24 September 2014

Autumn Apple Cider Gin Cocktail

Seasonal and fabulous! Buy the freshest apple cider possible at your local apple orchard!

1 part Beefeater or Hendricks Gin
3 parts Fresh apple cider
1 dash Angostura bitters per glass
Slices of Apples for garnish

Fill a rocks glass with ice. Stir in all ingredients and add an apple slice for garnish!

posted from Bloggeroid

18 September 2014

Apple Cranberry Conserve

My absolute favorite preserving recipes are small batch, quick prep, simple ingredients, great flavor and versatile. Am I asking too much?
Last month at my Preserving Class we hit all the above listed points with the Apple Cranberry Conserve! I served the conserve with a double creme cheese, but since have loved it with grilled chicken, added it as a layer to a pumpkin quick bread and served it as an ice cream topper....

Something to keep in mind; because of the short cooking and processing times, I thought the flavor was better after sitting for a week or so. I just did a rough chop so the cranberries were not chopped and the apples were chopped the same size as cranberries. You could chop a bit smaller for a softer texture in a shorter amount of time.


2 ¼ cups diced apples (I used a combination of Ginger Gold and Paula Red)
¼ cup water
½ cup dried cranberries
2 Tbs lemon juice
1 package pectin (Powdered for a firmer texture, liquid pectin for a softer set)
2 ¾ cups sugar
¼ cup chopped walnuts

Combine apples, water and dried cranberries in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and add sugar. Return to a full boil and add liquid pectin and boil 1 minute without stirring. Remove from heat and stir in nuts. Fill jars, wipe rims, attach lids and rings and process in hot water bath for 5 minutes. Allow to sit at room temp for 24 hours undisturbed.

11 September 2014

Making Shrub

As an "alcoholic beverage retailer" I get tons of publications with all the newest trends in cocktails, which is fun and frustrating. Fun because I always have new ideas from folks at the top of the industry, frustrating because we live in a small rural town in the midwest and "trends" are not the easiest to come by. Occasionally I concoct my own spin on cocktails if I can't find exactly what I need....hence the "shrub" recipe.

In all honesty I wasn't exactly sure what to expect, but if it's made with vinegar, I'm usually game. The shrub is an old non-alcoholic beverage and you can read it's history all over the internet with a simple search. (I'm sorry, I hate to just repeat what someone else has said better before me :))

I had a quart of fresh strawberries needing to be used and lemons galore, so that's how I ended up with this recipe. I was a bit hesitant about strawberries as I don't usually care for strawberry flavored anything as it's SO sweet, but the shrub can really use the sweet to counter balance it's tartness. The recipe filled a wine bottle about 3/4 full so maybe yield is about 3 cups-ish.

Strawberry Lemon Shrub
2 fresh lemons, juiced
1 quart strawberries, hulled and cut in half
1 cup Champagne Vinegar (Champagne vinegar is a MUST or any delicate wine or rice vinegar. Do not use apple cider or white vinegar)
1 cup sugar

Combine strawberries, vinegar and lemon juice in a glass container. Stir and leave at room temperature for 48 hours. Add sugar, stir and allow to sit stirring or shaking occasionally up to 4 days.
Strain berries from juice using a jelly bag or cheesecloth and refrigerate before serving.

(This was the only photo I took and it's super tacky, but you'll get the point of what it should look like and the color is stunning!)

I served the shrub at my Preserving Class with Prosecco wine, a fruity, dry sparkling wine from Italy. You could also use and "Brut" sparkling wine. I would be hesitant to use any sweet sparkling wine. While the shrub is tart from the vinegar, it's still sooooo sweet in the layers of flavors. I also thought club soda was fantastic for a refreshing brunch drink! There are many cocktail recipes online, using shrubs in them. This keeps about a month in the fridge.

I think I'd like to try a pear/ginger shrub for the fall! Let me know what you try out and what your thoughts were on flavor combinations!!

09 September 2014

Chicken Liver Pate for the freezer

Chicken Liver Pate

1 lb chicken livers
4 slices bacon
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp each fresh thyme, rosemary
2 Tbs butter
1 tsp salt
1 tsp French spice blend (quatre epices)
5 Tbs bourbon

Saute bacon until crispy, drain on paper towel. Fry chicken livers until cooked through about 8 minutes adding garlic halfway through cooking. Combine spices, bacon, livers and remainder of ingredients in food processor and process until smooth. Add an additional tablespoon or so of butter if the mixture seems too dry.

I use the Quatre Epices quite often in pates, meatloaf and other savory meat dishes that need a little interesting flavor. Here is a basic recipe, but I did add a 1/8 teaspoon of allspice to mine as well.

1 tablespoon white pepper
Rounded 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg

If freezing, I always put a thin layer of olive oil to protect the top from freezer burn. Enjoy!