I recently restocked my syrups shelf in the fridge so I have found myself enjoying a variety of drinks. Blackberry Jalapeno Smash is one of the mocktails I have found myself making during the COVID isolation. There is not much I can do to defuse my anxiety. One trick that seems to work for me is to focus on cooking.
Eating well and drinking well has become an important part of my daily routine. On most days, it is a welcome distraction for me to focus on building memorable flavors on my plate or in my cup. Since I don’t imbibe alcohol, I have to be creative when it comes to crafting drinks. I am not a fan of mocktails that don’t have a depth of flavor. A drink, alcoholic or not, should not be a mere vessel for sugar into the bloodstream.
One thing I love about this drink is the range it has. The jalapeno syrup in this drink is layered with the pungent herbiness of the celery seeds and heat from the jalapeno. This adds a good balance to the fruitiness of the blackberry. The basil rounds out the delight without being overpowering.
If you are someone that likes your drinks smooth, it is possible to strain this before serving it. However, I find that layering the ice of the blackberry on the bottom provides a lovely filtration system. Of course, I just love how pretty the color transition looks in the glass.
I love a good 3-day weekend when everything slows down and people are relaxed. Labor day is different for me this year because it will also mark the beginning of a rather important school year. Get your glass of Peach Lavender Cordial ready. Let me tell you a story.
I love a good lemonade. In fact, lemonade is one of the things that constantly comes out of my kitchen. I am always making drinks and lemonade comes together so quickly. This Peach Thai Basil Lemonade came together in a pinch.
Believe it or not, this strawberry and rhubarb cordial almost never happened. The stories about rhubarb seem to come from nowhere. Like it does every year, one moment it is the end of winter and the moment, rhubarb was everywhere. As always, I seem to never grab it when I saw it until I didn’t see any rhubarb anymore. Then one day, just like that, I saw some rhubarb at the grocery store and remembered to but it.
Unless you have been living under a rock, you are probably familiar with the term polar vortex at this point. Thankfully, Boston had been cold but not especially bitter. We only bottomed out at -15F with wind chill on Thursday. Through the midst of it all, I just wanted a cup of hot chocolate, so I made myself a hot white chocolate.
For a while there I was without a water bottle. I had used the same glass bottle for a few years and not the top was faulty. I went from always having a bottle of water handy to constantly being thirsty. In my quest to find what will quench my thirst this winter, I made Blackberry Basil water
This winter, as I have stared focusing more on what I put in my body, water has become a priority. I replaced that faulty bottle with a slick black silicon bottle. It was cheap and beautiful so it felt right in the moment.
The thing though is that no matter how beautiful the bottle, I still feel like I am not drinking enough winter. Sometimes I catch myself just before I go to bed at night feeling parched and thirsty. I get out of bed for that one long gulp of water to see me through hibernation.
I think I need to become more deliberate about my hydration. The other day I made this flavored water. As you might know from the way I talk about food, I love to smell thing on their way to my mouth. This blackberry basil water is no different. The color is beautiful and the smell is divine. I was skeptical using blackberry in the middle of winter. But, I found that punnet that was shipped from Mexico so my conscience was assuaged enough to buy it.
Anyway, consider this a PSA for you to drink more water. Don’t let yourself be parched and wrinkled from dehydration.
Have you have discovered a fruit and then become obsessed with? That’s the story of my relationship with citron, aka Buddha’s hand. I had never seen it and suddenly it was everywhere last winter. One of the fascinating thing about citron is that it can be consumed like an orange because it has no juice. It is basically all zest and rind. Its limitation made it perfect for this Pineapple Citron syrup.
Citron has a zesty smell with floral overtones. It is the floral notes in its oil that I find most intoxicating when I cook with this lovely fruit. When I was thinking of how to balance the syrup, I decided to pair it with lemongrass. Lemongrass, as the name implies, has some of the same notes as lemon with grassiness. Smell is an important part of the experience of drinking. When I build my syrups, I am very conscious of the fact that there is a lot of sugar and sometimes limited palette for taste. By thinking about the nose, I can further enhance the experience of drinking.
The Pineapple Citron syrup is focused heavily on smell, but it also tastes smashingly good. I have always loved the way pineapple feels in the mouth. Chilling down that pineapple taste and then carbonating it makes a massive difference. That’s why for mixing the syrup, I chose crisp sparkling water.
One tip for making this syrup: The Pineapple Citron Syrup taste best when the pineapple is just about to rot. The whole and uncut pineapple is ready when you can smell it in the room and it starts to attract flies. Really! I usually buy a ripe pineapple from the store and just let it hangout in my house for a couple of weeks.
Cut off the crown of the pineapple. Wash the skin of the pineapple thoroughly then chop the pineapple into chunks. Cut the citron into pieces as well. Smash the lemongrass open with a rolling pin or dull edge of a knife.
Arrange the pineapple, citron, and lemongrass in a medium pot. Pour the sugar over the mix and add in 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Once it boils, reduce heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat.
Let the syrup cool down in the pot for about 30 minutes. Strain out the syrup. Don’t be afraid to press down on the pulp in the pot to get the juices flowing out.
