First off, a follow up to my post two weeks ago, about the corn cookies I wanted to make from Lucky Peach magazine. I was on the hunt for freeze dried corn, and had just about thrown up my hands at the prospect of finding it in the Bangor area. Short of finding some end-of-the-world lunatic with a bunker full of non-perishable food, I assumed I was outta luck. But lo and behold — there it was at the Natural Living Center, whilst I shopped for tea and hot chocolate for my grandmother! I somehow missed it the last time I visited! Doh! I baked the cookies last Thursday, and they were fantastic, though perhaps more chewy and less crispy than I had imagined. They’re already gone, of course.
Now, for the important part: alcohol. Well, actually, more the preparation of fancy alcohol, and less the later consumption. OK. Who am I kidding. Both. Anyway, my husband and I, as a Christmas gift to friends, last week purchased and made a whole bunch of small mason jars of infused vodkas. Neither of us had tried this before, but I did get to go on Twenty2 Vodka’s Infusathon last August, so I did have a good sense of how it worked. We chose the flavors pear/vanilla, ginger/vanilla, Meyer lemon/clementine orange and cucumber/basil. Jarred them on Monday, with three of each variety. We filled each jar up about half way with the chopped up infusing elements. We used a veggie peeler to peel the lemons and clementines; we chopped the pear and the deseeded cucumber and tore the basil into chunks; we put about a two-inch piece of vanilla in the six jars that used it, and we diced as best we could the ginger. We let them sit for four days, shaking a few times a day. On Friday, we drained and rejarred. The verdict? They all came out really good — especially the pear vanilla and citrus. Except for the cucumber basil. It tasted like leftover salad that’s been sitting in the fridge a bit too long. I don’t know what we did wrong, but we didn’t give those ones out as gifts. Bummer. Everything else, however, seemed like a success! And for a homemade gift, it’s not super expensive, and is only time consuming at the outset — in fact, it’s kind of fun. And who doesn’t like alcohol as a gift?
Speaking of which, I’m working on a story for next week’s food page on New Year’s Eve cocktails. I’ve asked around to a number of bars and restaurants in Maine to help by contributing a drink recipe for the story — but if you have a suggestion, please do send it along, via comment on this story or an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Think classy, fun, even old-fashioned, as well as appropriate for winter.
And finally, yes, it’s that time again. Another episode of Food Coma TV has appeared, and for this one, Joe and co. went north. Way north. Fort Kent/Allagash north. It’s full of the requisite over-indulgence and gratuitous irresponsibility, along with some tasty looking Acadian food, some killer pub grub at the Long Lake Sporting Club, and lots of good-natured people from the St. John Valley. It’s also the last episode we’re going to see for a little bit, as the next season of Food Coma TV won’t start shooting until sometime next year. Keep your eyes peeled for announcements in the coming months!