I made 4 more infusions, cilantro, fenugreek, nutmeg, and dill. None would have been my first choice, but I'm getting to the back of the spice cabinet, and thought there might be some surprises.
- Attractive yellowish grass green color
- Unidentifiable smell - definitely not the smell of cilantro, but if anything it smelled like chicken soup - very odd
- Almost flavorless
- Ethanol flavor very present
* Not a contender
- Had to use ground
- Pale yellow color
- Strong maple smell. Adding water brought out a smokiness. It really smelled like breakfast at a diner
- Mild smoky taste. Not bad but not interesting
- Mild ethanol harshness
* Also not a contender, but both of these give me ideas for using them in cooking
- Had to use ground
- Cloudy orange color
- Pleasant nutmeg aroma
- Turbid when water added
- Harsh ethanol flavor
- Camphor taste reminiscent of the cardamom extraction
* Also not a contender, with confirmation that chai extraction is definitely out
- Very deep green color
- Very clean aroma, slight dill, mostly just clean, a bit like thyme
- Slight dill flavor
- Alcohol harshness/heat cut significantly
* Should be added to mix based on color, clean aroma, and mellowing quality
So, the dill extraction was the only good one, and the biggest surprise. It could be good just on its own. Imagine a martini made with Hendricks gin and a dill-based liqueur. It would taste like a dill pickle.
My final recipe as of now is:
3 parts tarragon
2 parts coriander
2 parts dill
1 part laurel
In the continuing effort to create my own amaro/bitters/digestive (in the style of Fernet or Campari or Gin or Angostura Bitters) I've been infusing various herbs in alcohol to help me decide which to add to my master mixture.
I bottled a few 2 weeks ago and tried them yesterday and today.
|Color||Lovely chartreuse color||Beautiful deep green color, nearly teal when concentrated||Deep green color||Pale straw color almost unappealingly brown when concentrated|
|Aroma||Flowery aroma with only a hint of Rosemary||Pleasant vaguely sweet aroma, Not recognizably tarragon||Strong thyme smell||Very clean aroma almost like a pleasant household cleaner or shoe polish. It could make a good cologne or scent for shampoo|
Adding water clouded it like absinthe
Water brings out Rosemary taste
Alcohol harshness replaced with slight camphor astringency
Harshness slightly mellowed
Very nice infusion could stand alone
Should be a dominant ingredient
Very mild taste
No effect on harsh alcohol flavor
Could be good as a compliment to other herbs
|Mild taste not much flavor but harshness of alcohol mellowed|
The tarragon was very nice and could be a very good infusion just on its own. It will have a dominant place in the mixture, just as juniper has a dominant place in most gin recipes. The Laurel added good aroma but mostly was notable for how it mellowed the harshness of the alcohol, a quality that most of the herbs didn't have. The thyme didn't really offer anything but the smell of thyme. The rosemary leeched a lot of proteins into the infusion, making it cloudy. The color and aroma it added were not good enough to overcome the cloudiness. So tarragon 'yes', laurel 'probably', and the other two 'probably not'.
If I were to make a bunch now I would use 3 parts tarragon, 2 parts coriander, and 1 part laurel.
Sage, nutmeg, and ginger will be the next to try.
"IkeaHackers.net is a site about modifications on and repurposing of Ikea products. Hacks, as we call it here, may be as simple as adding an embellishment, some others may require power tools and lots of ingenuity. "
La Cucina di Kat has a post about making potato chips in the microwave.
The idea seemed implausible since microwaves tend to make crispy things (e.g. toast, pizza crust) stiff, not the other way around. But I tried it and it totally works, the chips are very crispy and light. One potato made about 40 chips (sliced with a mandolin) and I had to do it in 2 batches since that's all that fits without overlapping the chips. It's a little time-consuming, maybe 20 minutes (slicing + 7 minutes each for 2 batches from one potato) but makes a decent snack and it uses almost no oil.
Some said it could not be done, that it would violate basic principles of physics. Some dismissed the idea as they do the idea of perpetual motion machines.
But some others were determined to show that "DDWFTTW" (Directly Downwind Faster Than The Wind) was possible.
While not 100% proven, this article at MAKE may make you a believer.
