Tuesday, December 10, 2013
I promised the recipe for my new favorite drink (I say "new favorite drink" loosely, because I don't drink all that much, and there wasn't a previous favorite drink, ha), The Lion's Tail, and here it is, along with some pretty pictures of the process, captured by Sweet Root Village.
The Lion's Tail is an old cocktail that uses an ingredient called pimento or allspice dram. It isn't really sold anymore (and if it is, it's fairly expensive). According to my friend Kirk (who taught all about making the dram and infused vodkas at last month's workshop), pimento dram went out of style long ago and hasn't really been produced commercially in the US for decades. The infusion is easy to make at home, and I think it'd be a terrific Christmas gift for anyone on your list who likes craft cocktails! ** This recipe takes about 12 days to infuse, so if you're going to make it for a Christmas gift, you better start soon.**
To make the dram, gather these ingredients:
- 1 cup light rum
- 1/4 cup whole allspice berries
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
// Crush the allspice berries in a mortar and pestle or grind them in a spice grinder. You want coarse, large pieces and not a fine grind.
// Place the crushed allspice in a sealable glass jar and pour the rum on top. Seal the jar and shake well. Let this mixture steep for 4 days, shaking daily. On day 5, break up the cinnamon stick and add it to the mixture.
// After 12 days total steeping, strain out the solids through a fine-mes strainer or cheesecloth. Then strain again through a coffee filter into your final bottle or jar.
// Heat water and sugar on medium until boiling, stirring to dissolve, about 5 minutes. Let the syrup cool, then add it to the strained allspice infusion. Shake and then let rest for a minimum of two days before using.
To make a Lion's Tail, you'll need the following:
- 2 ounces bourbon
- 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
- 1/2 ounce allspice dram
- 1 teaspoon simple syrup (or less, to taste)
- lime rind, for garnish
Combine bourbon, lime, allspice dram, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker, and fill with ice. Shake well and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lime rind.
This drink tastes like allspice and cinnamon and everything yummy about Christmas time. A seriously delicious addition to any holiday party!
Monday, December 9, 2013
Hello there! This week I'm busy as a bee preparing for the last Kinfolk Workshop of the year, which will be on Friday, December 13 from 10 am - 2 pm! I'll be wrapping up gifts for the attendees, putting together our field guide takeaway, hiking through the woods and gathering lots and lots of greens for our wreaths and garlands, making the food for lunch, and finishing up all the other little details!
I just have a feeling this month's workshop is going to be my favorite workshop so far, mostly because it's at Christmas time and we'll be making holiday decorations and gifts. But I'm also working with a talented and generous group of partners:
Sweet Root Village - they're co-hosting and teaching this month!
Jennifer Olmstead of Tonic Site Shop
Gordy's Pickle Jar
The Loft at 600 F
We still have a few tickets available here: http://www.kinfolk.com/events/current-event/washington-d-c. I really hope to meet you on Friday!
Photograph by Laura D'art.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Kirk, our friend from college and husband to Lauren of Sweet Root Village, taught everyone about vodka infusions and how to make my new favorite drink: The Lion's Tail. This drink mixes allspice-infused rum, lime juice and bourbon...and it tastes like Christmas and everything yummy and wintry in a cup. I'll share the recipe next week!
I think I say it every time, but my absolute favorite part of these gatherings is the people. The people who partner with me to make the workshops happen. The people who gather from various places in Northern Virginia and Washington, DC, to learn together. The people who help set the tables when they arrive a few minutes early. The people who hold my little Zoe so I can greet guests. The people who put up with a chilly barn for the sake of having a good time and learning. The people who linger after the event is over and help clear tables and sweep the floor. The people with whom I've become friends. I host these workshops because of you all, so thank you! You've made it a blessing!
Some of the people who partnered with me this time around:
Lauren and Rachel from Sweet Root Village. They are basically awesome. They take the pictures. They set up flowers and greenery. They do everything and anything as needed and I'm grateful for their friendship!
