few days, then when you’re sick you just take two tablespoons of the liquid and pop it into a mug. Fill with 8-10 oz. of boiling water and drink! Ta-da. Immediate flu tea. Magic.

Twelve ounces of honey makes two 8-ounce jars. One lemon makes one small jar, too. And ginger stretches pretty far; you can use small thin slices. I recommend making a 16-ounce jar if you can, because it’s easier to work around. I decided to split mine into two separate jars.

And it’s the same thing as the spiced honey- you can use it to ward off the cold/flu or use it when you already have the cold/flu to ease (and shorten the duration of) symptoms.

Honey lemon ginger flu tea.

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Easy DIY gift: walnuts in syrup!

It’s officially Christmastime. Dudes. I have been hearing Christmas music for WEEKS now, and it’s finally acceptable to me to begin listening to it myself. I always have to wait until after Thanksgiving- that holiday deserves it’s due respect. But now it’s also time to think about what the hell I’m doing for people’s holiday gifts. But here’s an idea.

Anyway, over the summer, Jay & I took my mother out thrifting/antiquing and for her birthday lunch to a little old fashioned ice cream parlor called Itgen’s. That I know of, there are two such places near us; one is Hildebrandt’s (famous for being featured on the Food Network by Guy Fieri) and Itgen’s (which has been featured in Saveur). Both make their own ice cream, both have traditional old school fare. Both date back to a time we know refer to as “back in the day.”

And there’s another common thread. Both places serve an ice cream topping called walnuts in syrup.

Walnuts in syrup, aka wet walnuts.

These are also known as “wet walnuts” but I’m sorry, I giggle every time I say that. Perhaps I’m just juvenile. But I prefer to call them “walnuts in syrup.” It’s a traditional ice cream topping, sometimes referred to as “wet nuts.” Heh. See? Sorry. I can’t help it. Let’s just go with walnuts in syrup, k?

Anyway, walnuts in syrup are a great thing to make at home, without having to leave to go to an ice cream parlor- no matter how cute and fun that parlor may be. Also they make a great DIY gift… because even though they’re processed in a water bath, they’re INSANELY simple to make! Besides, because it isn’t a jam or jelly, you don’t have to worry about pectins or anything. You just cook it, ladle it into jars, pop the lids and bands on, and then process it. And you don’t even need any extra equipment! Take a peek at this post for a quick run-through of water bath canning (I swear it’s easy!).

Walnuts in syrup aka wet walnuts! A delicious sundae topping and DIY gift idea!

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Roasted pears with a whole bunch of good shit.

Maple brown sugar roasted pears with bourbon whipped cream!

Usually this time of year is filled with Halloween-themed posts. I don’t usually do many non-Halloween things, because I love Halloween and for the entire month of October my life is ruled by all things Hallows Eve. But this year, I found my inspiration lacking. I had a lot of other ideas- like that apple pie– and I wanted to do those. So pardon me for deviating from my norm. I promise you won’t be mad, though, cause these recipes are FIRE.

Yes, I did just say that. But how can you go wrong with maple & brown sugar ANYTHING??

Pears!

This all started when I bought a bunch of pears and had no clue what I was going to do wth them. I ended up making some small-batch jam (which you’ll see in a few weeks or so) and then I left the rest until they were getting mushy. I kept saying, “I’m gonna make a pear cake.” I swore up and down I was making a cake with them. I felt them every day, said to myself “Ugh, they’re getting too soft…” then laziness took over and I never did anything with them.

Peeling pears to roast with maple syrup & brown sugar.

Indy loves pears, and he had some major oral surgery, so I promised him one of the softest ones. But that left me with two more. So I said, “Self, we’re finally gonna do something with these pears!” I mean, I can’t let the fruit flies have them. And so I did this. Roasted pears. Maple & brown sugar roasted pears. With bourbon whipped cream. Made with a lil brown butter of course.

And the whipped cream, because I mean, why not? I love bourbon whipped cream.

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Bachelor’s jam.

Just when you think you’ve made almost every kind of jam there is, you find a new one. Or at least, thats my story anyway. I present to you today, “Bachelor’s jam”; one of the oldest kinds of fruit preservation there is. Yep. You read that correctly. One of the oldest. And might I add- the easiest.

Bachelor's jam, aka rumtopf. Fruit layered with sugar and soaked in alcohol.

