Monday, May 31, 2010

Strawberry and mint infused syrup

AND... Were back! After a bit of a hiatus, O.M.G food is back with a vengeance. We were in boxes for a while, and then we moved, and then we had to find the camera, and then we had to actually unpack, and then we FINALLY started to cook again. PHEW! I think our friend Jill over at Hey That Tastes Good, was in a similar situation.

This past weekend was a beautiful one! We started our Saturday bright and early and the Ft. Greene Farmer's Market. We picked up some pursulane (blog post to come), eggs, rhubarb, bok choy, beets, mint and strawberries. Everything was so beautiful and we wanted to take all of the veggies home with us, but we ran out of room in the bag. So after a delightful brunch at Rice, we went home with our treats. J and I discussed the evenings plans and decided that we should make some type of fruity infused syrup for the vodka we would be blurring our good sense with. We decided that a strawberry mint infused syrup would go well with a vodka soda lime drink. The strawberries were warm from the sun and bursting with juicy goodness, and the mint was earthy and refreshing.

First, I boiled some some water and put the bundle of mint in the water for it to steep. After the water boiled and the mint turned the water a hazy shade of yellow, I added sugar (we had some white sugar, shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, that we HAD to get rid of so I used it).

Next, I removed the mint from the infusion, threw it in the compost, and moved on to the berries. I removed the tops, and gave them a good rinse, and then I gave the berries hell. I squashed the crap out of those bad berry babies. I squeezed them over a bowl until they begged for mercy. Did I show them who was boss? I sure did, because after squashing them to a jam like pulp, I transfered them into the hot, minty, sugary bath. It was more of a mint jacuzzi for the berries at this point, so I would consider them lucky.

This mixture of chunky strawberry pulp and mint syrup was so delicious, I would really like to experiment with popsicles. You could throw this mix into popsicle molds and freeze them for a sweet, minty summer treat.

I put the strawberry infusion into the fridge to cool, that took about 40 minutes, and then I strained the syrup. The results were astonishing! I had never made a fruit infused syrup, but the first time around yielded delicious delights! The syrup was minty and had the strawberry flavor that old tyme strawberry candies have.

As planned, we mixed the syrup with vodka, seltzer and a zesty lime wedge. Think about how much effort muddling mint for a mojito takes, and then think of how easy breezy lime squeezy this cocktail is... The cocktail was like a sweet strawberry breeze. After two cocktails, I really felt like I was in a hammock. Next time I will use raw sugar, and double the amount of sugar used so the results are more concentrated.

You'll need:
-- 1 bunch of fresh mint
-- 1 quart of fresh strawberries. Snobbery aside, you really should use farm fresh berries, the ones that are literally still warm from the sun and soft enough to mush pretty effortlessly. Store bought, out of season berries are way too hard and tasteless. Trust us on this one.
-- 1 1/2 cup sugar (really should be more like 3 cups to make a syrup)
-- 1 1/2 cups water

1. Add water, sugar and mint to saucepan and boil.
2. Remove from heat and let mixture steep until water turns amber, approx. 40 min.
3. Mash strawberries
4. Strain mint mixture into large bowl
5. Add mashed berries and stir
6. Let mint/strawberry mix sit and cool. Stick in freezer if you wish.
7. Store in airtight jar or container until ready to use.

How much of the mixture you should use in your cocktail will depend on the sweetness and concentration. If it is more like a juice (as this was), you'll have to use a good amount. If it's more of a syrup, add only a little bit or you'll be in headache city after one cocktail.



(Photos by J)

No comments:

Post a Comment