Snow day on the plains of North Dakota. Perfect day to snuggle up with a glass of winter schnapps and read a good book or have a Netflix binge.
Have you ever made schnapps?
We make several different flavors of schnapps. Raspberry, plum, elderberry, cherry elderflower, currant, haskap, rose, apple and pear. This year’s favorites were cherry and raspberry.
Making schnapps is really simple. A bottle of cheap vodka, your favorite fruit and enough sugar to cover the fruit. Let it all meld until the sugar dissolves. Let it sit in a cool, dry cupboard for a month. Strain and let it sit some more to mellow. A small glass is a nice way to start your evening while you cook dinner. Also a few glasses with a ploughman’s lunch or cheese platter is a nice way to share your creation with friends. Our bottle seems to find its way out of the cupboard after an afternoon of fishing or playing outside. A platter of pickled pike, some castrelevano olives, pickled beans or peppers, cheese, jerky or sliced cured meat served with a few glasses of schnapps and you’ve just capped off a wonderful winter day.
My kitchen this week was home to several fermentation projects. We had enjoyed a large head of cabbage in the form of coleslaw at the beginning of the week. The remainder went into a jar with garlic, onions and some wayward pickled peppers to become cortido, which is a flavorful, pungent kraut. I also dusted off the yogurt maker which is essentially a green house for your ferments. My favorite yogurt recipe is simply six cups of whole milk, a cup of whole cream and a tablespoon of gelatin. Heat the milk and cream to 180f, cool to 100f and then stir in a previous batch of unflavored, unsweetened yogurt and the gelatin before pouring into jars and leaving to ferment in a warm place for 7-10 hours. One of my favorite ways to eat it is with raspberry jam, or whatever jelly I have in the fridge.
One of the more interesting ferments in my kitchen this week is an old favorite from Red Star Yeast. Vintage fruit sauce is a fermented fruit cocktail that is good on its own, fabulous frozen into individual servings and outstanding in an upside down fruit cake. My grandmother used to make this fruit cake and to this day when I make it, I invite my mother over and we enjoy a little trip down Genevieve memory lane. This particular ferment got a little away from me as I placed it in a too warm spot – creating a rather strong alcohol within one day. I tempered it with a little fruit juice and enjoyed it this morning covered in homemade yogurt and honey from my back yard. Sometimes the best part of ferments is enjoying the unexpected!
Ferments are simple and usually pretty easy to culture. That being said. I’m having the dickens of a time growing a Scobey for kombucha this winter. I shudder to think of the many Scobey’s I’ve composted when the kombucha kick has waned for me. This year making my own is eluding me. Perseverance. I will prevail even if its fermented soda season by the time I have grown one. I will store it in a Scobey hotel if I have to in order to avoid this agony next winter.
The kitchen wasn’t the only home of creativity this week. The mailman dropped off my latest Amazon purchase. A bleach pen. That, coupled with a thrift shop find of flawless Levi 501’s became my canvas for creativity. Bleach pen denim art. After drawing with the pen on my jeans, leaving to soak in and then finally heat setting with the dryer. My jeans were a one of a kind work of art. They pair perfectly with the kimono I made last weekend. Oddly enough – its even the same fabric pattern as the video chic uses. Simple, easy and fun projects to chase away the winter doldrums.
Looking forward to the remainder of the week once this snow storm passes. Oliver and I can’t wait to get back to our nightly walks now that the sun is still shining past 6pm!
Enjoy your week!