Drinks

The lemon drop

Posted in Drinks on August 20th, 2011 by admin – 1 Comment

There is a series of videos out there that Andrew found – Andrew found and I watch when he does since my ancient desktop does the computer equivalent of hiding in a corner and crying when I ask it to do anything media related – called My Drunk Kitchen. (The videos are not work safe but did I really need to tell you that?) She seems to have gotten quite popular, and with good reason. My first reaction to the videos though was, ‘That’s totally me! If I got drunk while cooking, recorded it and put it on the internet anyway…’

Maybe not, but there’s definitely something in there that I identify with and as my tribute I’m writing about tonight while it’s still tonight – although by now I think I’ve regained enough coherency that this won’t read any differently than any other middle of the night forcing myself to finish a post before bed (and then back-posting the date since while it’s 2am on a Sunday, it’s still Saturday in my head.) [Note, some coherency was added to that very sentence by proofreading and editing.]

Let me go back to the beginning, when it was still Saturday and even daytime. First I’ve caught a mild cold, which is just enough to be a good excuse not to do things I don’t want to, like go to a party of one Andrew’s friends where I won’t know anyone and will feel awkward, but not sick enough to keep me from doing things that I do want to do, like going to set up tattoo consultations with my friend, having dinner afterwards at a cafe, and then deciding that since Andrew’s was going to be out at the party we should get some ice cream, alcohol, and watch movies. (Blame that massive run-on sentence on the alcohol.) I’ve only been married 1.97534246 years but I’m pretty sure that’s the kind of thing you’re supposed to do while the husband’s out for the evening.

So we went to Safeway and got some cheap wine (Selina’s choice), some less cheap wine, and lemons to make lemon drops. To illustrate how cheap cheap wine is, while picking out lemons I realized I just needed one more to spend more on lemons than the cheap wine. We also got some So Delicious coconut milk ice cream, since she’s not eating dairy and I like to experiment. For the record, I think I could actually live with coconut milk ice cream as a replacement if I couldn’t do dairy, and that’s the first non-dairy dairy replacement product I’ve been able to say that about.

I considered being true to the video and making it from memory but I did sneak back and check the recipe. I am not in any claiming this is the best or proper way to make a lemon drop, knowing practically nothing about mixed drinks, it was just the easiest one to bring up on my phone while at the store and didn’t require anything that wasn’t already in my kitchen or able to buy there.

Ingredients:

Actually the ingredients didn’t show right away because I have noscript enabled but I guessed correctly equal vodka and lemon juice. Without looking I would have missed the extra sugar in the glass.

Directions:

  • Add sugar to the rim of an old-fashioned glass

I actually read right over the “old-fashioned glass” part because I was thinking how nice it was that they didn’t tell me what kind of glass I had to use. Since we only own wine glasses and regular drinking glasses, anything I want to look fancy (alcoholic or not) goes in a wine glass.

It doesn’t say here but I read on another page I brought up on my phone while looking up recipes that you rub the lemon on the rim of the glass and then dip it in sugar to make it stick.

So if anyone wonders why there’s a slight lemon taste to our sugar bowl… never mind, I’m the only one who uses that sugar anyway.

  • and drop a cube or packet of sugar into the bottom of the glass

Doing this part second definitely makes more sense than doing it first and then remembering to sugar the rim. And I wasn’t even drinking yet as an excuse.

  • Pour vodka and lemon juice into a stainless steel shaker over ice, and shake until completely cold. Pour into the prepared old-fashioned glass, and serve.

What I actually did – first squeezed some amount of lemon juice (two lemons).

A measuring cup told me it was 1/3 cup so I added the same amount of vodka to the measuring cup.

Then I got fancy and dug out our… not-so-fancy plastic shaker, which came with a bubble tea making kit. Note to everyone – don’t buy cheap bubble tea making kits. It was horrible, but Andrew wanted to keep the shaker because it might be useful someday. You’d think we’d go buy a nice metal one when we were ready for that kind of thing but turns out he was right about being useful someday.

Pour into sugar-rimmed glass. Yes the sugar’s uneven, but come on, it’s my first time!

That’s the cheap wine on the left

Our makeshift coffee table:

I can tell that I don’t drink often because my first thought was, “that’s some weird tasting lemonade!” However the lemon drop is “my” drink, if I get to claim one, because it was my first. My 21st birthday was on a Tuesday, and what interesting happens on a Tuesday? Especially when you’ve just turned 21 and don’t even know how yet to find out if anything interesting happens on a Tuesday. Selina and I wandered Capitol Hill and ended up in the Broadway Grill where I ordered their Broadway Lemon Drop (which looking back seems to be any other lemon drop with their name tacked on, but at the time it was something special, sugar rimmed glass and all.)

Now before I edit the publishing time to make it look like this was written on a Saturday night like it technically is, hit the publish button and go to bed, I’m going to end with my favorite quote from My Drunk Kitchen which I would totally make the motto for this site if I wasn’t blatantly stealing it:

“When cooking it’s important to remember… use food.”

“I feel strange…” Flavor-tripping party and strawberry lemonaid

Posted in Drinks on March 20th, 2011 by admin – 1 Comment

For Andrew’s birthday today he hosted a flavor-tripping party, a party based around eating miracle fruit (ours came from tablets found on thinkgeek.com instead of the fresh berry) and eating strange foods. The miracle fruit temporarily changes your tastebuds to make sour and bitter taste sweet.

One of my contributions to the party was sparkling strawberry lemonaid, one batch made normal and one without any sugar.

