Category Archives: Celebrations

Infuse Your Booze

Lemongrass, ginger, coriander

You may disagree, but I’m just gonna say that the flavored spirits coming to the market are moving from the acceptable to the dubious. I mean, when I start seeing gummyfish-flavored vodka, I think it is time to say, “whoa, there.” That said, there are a number of offerings that I really enjoy and I admit to buying them regularly (Absolut’s Wild Tea is definitely one of them). These products also inspire me to make my own infused spirits. Over the last couple of years, I’ve made some very successful potables (sour cherry vodka, jalapeno tequila, fig vodka for the Fig Cocktail) and some not-so-successful versions (peach-infused bourbon – not enough sweet, too boozy).

The best part about making infused spirits is that it is easy—and it doesn’t take very long to taste the results. In fact, when I make the jalapeno tequila, I only infuse the booze for about 15 minutes, which is just enough to give it a low-level, underlying kick. Similarly, cucumber vodka only takes about a day to develop a nice, fresh cucumber flavor.

My friends and I have a monthly brunch club and this month’s theme is Southeast Asian. Since we all bright something to the brunch, and since brunch usually means cocktails, I decided to come up with a new infused spirit to celebrate our gathering. Given that it’s summer, I thought some of the fresher and brighter flavors that come from that region would be appropriate; may I present lemongrass, ginger, coriander vodka:

Infused Vodka

My hope is that, after a few days, this will be delicious enough to drink just over ice mixed with club soda, but I am also cooking up a cocktail in my head; stay tuned for another post with the results of this experiment. In the meantime, celebrate the weekend! Get yourself a nice big jar, a big bottle of booze, and head out to the market for some inspiration! Bear in mind that the longer you infuse, the stronger the flavor will be, and that any spirit containing perishable food (fruit, citrus peel, etc) should be kept in the refrigerator when not in use.

PS – here’s a little tip from me about working with lemongrass; the sound’s not great, but you get the point.

Food Enthusiast!

Sometimes, just when you feel like your day can’t get any worse, someone comes along to turn it around completely.  That happened to me last week at my local grocery store.  The woman behind me in the checkout line (who looked like the love child of Edith Head and Ina Garten) stood there kind of looking incredulous, so I immediately thought that I was doing something wrong – some breach of checkout etiquette.  Instead, I soon found out that she was actually just in awe of how tasty the yogurt she just ate was and asked me if I’d tried them (I have – they are the fat-free Chobani varities).  We had a brief coo-fest over the delicious and (presumably) healthy little cups before she glanced at the contents of my shopping basket and asked, “do you cook a lot?”  I told her that I cook pretty much every day.  Here’s how the conversation continued:

Edith Garten: You like to cook?
Me: I do.
EG: You like sun-dried tomatoes?
Me: I do.
EG: Well they sell a brand here that you’ve GOT to try.
Me: Oh, really?
EG: Dude, they’re off the chain!

She proceeded to tell me the brand and all the different applications in which she uses them and all I could think of while she was talking is, “this 40-something woman just called me ‘dude’ and told me, very sincerely, that sun-dried tomatoes are ‘off the chain.'” Of course, I couldn’t stop grinning.

I’m not exactly sure what pleased me so much about the situation, but it is surely a combination of her enthusiasm for food (and cooking), along with her awkward, but albeit very effective, manner of communicating her passion for food to me. Like I wouldn’t get it if she said it any differently. And maybe, in some way, she was right. I don’t really even like sun-dried tomatoes that much, but if someone tells me they’re off the chain, I am buyin’ ’em.

Happy 1st Anniversary!

Hey, everyone – today is the 1st anniversary of Shallots Web!  Well, technically, the blog was up and running a few days before this last year, but this was the date of the first real post.

Though I have not had a chance to post as much as I really want to (my pesky job seems to get in the way!), I want to say that I have enjoyed the past year so much.  Through this strange little electronic portal, I’ve managed to reconnect with some of my most far-flung friends, make some great new ones, and share the joy of food with everyone who has taken the time to stop by.  I am so very grateful for the priviledge to cook for my dearest friends (which includes my family) and to be able to share that priviledge to the world beyond mine.

Thanks to everyone who has stopped by, even for a quick look.  Thanks to any and all loyal readers.  And thanks so much to everyone who came to sit at the table with me over the past year.  From fish tacos to party ham (coming soon), I’ve appreciated every slice, every bite, and every sip.  Here’s to another year of the same!