Sunday, September 23, 2007

appropriate use of cheese cloth

"Do you have any cheese cloth?"
"That depends, are you going to use it make cheese, or adulterate it in some way?"
"Adulterate. But in a positive way."

It was three weeks ago when I paid way too much for u-pick blackberries only to come home and make a dreaded phone call turning down an inspiring job. Taking the misfortunes in stride, I headed to liquor store. Turns out a fifth of vodka is about 2 1/2 cups. To double the recipe I'd need 4, so I took a second walk up to 23rd and Union, wondering if I should avoid eye contact with the clerk who sold me my first bottle just a half-hour earlier.

I can't find my sewing kit. My guess is that it and the cheese cloth I remember packing away, are at the bottom of the closet I can't bring myself to dig through. Not until the hall is free of the bed frame and dresser and Goodwill box. No rush now that the man at Kitchen Basics approved our use of the cloth.

Yesterday, after a morning of soccer with toddlers, an almond latte followed by a sunny afternoon in the dahlia garden and climbing the camels at Volunteer Park, we strained the berries and toasted the birthday Joan Jett and I share.

Blackberry Liqueur

1 pt Fresh blackberries
2 1/2 c Vodka
1 Vanilla bean
1/4 ts Whole allspice
1/2 c Sugar syrup (2part sugar/1part water, boil, cool)

Select full colored and plump berries. DO NOT wash until ready to use as water causes mold to form. Rinse berries and place in a mixing bowl, lightly crushing to release flavor.
Add vodka, vanilla bean, and allspice. Stir and store in bottle in cool dark place for 3 weeks.
Strain mixture through dampened cheese cloth, squeezing as much juice
as possible.
Pour back in bottle adding sugar syrup to taste (1/3 to 1/2 cup
per pint) and age another 3-5 weeks.
Yield: 1 pint plus.


skholiast said...

whoah, Aslin's birthday, N's, and now Joan's! I am gonna rack up some serious karma if I'm not careful.

Be well. Cheers.


owlhouse said...

We'll take birthday wishes any old time, so your karma should be good!

I think it will be another month before we're ready to celebrate... by then, the liqueur will be aged to perfection. You'll have to come judge for your self.


Anonymous said...

Happy happy belated birthdays to you! You are now on my toolbar (right next to the dreaded Tucson weather report).
lots of love,

owlhouse said...

Thanks Chris!
Is the high below 80 today? I don't think we'll hit 60 here.


Anonymous said...

Brad--in this pix you look so much like Ukiah, it's uncanny (remember that expression, Nora!)--not that he is given to weird expressions----but the resemblance is remarkable.
Love, Sharon

Cakespy said...

I just came across this liqueur looks great! Did it taste as good as you hoped? I bet it would mix well with some powdered sugar for a cake glaze.

owlhouse said...

Hey Cakespy-
The liqueur turned out REALLY well. It's a touch spicy, so the recipe could be adjusted as you like. I like the glaze idea- chocolate cake?