Ingredients:

  • 6 lemons
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups simple syrup
  • 1 (16 ounce) container strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 1 quart sparkling water
  • ice cubes
  • mint for garnish

It was actually the mint garnish that made this recipe stand out, since with the AeroGarden now we have an excess of mint to use up, as well as getting to play with the immersion blender. However, I had to go out of my way to make sure we had ice in the freezer.

Directions:

  • Roll the lemons back and forth a couple of times on the counter to release the juices. Cut the lemons in half juice into a bowl. Remove any seeds that may have fallen into the juice. You should get about 1 cup of lemon juice.

For last year’s Pi Party I made some lime tarts. Squeezing a lime by hand isn’t a big deal, or two or three, but after a whole bag of limes I don’t know why it hadn’t occurred to me to first buy one of these nifty little items that are in most people’s kitchens, the juicer. I was in serious pain the next day. Today my arm was a just a little tired after going through the whole bag.

I was working at my desk to leave kitchen space for Andrew’s pre-party preperations.

  • Using an immersion blender or regular blender, blend the strawberries with the 1/2 cup of the simple syrup, until smooth.

Immersion blenders are fun!

  • Pour lemon juice, strawberry puree, 1/2 cup simple syrup and sparkling water into a pitcher. Add more simple syrup if you want a little more sweetness

I blended directly in the pitcher so no extra pouring. Immersion blenders are fun!

  • Place more ice cubes in a glass, pour in chilled lemonade, garnish with mint sprig. Enjoy!

Oops, no ice.

I’m going to admit that picture was staged with leftovers after the party. Too many people and chaos for posing and garnishing and taking pictures during. You can’t tell from the picture if it’s sweetened or not, or even actually a mix of the remains of the two revived with a bit more club soda.


Now my experience with the actual miracle fruit:

First it made the unsweetened lemonade taste like the normal version. It was a good test of when it was wearing off.

Grapefruit was the winner overall. Bitter white grapefruit tasted sweet and perfect. I would eat grapefruit every day if it tasted like this.

I didn’t try the lime myself but Andrew said it tasted like limeade.

Lemon was actually ruined for me – I love sour food and I’ll eat lemons plain, so the miracle fruit made it taste like bad artificially sweetened lemonade.

Kiwi fruit, radishes, bleu cheese, none of these changed in taste for me except for slightly less bite on the radish. Andrew said similar about the cheese.

Guinness, Andrew had read, was supposed to come out tasting like liquid chocolate cake so that was a disappointment. It came out tasting not necessarily bad but not something I’d want to drink intentionally. Same reaction to coffee concentrate.

Salt and vinegar chips turned into salt and something-that’s-not-vinegar-and-doesn’t-belong-on-chips.

Tabasco sauce was a bad experience – I had mistakenly thought it also took away the hotness. I had to eat more cupcakes to make up for it.

Sour cupcakes, cupcakes explicitly made for miracle fruit, were the most interesting because while under its influence they tasted like regular cupcakes and without it tasted like someone had accidentally messed up the recipe and left out something important.

While they weren’t the most amazing cupcakes ever even with the miracle fruit, I felt sorry for the couple leftovers and popped one of the tablets to eat another cupcake while we were cleaning up. There was still something quite pleasant about them, especially the frosting, which I haven’t been able to place that makes me we want to keep eating them.

I guess a lot of the reactions were a ‘can’t quite place this’ feeling. What do you call vinegar that doesn’t taste like vinegar, drunk out of a wine glass? The tastes change but the smells don’t.

Strangely people said the miracle fruit made my (real, sugared) brownies come out bland instead of sweeter. The raspberry brownies, they said, they only tasted like raspberry and not chocolate.

Near the end of the party I started feeling strange in a way that makes my Alice In Wonderland stickers feel appropriate. My mind was anticipating a sugar crash but I hadn’t actually consumed that much sugar! I just hope I didn’t eat anything today that I’m going to regret tomorrow.

Spiced Hot Cocoa

Posted in Drinks on November 22nd, 2010 by admin – 1 Comment

To commemorate Seattle’s first snow of the season I had to make the snow’s first hot chocolate. Specifically this is Spiced Hot Cocoa, and I know there is a difference between hot chocolate and hot cocoa but I think people (or at least I) stick with the term they grew up with. For me it was Swiss Miss style hot chocolate in those packets, sometimes with the mini marshmallows that melt into white foam before you get to drink it.

I actually found this recipe because I was looking for more uses for the absurd amount of nutmeg I accidentally found myself with last year. (Have you ever bought something you thought you needed, not realizing you already had two days before?) I was always happy with those hot chocolate packets, weirdly preferred them over the “fancier” coffee shop variety, until I made my first stove-top hot chocolate.. er.. cocoa. Suddenly I could see my future self making warm drinks for the family while we watched the snow on days like today, and I haven’t looked back to instant since.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

This cuts in half a little awkwardly but recommended if you’re not actually serving a family. Or I’ve noticed it reheats well if you just want to stock up for the next day as well.

In a saucepan, combine cocoa, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Blend in hot water. Bring to a boil over medium heat; boil, stirring for 2 minutes.

This is pretty forgiving… I’ve walked away and come back to it boiling without ruining anything. Not that I should be admitting to these things…

Add milk; stir and heat thoroughly, but do not boil. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Beat until foamy.

I have this nifty milk frother which serves no purpose except to sit on my counter and look fancy, and occasionally froth a cup of hot cocoa.


Here “the perfect cup” doesn’t need to be of tea.