#1 Baked Falummus / Humafel
I tried making hummus. We had a bunch of dried garbanzos that I soaked overnight. We didn't have tahini so I used sesame oil. I tried pureeing them but they stayed pretty chunky. I blamed that on the oil/tahini switcheroo but realized that you're supposed to use cooked garbanzos. So I put the quart or so of raw hummus in the microwave but it cooked very unevenly, so it went into the oven on low heat. As the garbanzos cooked they absorbed all the moisture so I added a little olive oil and a 1/4 cup or so of water and stirred it in. I let it bake at 250° for a few hours and then tasted it. It needed a little oomph so I added a bit of sriracha. The flavor is good, both taste and texture is halfway between those of falafel and hummus. I've been eating it like peanut butter, spread thick on toast.
#2 Homebrewed Belgian Cider
I had a gallon of local cider. When I was a kid we would let the cider ferment in the plastic jug. That stuff was delicious and had a great effervescence. But that was possible only because the cider was unpasteurized and had wild yeast. It's hard to find that stuff now and my cider was pasteurized. I added the dredge from three different bottles of Belgian-style ales (including Duvel) hoping that some of the yeast was still viable. The airlock cap went on and I waited. It was a few days before I saw the first bubble but then the yeast went to town over the course of a few weeks. I finally bottled it today and tasted it. I was pretty careful about sterilization and I don't think any mold got in, but I think I let it go a little too long, and some of the alcohol had turned to vinegar. But all the sugar had been consumed. The flavor is very similar to kambucha. I don't taste alcohol in it, but there must be a good amount given how sweet the cider was and only a little vinegar taste.
Andrew Zimmern has a show where he eats weird things. He was in Bolivia and learned an old technique of preserving potatoes by freeze-drying them outside. Soon after harvest, the nights are below freezing and the days are above, so simply leaving potatoes on the ground means the water in the potatoes bursts the cell walls as it expands as ice at night. Then during the day the water drips or evaporates away. After a few days of this the skins are removed and the process is repeated a few more days. I've been replicating this with three russet potatoes: go in the freezer at night and thaw during the day. The surprise is how much water is in these potatoes. i was aware that potatoes are in fact mostly water, but to see how much that is was striking. They currently have the texture of hard-boiled eggs. You can roll them in your hand and they are quite pliant. I have no idea what I will do with them.
#4 Infused Whiskey
I sometimes put a cinnamon stick in the French press when making coffee, giving just a bit of spice to the flavor. One day I was making Manhattans and instead of bitters I dropped one of the used cinnamon sticks in the glass. The flavor was quite nice and I even got a bit of the coffee flavor from the stick in the drink.
There are lots of infused vodkas but I never see infused whiskey. I suppose tat since whiskey already has a flavor it doesn't need any infusion. But my cinnamon experiment was a success so i went further. I took some $15 Canadian rye in a decanter and added whole spices - ones often used in chai: cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, and cardamom pods. After just a day the liquor was noticeably fragrant. After a few days the flavor was obvious. The cardamom in particular had exuded a strong flavor. I had made, in a way, pre-bittered whiskey. The cardamom taste was a bit too intense actually. It reminded me of camphor. Next time I'll go with more cloves and cinnamon.
"A first person walk through of 'Machine', a steam punk horror show we built and performed in our garage."
"it took about 18 months of tinkering in the garage to build it, we've been planning and designing it since way before. There's one top secret bit of kit we had to build first to enable the the machine to travel between scenes. The whole set is only in a normal sized double garage. One of the most time consuming bits of the build was the brick walls in old London, each brick hand carved from polystyrene, that might have been a mistake."
This would be great for stop-motion animation.
I like how dark it is. And I like the name "Filth Wizardry"
There's not really enough value in this to make cities need to install them everywhere, but it's one of those ideas that at least makes me pause to think about it.
Pop-Up is a set of platforms that is embedded in the sidewalk and can be pumped up or down by anyone. The advantage is in being able to free up sidewalk space when not in use, while also not requiring other storage space for bulky furniture. Also, since each component can be raised or lowered independently the furniture can be used as benches, tables, or some combination.
A) Potentially filthy (dog-doo smears on your table?)
B) Some kid decides to pump your seat up or down while you're sitting on it and you have to chase him away.
Maybe you have to be in Holland for this to work.