To get that super clear syrup, I strain a second time through two layers of coffee filter.
Like so many Americans, I have only recently discovered the magic of turmeric. In the last few years, turmeric has become a recognized superfood in the Western world because of its anti-inflammatory powers. No wonder a milky brew made of turmeric is called Golden Milk. The Golden Turmeric Milk is one of the pleasures of winter.
I regularly make golden turmeric milk in the winter when it starts to snow. There is something about warming up with a creamy cup of turmeric spice cooked in coconut milk or almond milk. For the recipe below, I have used half almond milk and half coconut milk. The combination of milk makes it extravagant. You can choose to use any kind of milk that taste best to you.
One caveat I feel like I need to add before you try this recipe is the staining capability of turmeric. Turmeric stains everything. I won’t recommend cutting turmeric on white chopping. The yellow hue of the turmeric is stunning, but you don’t want to live with physical memories of golden turmeric milk. I recommend using glassware and metals when making this brew.
PS Don’t be tempted to omit the black pepper! You need a combination of turmeric and black pepper to get the anti-inflammatory effect. Or turmeric and ginger also work well together.
Turmeric is one of my favorite ingredients in the winter. It is a highly functional food that is anti-inflammatory. This milk is what I reach for on those days when I have shoveled too many inches of snow and I just need something soothing
Keyword: golden milk, golden turmeric milk, turmeric, turmeric milk
8ozLight Coconut Milk
In a dark-colored saucepan, bring the almond milk, coconut milk, chopped turmeric, and whole almonds to a boil for about 5 minutes.
Transfer to a blender, then add in the salt, black pepper, and maple syrup before blending.
Strain out the husk of almond and turmeric. Then serve!
My Sundays are for family. Although I live far away from my family, this is the day I have chosen to reconnect with them. I make phone calls to my mother and my sister. I spend a considerable amount of time trying to find a cozy place to settle myself while I gab. This grapefruit papaya smoothie is one of the foods I use to power my conversations.
I am a creature of habit. Staying in my comfort zone means creating routines that allow me to feel grounded even as my life changes. Talking to my mom on Sunday is one of the habits that keeps me grounded. It is a routine I have had in place for almost half of my life. No matter where I have lived, my mother knows I will call her on Sunday. It is something she has come to look forward to. On the rare Sunday that I don’t call, I feel guilty and she feels worried. So, I unless it is completely unavoidable, the Sunday call is a sacred part of my life.
The first time I saw the grapefruit papaya combination, I believe it was on a package of baby food. It was one of those things that I laughed at. But in the spirit of discovering new foods, I tried to replicate it with the grapefruit papaya smoothie. The last laugh is on me.
It is an undeniably interesting combination, I know. And it is one I never thought would work. Somehow, three years later, I am still regularly reaching for a grapefruit papaya smoothie. As much as I loathe the process of making this smoothie because I have to segment a whole grapefruit, it is worth the effort. Especially when I make it ahead and I can treat myself to a glass of chilled grapefruit papaya smoothie.
Add the grapefruit segments and papaya cube into a blender. Also, pour in any juice that might have dripped from segmenting the grapefruit. Blend the mixture until it is a smooth and creamy consistency.
Pour into a cup. Squeeze the wedge of lime on the smoothie just before drinking. The lime juice adds dimension.
The St.Clements drink is a classic mocktail. Since I am that person that just can’t let things be, I decided to play around with the recipe for the St.Clements. A classic version of the St. Clements features orange juice and bitter lemon. It actually sounds really yummy.
I decided to play on the name of St.Clements drink by using clementine juice. It is the middle of winter and there is an abundance of citrus around. One of the reasons why I wanted something other than orange juice is because I find it a bit much. Clementine juice is much softer and has a floral note when compared to an orange.
For the lemonade or bitter lemon aspect of this St. Clements drink, I made my own syrup. It pretty much follows the formula for the Grapefruit Thyme syrup I shared before. Except, I am using a mix of lemon and lime in this recipe.
The other adjustment to the classic recipe is using a mix of ginger beer and sparkling water to finish up the drink. The ginger adds a bit of heat to the drink to compliment the hint of florals from the clementine and the bitterness of the lemon-lime syrup.
I have a feeling this St.Clements is about to be a drink I reach for constantly. It is such a ready palette to play to with other flavors like basil or even a bit of thyme. I also imagine that infusing some jalapeno into the lemon-lime syrup would make for a memorable drink.
Let me know if you try this recipe. Follow me on Instagram and use the hashtag #willeatthis.
3ozClementine juiceI found that this is the juice of 1.5 clementine
In a drink shaker, add in ice, clementine juice, lemon-lime syrup. Shake.
Strain the clementine juice mix into a tall glass. Add in the ginger beer. Top it off with sparkling water to taste.
The lemon-lime syrup in this recipe refers to my recipe for Grapefruit Thyme syrup. Also, I only added a few ounces of ginger beer because I wanted slight heat. If you prefer, you can top the drink up completely with ginger beer. You can also entirely skip the ginger beer and just use sparkling water. This drink is versatile.