Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cherry Bounce, Part I

Cherry Bounce. Have you ever heard of it? I hadn't, until I fell over a copy of the Yankee Cookbook, 1939 (1963). It's a cherry cordial, and dates back a bit...

You take 6 pounds of cherries, two fifths of whiskey or rum, and (after stemming the cherries), snuggle them up together in a gallon crock.

They mess around for three weeks.

Then you strain off the clear liqueur and...that would be telling.

I'm part-way into the "three week" period. The gallon crock sits on my pastry slab, in the kitchen, and at least every other day I find myself lifting its lid and taking a deep, appreciative sniff of its contents.

Sugar and distilled water figure largely in the end product. It's not an inexpensive experiment, but--cherry cordial!--and a recipe possibly centuries old...I could not resist trying it.

With luck, I will end up with at least three fifths of cordial, some happy gift recipients, and divine cordial for me, my husband, and our guests!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Almost a Cocktail: Aviation Sorbet

It's been hot. Sultry. Summer, in fact, and a lot of the food I've been consuming (and making) reflects that.

Late last week I was about to make a Lemon Daiquiri sorbet, courtesy of the recipe in the Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book (Workman Publishing, 1987), when I realized that we didn't have any rum in the house.

We DO, however, always have gin, Creme de Violette, and Maraschino liqueur. What would you do? I decided to adapt the recipe to one of my favorite cocktails, and so the Aviation Sorbet was born.

Aviation Sorbet (Adapted from the cookbook above, as stated.)

Juice of 3 large lemons
Zest of one large lemon
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup simple syrup (I used Clementine simple syrup, by-product of candied Clementine rind)
2 1/2 cups cold water
1 tbl. gin
2 tsp. Creme de Violette
1.5 tsp. Maraschino liqueur
3 drops each of red and blue food coloring

Mix everything except food coloring together until sugar is dissolved. It will be a bit grayish in color--the yellow of the lemon juice will dull the Creme de Violette's color. Add food coloring if desired.

Chill for at least four hours. I prefer a velvety texture without the zest; if you do, too, strain and remove the zest. Freeze according to the instructions with your ice cream maker, OR pour into a chilled shallow tray and every half hour for two hours, scrape up the crystals that form. (The granita will have a different texture but will taste just as good.)

Allow the mixture to "ripen" in the freezer, as right out of the ice cream maker it will still be somewhat liquid.

Serve two scoops per person, garnished, if you like. I used sugared pansies.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Toy Lamb

Orphan lamb, waiting to go to her new home!

She doesn't stand very easily, though drinking straws in the center of the leg stuffing would fix that.

Taking a well-deserved rest!
At long last...I sewed her together. It took quite a while--four hours, at a guess--but she's worth it. This is another one I don't want to let go!

She's going to the daughter of friends I met while swing dancing--haven't seen them since their wedding, which my husband and I attended. One of the baby's grandmothers has some sheep, so I thought this little critter would be appropriate.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summer Collage

A Deco Cleopatra for a Chifferobe event.

Sheep-shearing at the Coggeshall Farms Fiber Festival.

Candied rose and mint petals.

More candied petals...

Bouquet for the opening reception for Suite Tart in Providence. All flowers from my gardens.

Meet Ruby (after Ruby Keeler); she's a 1937 Plymouth.

One of my newest roses. This is a David Austin rose: Gentle Hermione.

Lady Emma Hamilton.

Foxgloves and day lilies, now in the front garden.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Maraschino Cherries (Revisited?)

I made these for the first time last year, and let me tell you, they bear absolutely no resemblance to the nasty plastic things that are found in supermarket jars (thank goodness).

It's possible that I posted the recipe last year--likely, even--but making it for the second time I've got some details to add.

Maraschino Cocktail Cherries Makes (3) 6 oz. jars

1 lb. pitted sour cherries [or (1) 24 oz. jar canned]
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. water, or, liquid from jar
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 cinnamon stick
2 strips of lemon zest
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1 c. Maraschino liqueur
1/2 tsp. each vanilla and almond extracts

Combine all ingredients but cherries, liqueur, and extracts; bring to a rolling boil. Turn heat to medium and add the cherries. Simmer for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove pot from heat and add liqueur and extracts. Discard cinnamon and lemon zest (I composted them).

Fill jars about 4/5 full of cherries; pour in liquid, leaving a generous 1/2" headspace. The cherries will expand during the processing--if you don't leave enough space, you will have to take out some of the contents and re-process the jars!

Process for 10 minutes in a hot water bath. Leave jars undisturbed for at least 12 hours. Remove screw lids, wash and dry jars and lids. Put lids back on and tighten. Add labels.

If you used canned cherries you'll have extra juice & maybe extra liquid from making these. I combined all of this with some simple syrup and boiled it down to make sour cherries syrup. Boiled, it amounted to just about one cup. If you add a teaspoon or so of vodka, it can be kept, in a tightly closed jar, at room temperature. Use it for sodas, cocktails, or anything that takes your fancy.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Better Late Than Never: Bridal Headpiece

I know it's been a while! However, (thanks to my husband, who found a working cord) I've just been able to upload camera photos.

This headpiece was made as a wedding present for a friend of mine. I designed it to coordinate with her gown, and she chose the shape.

It's entirely hand-beaded, and lined inside and out with white velvet. The beads are pearl, crystal, and rhinestone. It's fastened in with combs.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Rose Petal Birthday Cake

Here's the birthday cake, AKA "Rose Petal Cake".

It's a whipped cream cake from the 1948 edition of The Joy of Cooking. No butter, the egg whites are folded into the whipped cream, and then the dry ingredients are very slowly folded into that. I flavored it with rose extract and rose water.

The icing is uncooked icing--sifted powdered sugar worked into butter flavored with rose water. I added a few specks of red jell coloring. The rose petals are from Knock Out roses I planted three years ago.

It's quite easy to make sugared rose petals. I used powdered gum arabic and rosewater to paint them, and let them dry overnight.

The cake was baked in a ring pan, and I put the fresh roses in at the last moment.

(Happy Belated Birthday to me: that's one great thing about baking your own birthday cakes--you get just what you want!)