Archive of ‘Food & Drink’ category

DIY Liqueur From The Garden


From: Esther
My Elderberry tree is in bloom – and I mean FULL-ON bloom. Usually, I miss the blossoms but this year I have been keeping my eyes on the tree. My tree is a Black Lace Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) with dark purple leaves and blossoms. It also has varying shades of pink to red that stand out against the fresh greenness of Spring.

*This Elderflower Liqueur Recipe, was originally inspired by Well Hung Food, ..thanks boyz!

RECIPE (note – this concoction needs to sit for 6 weeks before imbibing). 

Pick full open, new flower heads (no brown bits). *It is best to pick most flowers before high noon.

After you pick the flowers you need to start moving quickly, they start to lose their perfume incredibly fast.

Fill up a bottle or jar just past 3/4 with the flowers.

Remove as much stalk as possible. If you compress the flowers they should take up about half the jar. (It took me 2 hours to deflower all my blossoms)

Once the jar is filled up to half way you need to add some sugar. The sugar not only sweetens, but brings out much of the flavor. An 80:20 ratio of Elderflower to sugar. So if your Elderflower is 4 inches high (when slightly compressed) add about an inch of sugar.

Fill almost to the brim with vodka. Now add thin slices of lemon to the top. You should try and cover the entire top layer with these thin slices as it will stop the flowers from rising to the top. If you can’t do this use a saucer and a weight to stop the elderflower from reaching the surface, as they will turn brown and taint the whole drink.

Leave a month before straining into a bottle and then another two weeks before drinking.

And remember the two most important things are: good clean, bright elderflower heads (without stalks) and not letting the flowers reach the surface. Enjoy!  -Esther



Garden Fresh Herb Pasta


Garden Fresh Herb Pasta. Serves 2

From Esther:
This is a very basic recipe! All you need is a handful of freshly picked herbs (I used chives, thyme, green basil, thai basil, lemon verbena, golden sage, greek oregano, garlic ramps, and burnet).

4 tbsp of chopped herbs (Anything is fine as long as you have about 4 tbsp)
Some salt
Water and pasta for two
A couple of splashes of White Balsamic Vinegar
A small glug of oil, I prefer Avocado oil, but good Olive Oil is just as tasty

-Bring a pot of well-salted water to a boil
-Follow cooking directions for pasta
-When the pasta is cooked, strain and put into a shallow serving bowl
-While the pasta is cooking finely chop a couple of handfuls of fresh herbs
-Mix the oil and vinegar in small jar with lid
-Toss the herbs with the hot pasta, drizzle the oil and vinegar mixture over the top, then sprinkle the flower petals with some lovely cheese to finish.

Side note: I use two types of pasta: Wheat for my husband and gluten free for me. My favourite GF pasta is Tru Roots, Ancient Grain – Penne Pasta.


{WGF?!} Gluten Free Beer Round Up


1) St. Peter’s Sorgham Beer  2) Bard’s Tale Beer  3) Green’s Gluten Free Beers (I like them ALL)  4) Redbridge  5) New Planet  6) Daura (not 100% GF)

Do you need to serve gluten free beer for that “special-needs-someone” this Thanksgiving? Here are my top gluten free beer picks to make shopping a little easier. I listed Daura even though it’s technically NOT GF. It has a great taste, so if you’re just trying to eliminate gluten from your diet (not allergic to it), then I recommend this one. (*Personally, I can’t handle Daura or O-Mission beers for that matter). Here’s a PDF describing why some GF beers aren’t 100% gluten free (from the FDA).

1) St. Peter’s Sorgham Beer
Main ingredient: Sorghum
Taste Rating: * * * * *  (5)
Price: $ $ $ $ $
This one is a bit pricey, but totally worth it. The flavor is pure perfection. Hoppy and crisp. It’s also hard to find in a typical supermarket!

2) Bard’s Tale Beer
Taste Rating: * * * * *  (4)
Price: $ $ $ 
Main ingredients: Sorghum and Hops
This is my go-to beer. It’s your typical light ale (the working man’s 6-pack). Be sure to check the expiration date on these suckers. I’ve had a couple of flat and yucky-tasting bottles.

3) Green’s Gluten Free Beers (I like the entire line-up: Quest, Discovery, Endeavor)
Taste Rating: * * * * *  (5)
Price: $ $ $ $ 
Main ingredients: Sorghum, Buckwheat and rice
The entire line-up of Green’s is fantastic. These taste like the real deal. A great “craft beer.” They are hard to come by (I don’t see them in the store very often). Try them all!

4) Redbridge
Taste Rating: * * * * *  (2)
Price: $ $ 
Main ingredient: Sorghum
Meh. This is the easiest GF beer to find at your local grocer. I’m not a huge fan, but if it’s the only thing available, I’ll buy it. The flavor leaves a weird aftertaste. Meh.

5) New Planet
Taste Rating: * * * * * (3)
Price: $ $ $ $ $ !
Main ingredient: Hops
This is another working-man’s beer. It tastes like beer should taste – hoppy and light. I’ve only seen 4-packs of these. And at $9.00 for a pack,…well, there’s nothing “working-man” about that price point.

6) Daura (not 100% GF)
Taste Rating: * * * * *  (4)
Price: $ $ $ $ 
Main ingredients: Gluten-free barley malt (processed)
Another typical larger. It has a very nice taste (much better than Redbridge). Again, if you have Celiac disease, I don’t recommend this one. Only for folks who are trying to cut the amount of gluten in their diet.



Sweet Treats With The Sugar Studio

BShop_food2BShop_food1 The Sugar Studio delivered the sweetest treats to BlogShopSF this week. Their presentation made quite an impression too! Feathers, striped tissue paper, colored string, and a little bit of washi tape made an otherwise plain wooden spoon look super cute. Their macrons were absolutely perfect. If you’re having a party in the Bay Area, I highly recommend them.


Olives On The Side

Olives4We live in the midst of many olive groves here in California. We are thoroughly spoiled by having access to some of the most amazing olive harvests this time of year. One of the easiest and most rewarding appetizer to make is marinated olives from our local growers.

This recipe is easy to change up or down, add chilli peppers if you want spicy or substitute lemon for orange if you prefer tangy.

Marinated Olives

3 cups of mixed olives, black, green, greek or french style cured olives
1/4 cup of good olive oil
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 cup of marcona (spanish almonds) or regular california almonds
1 Orange (scrub skin to clean off wax) carefully zest, then juice the orange
2 sprigs each fresh Oregano, Thyme and Rosemary
2 cloves minced Garlic
Several good generous twists of fresh ground pepper and some sea salt to taste

Put olives in large bowl or jar with firm lid, add almonds, all spices, and orange zest, then gently stir or shake the ingredients, mixing them well. Add olive oil, orange juice and vinegar to the ingredients. Place in refrigerator for 1 to 2 days, about an hour before using remove the ingredients with a slotted spoon and place in serving bowl, bring to room temperature.

If using same day, let the ingredients meld together on the counter and gently stir to move the ingredients, use a slotted spoon and place into a serving bowl when you are ready to eat (it’s best to marinate the ingredients at least 5 hours so that flavours get happy with each other).

These are delicious with a main meal, served with a salad, or as an appetizer prior to your main dish (or, according to my husband, eat randomly throughout the day, he’s Greek, with a touch of Portuguese so this is one of his favourites).


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