Drink the Harvest! Apple and Pear Infused Vodka

This had been the year of fruit infused vodka for my husband – ever since he read a post about it early in the summer on a blog called Punk Domestics He has made strawberry, raspberry, and peach flavors so far. The process really brings out the essence of the fruit.

20111031-135945.jpg

It has been so cool to use organic local fruit from nearby orchards for this process, and to change the fruits with the seasons.

20111031-135815.jpg

20111031-135828.jpg

The process is quite simple. Just stuff a bunch of fruit into a jar and cover it with vodka (lately we’ve been using Tito’s Handmade Vodka for the value, but we first made it with Prairie Organic Vodka, after out Minnesota relatives visited, and that honestly tasted smoother) then agitate it twice a day for two weeks. To agitate, you turn the bottles upside down and then upright ten times. Then strain it through a cheesecloth and funnel it back into a bottle.

20111031-135849.jpg

I know that pineapple infused vodka has been popular lately. Let me know if anyone tries any other off-the-wall flavors – like peppers or cucumbers!

Oysters, Because It’s a Special Occasion

Yesterday was my husband’s birthday and I completely forgot.

First I made him take a boring walk around the neighborhood with me and the baby instead of letting him go on a scenic hike when he got home from work early.

Then I pooh-poohed what he wanted to make for supper. “Do you think we can grill a plantain? Then we could eat it with the grilled sea bass and some black beans.”

“Blech!”

“You might like it!”

“I might like it but I’m not really in the mood for it.” (I’m not really in the mood for it – on his birthday!!!)

Then he offered me oysters and I said, “No!” As in, Ew, how could you even suggest that!

He said, “But it’s a special occasion! We have to celebrate.”

And I said, “Celebrate what? That you bought oysters again?”

“No, today is a special day. Don’t you know what it is?”

I tried to get my sluggish, stuck with baby twenty-four hours a day on very little sleep, don’t even know the date, brain to work. Our anniversary!? No, I know it’s not May yet. Just when the light bulb was about to go off he says, “Today is my birthday.”

Oh, I felt so bad. I buried my face in his chest for a while. He took it well though.

Then he made this fancy concoction for dinner:

Grilled sea bass (his own recipe, with stuff like chiles, minced tomato, onion, and cilantro, lime, etc), a tostada with vegetarian beans (for me) and queso fresco, a mango-cucumber salad, and a grilled plantain that didn’t turn out very well.

And then I shared this awesome birthday video with him:

In conclusion, I’m a lucky, lucky gal.

Whoopie Pies!

Homemade Whoopie Pies

I said I’d post about the Whoopie Pies that my husband made for a dinner party the other day, so here they are! Basically, we were invited to someone’s house for dinner the day before and asked to bring dessert for six people. I suggested making another pumpkin pie, as that takes five minutes of prep, or picking up a dessert at a bakery on the way. Tim had recently bought an America’s Test Kitchen magazine: Best-Ever Recipes, and we noticed a Whoopie Pie recipe that night. It was decided, we must make Whoopie Pies for the dinner party.

The only problem was that the magazine’s recipe called for a marshmallow filling (Ew!) instead of mascarpone, which is what made us fall in love with Whoopie Pies in the first place. So Tim called the Marcyk Fine Foods in Denver, where we originally became addicted to these treats,  and they actually gave him their recipe! He then typed it up and printed it out – what a cutie – so now it is a permanent part of our recipe collection. I don’t think it would be right to post their recipe online, but I know you can Google and find Whoopie Pie recipes in abundance. Just keep in mind that a mascarpone filling is much more sophisticated and delicious than marshmallow (it’s what makes desserts like Tiramisu so good.)

In true form, Tim waited until the next day to make them and we were baking them up until the minute we left for dinner. The filling was too soft to pile high enough between the cakes; next time we’ll start earlier and chill the filling first. Also, our cakes came out tougher and drier on the outside than Marcyk’s, so we’ll have to work on that. All in all, it was a success!

Man, my hubby rocks! (Now I just have to get him to make the appetizer for the Christmas party this  Friday. I was enlisted with a bunch of “wives” to bring one, but I have no idea what to make.)