Another day off, and another day that I wanted to spend catching up on a good read, hanging out with a good friend, or simply staring into the sky. Not to be had. At its end, the day ended up to be quite rewarding, albeit taxing, along the way! There was so much basil in the yard and garden plot that it was almost overwhelming. Half the day was spent catching up, over breakfast, with my boyfriend, who is as equally dedicated as I am in this gardening-cooking-preserving journey. We planned our day, gulped a couple of cups of coffee, and set out to make the most of it, despite the fact that we really wanted to just put in a movie and zone out!
An abundance of basil at the garden plot…about double the amount awaited us at the house.
You can apply this blog post’s concept at almost any level: cut and harvest at the peak of freshness and flavor, and m-a-x-i-m-i-z-e. Right after clipping, we headed to Whole Foods and picked up the necessary ingredients for pesto: olive oil and Parmigiano-Reggiano (both shredded and powdered). We already had plenty of parsley, sea salt, and pepper at the house, so we were set.
What a great Saturday! Today was the first day, in a long line of days, when I actually had energy and a positive spin. I (successfully) had gum-jaw-alignment surgery about a week and a half ago. That first week was completely a blur, although I do remember the “meals” that I ate. My periodontist ordered me to stay away from all things spicy, acidic, and extreme in temperature. Once all of my dietary modifications were made, I was relegated to enjoy multiple meals of mashed potatoes, pureed chicken noodle soup, and Greek yogurt. (I did sneak in some homemade brownies that I pureed with some ice cream; that absolutely turned around my frame of mind!) I could safely conclude that one truly never knows how deeply connected they are to the flavors, textures, and aromas of the foods they enjoy, until they are forbidden from eating those foods.
I happened upon a great sale at Vitamin Cottage this afternoon and had to purchase the fresh, organic strawberries that caught my eye. Optimally, I would make a journey out to Berry Patch Farms in Brighton, Colorado, to hand-pick some berries, but the journey seemed too far today. This hot weather we have experienced here lately kept me close to home. If you do live in Colorado, and you have a morning’s worth of berry picking in you, a trip to Berry Patch Farms is a treat. Not only do they open their farm to you, to hand-pick herbs, fruits, and veggies, but they also offer “pre-picked” varieties. Although this farm is kid-friendly, I opt to venture out on the quieter days designated as “kid free.” Here is today’s finished product – what a fun experiment!
Quick strawberry jam…
This recipe yields about 32 ounces of delicious jam,
and it keeps in your refrigerator up to ten days. I used eight four-ounce jam jars for this recipe.
A little time has passed, since my last entry, which showcased our upcoming infused vodkas and the iced tea recipe. I enjoyed a lovely five days, frolicking in the Sonoma and Napa wine regions of California. That has been the only thing on my mind’s forefront the past few days… Back to the routine and reality: One of our newest libations, the Bacon Bloody Mary has fallen upon parched, Colorado lips and has been requested, by name, on multiple Sundays. Mad props out to Savory Spice Shop for providing the dried spices found along the rim of this requisite Sunday concoction. These spices are complemented by finely ground, dried herbs from my garden.
At Coohills…Bacon Bloody Mary, made with house-infused bacon vodka, garnished with cornichon, olive, onion, bacon, and lime wedge. Spiced and peppered rim made especially by the Savory Spice Shop in Denver, Colorado
The infusions developed quite perfectly. To infuse vodka with bacon, it only takes about a week, in order to fully infuse the vodka with bacon intensity. As far as infusing vodka with jalapeño peppers, it only takes a day or two; be sure to taste along the way, for different peppers vary with intensity.
The close-up of our much-talked-about Bacon Bloody Mary, the brunch cocktail of the summer! Photographed, along the Platte River Trail, in Lower Downtown Denver…
We are about two weeks along in our process, creating house-made bitters. This is my first endeavor, making bitters; we started with five bottles, filled with bitter substances: apple rinds, orange peel, lemon peel, coriander seeds, and lavender seeds. My partner-in-crime, Dave Glasscock, well-accustomed to bitters-crafting, assisted me with this arduous process. We added Everlcear to each container, and we are waiting, as each bitter component integrates with the alcohol. We will create a cuveé, or house-blend, that combines bits from each of the five flavors, hopefully achieving a balanced bitters blend. This blend can then be added to Manhattans, Old Fashioned cocktails, or any drink that needs a dash of bitterness.
Our house-made bitters beginnings…apple, orange, lemon, coriander, and lavender. Each of these bottles contains Everclear, infused with a bitter ingredient. We’ll see what unfolds!
I have enjoyed an amazing day off this Tuesday! I met up with a good friend at one of Denver’s newest culinary additions, the Kitchen. The sun beckoned us out to the patio, but the move was a bit premature. As we shivered through lunch, we caught up, laughed, and kept the cocktails coming. To avoid sounding like a spoiled food critic, I’ll keep my description of the restaurant succinct, but I must say that the mussels were a stand-out, as was the bruschetta, topped with burrata, anchovies, and watercress. An Americano with cream gave me the necessary jittery fuel for the next steps in my day.