Jen Olmstead from Tonic Site Shop...the graphic designer! For November, she designed the labels for our infused creations and a takeaway Lion's Tail recipe card. Jen worked with Korie from The Weekend Type, who hand lettered and drew the beautiful herb illustrations.
Sarah from Gordy's Pickle Jar drove out from DC, and we got to eat lots and lots of delicious pickles, and chill with Sarah. Can't wait to do it again next week!
Rebecca and Blake Edwards, who graciously opened up their home and barn for our use...
Melinda from Knead and Know, who baked the best bread I've ever had. And had it delivered immediately before the workshop. Warm. It was heavenly.
And Maggie from Inks + Thread sent me the natural hand-dyed napkins that adorned the table top. Ahh, such perfection in a napkin.
In just 8 days, I'll be teaming up with a new (and some old) group of partners (seriously, such a generous group of folks) to host what's going to be my favorite workshop of the year. It is, after all, the most wonderful time of the year! I really hope to see you there! We'll be learning about foraging for greenery, making wreaths and garlands from Sweet Root Village. I'll teach a few decor ideas, too. We'll eat a warm, wintry lunch. All in the fabulous Loft at 600 F in DC. You can read a bit more about next week's #kinfolkworkshop (and purchase tickets) here: www.kinfolk.com/events/.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
I've never been much of a baker...I enjoy making savory dishes (soup, salad, beans, rice, some meat here and there) for dinner, but cakes, pies, scones, breads...not my thing. I guess I've always considered it much too precise for my kitchen habits. Our studio apartment only had a two-burner stove (with no oven), which left me to perfect my two-pot dinners. Now that we've moved and have a glorious oven, I've been experimenting with baking. I certainly do not invent my own recipes (what is the difference between baking soda and powder?)...I'll leave that to the professionals. Like Beth and Hannah.
Meanwhile, I'll enjoy the fruits of their labor and use these tried and true recipes. This pumpkin bundt cake it heavenly. Perfectly moist on the inside and crispy on the outside. Not very sweet (my kind of cake) but full of spicy tastiness.
This recipe comes just in time for your Thanksgiving dinner (that is, if you're anything like me and tend to leave the menu planning till the last day).
Moist Pumpkin Bundt Cake
from Taste of Home
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup melted butter
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine sugar and butter until blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and cloves; add to egg mixture alternately with pumpkin, beating well after each addition.
2. Transfer to a greased 10-in. fluted tube pan. Bake 60-65 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack. Remove pan and cool completely. Dust with confectioners' sugar. Yield: 12-16 servings.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
This first month, I've been focusing on decorating and filling the downstairs, and trying to make it hospitable. Our living room is actually the smallest room in our house (except for Zoe's room) and is only 9 x 13! We got the couch of my dreams and I'm working on smaller pieces and layers now. I've never actually decorated or filled an entire home before. So this decorate-a-whole-house thing is new! I'm pleased with the first "layer" in the living room, but already know I want to add textures and depth. And wall art. I'm horrible at committing when it comes to hanging art on the walls. I have a difficult time choosing what to hang, and then there's the where to hang it, and making the actual holes. In the wall. And apparently you're supposed to only put nails in studs? So yeah, we'll see when I get around to hanging things on the wall.
For the living room, I'm focusing on lots of natural colors and tones, and then adding unique finds from auctions, thrifts stores, or that have been passed down through the family. Two favorite textures are my vintage Moroccan blanket (a gift from my mother-in-law) and this blanket sent to me by Uncommon Goods. The Kantha Blanket is handmade from vintage saris by artisans working under fair trade practices in India. When it arrived, I was blown away. It's soft, lightweight, and contains some of the most interesting fabrics! I love the way the blanket looks on the couch, and I'm trying to decide which side I want to display. I'm eying some other finds from Uncommon Goods gifts for women...this reclaimed wood stand would look great on my counter (especially if we get new butcher block countertops!). I also wouldn't mind hanging this map in the Zoe's room!
So friends, any advice as I work towards making our home hospitable, cozy, and full of memories? I'd love to hear!
This post is a collaboration with Uncommon Goods, but words and opinions are my own.