Monday, January 27, 2014

Grapefruit Margaritas with Citrus-Vanilla Syrup

Usually citrus season comes and I want to make infused pot de cremes, little cookies speckled with zest or cakes flavored with bright lemon.

But seriously, I needed a drink so instead, I invited citrus season to cocktails. California has been so delightfully warm lately (delightful despite the subsequent drought) and I wanted to enjoy a cocktail out on the patio. I came home from the Mexican market with some citrus and some tequila and the rest goes like this...

In a large mason jar, start with the juice of two freshly squeezed grapefruits then add the juice of one lime and half an orange. Pour in two (or just slightly more than two) shots of tequila. For this, I used my family's favorite, Casadores! Next, add about 3oz of citrus-vanilla syrup (recipe below), 5 ice cubes and then close up the jar.

Next, rim two, 4oz glasses with a quarter slice of lemon and dip the glass into vanilla sugar (my vanilla sugar is made from leftover vanilla pods and a really tasty Mexican sugar called "azucar morena". It is basically a finer demarara sugar but available in my local market). Fill the glasses with ice, a quarter slice of orange and a thin slice of lime. Fix the quarter slice of lemon to the rim.

Shake the mason jar and watch the vanilla beans spin around with the pink cocktail and then pour the margarita into the glasses. You will probably want to double the recipe, because they are so delicious to enjoy with friends on a warm afternoon.

Citrus Vanilla Syrup
1 cup of sugar
1/2 a vanilla bean, seeds scraped out and pod reserved
1cup of water
3 slices of fresh valencia orange
half a lime, sliced
half a lemon, sliced

1. In a small pot, work the vanilla seeds into the sugar with your fingers. Add the empty pod to the pot and pour in the water.
2. Nestle the citrus into the pot and turn the heat on to medium-high heat. Once the syrup has come to a boil, turn of the heat and remove from the burner. Steep the fruit and vanilla in the syrup for 10 minutes and then strain into a container. Cool, then chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours before use. 
The syrup will keep in the refrigerator for 1 week.

(Note: Letting the syrup boil for too long will break up the fruit fiber too much and make your syrup cloudy.)

Friday, January 10, 2014

My Green Smoothie Awakening

Adapt and evolve.
It is the only way to survive. In a restaurant kitchen, I adapted by developing a pretty impressive potty mouth and learned how to drink whiskey and by working really fucking hard. At this point in my life, I have come to realize that evolving is a process that is constant. It involves self-awareness, the mental and emotional capacity to call things what they are and the ability to address what needs to be changed and actually do it.

OriginalCinn is many things right now. Given the myriad of things on my plate at the moment, it will have to evolve to continue to be my creative outlet. It will be a place to share my new gluten free recipes, as my lovely wife has discovered she has a gluten intolerance. It will be a place to say "see you later" to my Dad to be able to cope with the pain of losing him. It will also be a place to use some of the super cool stuff we got for our wedding! OriginalCinn will continue to evolve because it is what I need to be able to adapt.

Moving on...
Funny story: The other day I came home in a tremendous mood! I was joking, smiling...being cheeky. My wife, who is now accustomed to me coming home much less chipper stopped me mid-story as I was fixing dinner and said, "Wait. A green smoothie? is THAT why you're, uh, normal? You had a green smoothie?" She was right. Casually I had mentioned my lunch time concoction. Kale, peaches, a banana, coconut water and apple juice made all the difference in my mood and energy that day. It brought me back to life. Having been very ill from stress over the Holidays fueled my green smoothie awakening. Something had to change, and it was kale.

Peachy Green (My favorite Whole Foods Market green smoothie, with a few additions)

Add all of this stuff to a blender to make a 16oz. smoothie.
  • 1 1/4 cups Frozen Kale
  • 1 Frozen Banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen peaches
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 cup apple juice
Blend it up smooth, then resist the urge to punch through walls with all of the energy you have.