In Germany, it’s known as rumtopf (rum pot). Perhaps you’ve heard of that. Let’s see what Wikipedia says:

Rumtopf (Danish: Romkrukke), which literally means rum pot, is a German and Danish dessert, traditionally eaten around Christmas.[1] Once a popular traditional dessert, Rumtopf has become rather unfashionable in recent years.[2]

A mixture of various kinds of fruit, high-strength rum, often Stroh’s, and sugar is filled into a large stoneware pot (the eponymous rum pot) and matured for several months until the fruit is very soft and completely saturated with rum. Suitable fruit includes berries, cherries, plums and apricots. Not all fruits are appropriate for Rumtopf, and the overproof rum should be of only 100-110 proof (50-55% alcohol by volume), which is not commonly available at retail in all regions, but can be prepared by blending more common commercially available 151 proof and 80 proof rums.[3][4][5]

Traditionally, the pot is set up in a cool and dark place in Spring, and different kinds of ripe fruit are added to it over the months as they come in season. The fruit is thereby preserved to be eaten in Winter, when the Rumtopf is matured.

Bachelor's jam, or rumtopf.

In France? It’s known as confiture de vieux garçon, or bachelor’s jam. And sometimes it’s even called “officer’s jam” (which is even better & more appropriate for us!). I happen to think that’s a far more intriguing name, so that’s what I’m going with.

In order to make this, there is little to no effort on your part. Seriously. If you can chop fruit, and you have both alcohol and sugar in your possession, then you can make this. No canning required. You don’t even need to add herbs or spices or fancy stuff; it’s fine on it’s own. And best part? NO COOKING. At ALL. Not even turning on a burner on the stove!

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Cherries in the snow- uh, syrup.

Cherries in a light almond-y syrup. #sweetpreservation

Remember that Revlon lipstick, Cherries in the Snow? I believe they still make it. I remember as a kid my mom wore it, and I loved the name. What a great name for a lipstick. It was one of their best sellers for many, many years by the time I came along. Anyway… I always think of that lipstick when I see cherries, so it was more than a great name, it was great marketing!

This post isn’t really about Revlon or makeup or anything related to it at all, actually. It is, however, about cherries. Sweet, perfect cherries from the Rainier Fruit Company. And of course, part 1 (part 1… yes, there will be more) of what I did with them!

Rainier Company cherries! #sweetpreservation

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Chive blossom vinegar with lemon.

Chive blossoms!

I’ve been making chive blossom vinegar for a few years now. It all started because my chive plant was turning into a chive bush; no joke. It was humongous. And it began blooming so much that my entire yard was covered in the blossoms that eventually dried and fell off the plant. The blooms carry seeds, obviously, and where they land, new chives can grow. I didn’t want a yard full of chives, needless to say, so I began cutting the chives with blooms off and sticking them in jars of water, like fresh flowers. Which was fine. But my kitchen always smelling like a baked potato when the temperature was high wasn’t ideal (even though they are pretty).

So I did some research and discovered all the things you can make/do with them! Turns out they’re 100% edible. They make a great garnish for soups and salads, and they also make a mean infused vinegar.

Chive blossom vinegar with lemon.

That chive plant was taken from me in a hurricane. The pot it was in blew over and the plant never recovered. However, I since replaced it and my new one is just as big as the other one was, so I’m still getting blossoms up the wazoo. So now I’m finding new ways of making that old standby: chive blossom vinegar.

This one is inspired by a post I found on the internet at My Humble Kitchen. The lemon slice makes it smell ah-may-zing, and I’m sure will add a brightness to the flavor.

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Bacon bourbon.

Bacon fat-infused Maker's Mark bourbon.

A couple of years ago, you wouldn’t have thought I’d be interested in doing much of anything with whiskeys or bourbons. Bacon… well, let’s be honest. Bacon is the ONE reason I couldn’t be 100% vegetarian. I have managed to keep most meat products out of my mouth most of the time. The two weaknesses I have? Chicken and bacon. I don’t know why. Maybe because they’re delicious.

Anyway, I have a lot of bourbon here to work with. You think you understand that statement but until you’ve seen a photo of the amount of bourbon Jay has, or seen it in person, you don’t really understand.

And the only one I really like? Maker’s Mark.

Bacon fat infused bourbon.

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