When I learned that local food delivery company Greenling had local watermelons available, I knew I had to have one. However, to get one of those beauties I had to order $25 worth of food. There was plenty of local produce to select from and I ended up with some armenian cucumbers. I remembered seeing this Kitchen Konfidence post about using armenian cucumbers to infuse vodka. I love cucumbers! I bet I will also love these Cucumber Lime Basil Martinis.
Lovely armenian cucumbers:
Infusing some Tito’s Vodka:
I guess it’s not officially summer yet, but in Texas it feels like it’s been summer for months. You may remember the vodka infusions I made recently.
I finally got to try the watermelon rosemary infusion and I must say, it was delicious. I used the Rosebud recipe from Kitchen Konfidence. It was fun to muddle the watermelon with the crushed ice:
I used rosemary sprigs from the gigantic rosemary bush in the backyard. Rosemary grows like crazy in Texas:
Yum! I recommend seedless watermelons if you can. I still had to strain out the little seeds from the glasses.
So it may or may not be a surprise to you that vodka is my favorite alcohol to add to drinks. I love my Bloody Marys, the spicier the better, and my drink is not completed until it’s garnished with home-pickled green beans!
When someone first sent me vodka infusion recipes on Kitchen Konfidence I just knew I had to make the infusions at some point. Now that we’ve skipped spring in Texas and are straight into hot summer weather I decided it was time. I selected the Watermelon Rosemary infusion because I love watermelon. While I don’t really like grapefruit, I had to try the Grapefruit Tarragon infusion because of the drink it was featured in - a Salted Tarragon Greyhound. Not only is it a beautiful looking drink, it’s also a bit salty and it’s named after a dog! Some people even think my mutt is part greyhound (she’s not, she’s too slow). Soon I hope to enjoy the Watermelon Rosemary vodka in the Rosebud recipe as well. I’ll have to get the ingredients to mix the drinks this weekend.
Anyhow, here was my experience making the infusions.
Slicing up the grapefruit. Such a pretty fruit but such a gross taste to me! Notice the bottle of Tito’s in the background. It’s my favorite vodka AND it’s local. Win!
The first step was to put the fruit in the vodka and let it infuse for four days. Somehow I lost those pictures, but after four days you add the herbs. Here’s the grapefruit with the tarragon:
And the watermelon with rosemary from my giant rosemary bush in the garden:
Those mixtures sat for two more days and tonight I strained them using a fine mesh strainer. I tried to get a decent amount of the liquid out of the fruit.
The finished product! The grapefruit infusion is on the left and watermelon on the right. Can’t wait for a delicious drink!
I like to bake. I try not to do it to often because I REALLY like to eat what I bake. Luckily, we bring baked goods to work for co-worker’s birthdays so I can bake and share fairly often.
That means that I go through a lot of vanilla extract. Recently, I came across an article in an old print version of Craftzine (this link doesn’t work on mobile devices) that tells you how to make your own vanilla! Of course I had to try it. Supposedly you make so much that you can even give batches away as gifts.
The instructions in the magazine are pretty detailed so I won’t rewrite them all.
To prepare to make my own vanilla, I first purchased 1/2 lb of vanilla beans (planifolia) for super cheap at Vanilla Saffron Imports.
I also picked up a handle of Tito’s Vodka and a 4 oz bottle of Nielson-Massey Vanilla extract.
The article recommends seeding your vanilla batch with good vanilla extract that you’ve purchased to make the process go faster. I did that, but only used half of my extract bottle and instead doubled the beans that I put in my jar.
My jar filled with 2 oz of vanilla extract, 12 vanilla beans split down the middle and then topped off with Tito’s Vodka:
After 4 - 6 weeks I should be able to pour some vanilla out of this jar for use in my normal baking exploits. Each time you do that, you can top the jar back off with vodka. For now, I’ve stored the remainder of my vanilla beans with some sugar as the package recommends. Hopefully they’ll still be good when I need them for my next batch. I’ve not worked with vanilla beans before. I’ll let you know how this experiment turns out.