diy, food & food-ish

Infused Vodkas

Infused spirits are always a hit.  This past Sunday I brought these homemade vodkas to a dinner party.  They were received well by the crowd!

infused-vodkas
coffee-infused vodka & peach-infused vodka

Why stop at coffee and peaches?  Check out some other great infusions.

herb-infused vodkas
herb-infused vodkas
infused vodkas
jalapeno-cumin, lemon grass-kaffir lime & cucumber-dill
fruit-infused vodkas
fruit-infused vodkas
food & food-ish

breakfast-inspired fabrics

Spoonflower is an amazing online fabric store based in North Carolina that custom prints anything you design onto premium cotton or upholstery fabric. You can also buy other people’s designs. Here is a selection of my favorite breakfast-inspired fabrics from the site.

breakfast fabric
A perfect breakfast by Scrummy
Flapjack stack
Flapjack stack by Pattysloniger
soft boiled egg
Egg and spoon stripe by Scrummy
donuts and coffee
Donuts and coffee by Jaydesign
breakfast food fabric
Retro kitchen by Leighr
Mod breakfast fabric
Mod breakfast by Cynthiafrenette
diy, food & food-ish

Strawberry Ginger Jam

strawberry ginger jam

Last night I made jam for the first time– strawberry ginger jam! I used strawberries that I hand picked from a farm on Long Island and fresh ginger.

Strawberry picking with Nicole at Lewin Farms, Long Island, NY
Strawberry picking with Nicole at Lewin Farms, Long Island, NY

freshly picked strawberries

strawberry close up

I’m hoping to use up all of the jam in the next week or two, so I didn’t go through the canning process. I used a basic recipe for strawberry jam and then added a few tablespoons of grated fresh ginger (during the boiling step) to the mix.  The ginger gives the jam a nice kick.

If you’d like to know the basic science behind preserving fruits, check out this How-to. I’ve selected a few sections from the instructional paper that I found particularly informative.

FOUR ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS

  1. Fruit  Fruit gives jams and jellies their characteristic flavor and furnishes at least part of the pectin and acid required for successful gels. Flavorful fruits are best for jellied products, because the fruit flavor is diluted by large proportions of sugar.
  2. Sweeteners  Sugar helps gel formation, serves as a preserving agent, contributes to the flavor of the jellied product, and has a firming effect on fruit.
  3. Pectin  Jelly or jam made with added pectin requires less cooking, provides a larger yield and has more natural fruit flavor. Using added pectin also reduces the need to test for doneness.
  4. Acid  Acid provides flavor and assists gel formation. Acid content varies among fruits and is higher in underripe fruits. Lemon juice and citric acid are commonly added to low-acid fruits. Some commercial fruit pectins contain acid.

TESTS FOR DONENESS
The trick to making jelly without added pectin is knowing when it is thick enough. Here are two simple tests to check for doneness.

  1. Spoon or sheet test. Dip a cool metal spoon in the boil- ing jelly mixture. Raise the spoon one foot above the kettle out of the steam and turn the spoon so the syrup runs off the side. If the syrup forms two drops that flow together and fall off the spoon as a sheet, the jelly is done.
  2. Refrigerator test. Remove jelly mixture from the heat during this test. Pour a small amount of boiling jelly on a cold plate, and place in the freezer for a few minutes. If the mixture gels, it should be done.
diy, food & food-ish

DIY Pineapple & Basil Gin

Gin infusions are great.  Gin infused with pineapple and basil– an instant hit.  The recipe is simple. Waiting patiently for the flavor to infuse is the hard part.

pineapple basil gin

I followed these basic instructions for infusing spirits.  As always, my measurements were approximate.  Basil has a stronger presence than pineapple, so I added the pineapple pieces first and only added the basil leaves on the last day of the infusion.  The pineapple sat for a total of four days and the basil sat for one day.  I then strained the infusion through a coffee filter to remove the pineapple and basil and transferred the infused gin (with the help of a funnel) to a reused maple syrup bottle.  It’s really that simple!