Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Herb Infused Cocktail ~ Sparkling Sage Pear


    Fall is by far my favorite season, and I can hardly wait for it to kick in, here in Sulphur Springs, and around the state.  All the festivals, food, and fun that can be had in fall; let's not forget the cooler temperatures.  Plus, the colors of fall are just so warm and inviting, they make you want to sit around the campfire and tell stories, roast marshmallows, or enjoy a fall cocktail.  

    October's cocktail is full of fall flavor.  Sage, and pears, really come into their own in the fall season.  One of the last, non-citrus family fruits to ripen on the tree are pears.  With multiple varieties grown around the globe, pear can be used in so many different applications.  Pears can be baked and eaten with a touch of cinnamon.  Made into a crip to enjoy for dessert or breakfast.  We chose to use the pear this month as a highlight to our cocktail of the month.  

    We blended up fresh pears, to make the pear nectar for this drink.  The fresh pears give it a heavier, more full feeling, and it holds on to the flavor longer.  We also used sage as our herb this month, because of the woodsy, strong flavor the herb lends to the vodka when infused.  There is no specialty liquor that has sage in a bottle, so you must make your own on this one.  If you want to make this drink at home be sure to plan ahead.  

   To infuse your vodka, cut some sage and place it in a jar.  Fill the jar so that the sage is fully covered.  Tighten the lid and place it on a windowsill to speed up the process.  The vodka I used sat by the window for about a week before I made my cocktail.  Depending on how strong you want the sage flavor to be, will be determined how long you let it sit.  

    This recipe also calls for ginger simple syrup.  Just like always one to one on the sugar to water ratio, add in your fresh chopped ginger and a tablespoon of lemon juice, to a pot on the stove.  Let all the sugar dissolve and the mixture heat up.  It's as easy as that to bring our the ginger flavor for this drink.

    Sparkling Sage Pear

3 ounces Pear nectar

2 ounces Sage infused vodka

1/2 ounce Ginger simple syrup

1/2 lemon

Sparkling water or ginger ale

    Combine all the ingredients, except for the sparkling water, into an ice filled shaker cup. Shake it up  well.  Once completed, pour into two iced filled glasses, and top it off with sparkling water.  Garnish your drink with slices of pear and sage.  

    Of course, if you do not want to make this drink at home you can always stop by the Tipsy Oak Lounge located at the Oaks bed and breakfast and order one, or two.  This drink can also be made without the liquor, and into a delicious mocktail for everyone in your group to enjoy.  As always drink responsibly and have a designated driver.  Cheers!

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Your Garden ~ Canned Peppers


    As summer is draws to a close, about the only item still producing with any vigor in our garden happens to be peppers.  There are so many peppers, that I was at a loss for what to do with them all.  I figured that canning some up for later was the best plan.  I gathered my supplies and got to work.

    For this process, I used whatever peppers I had on hand, that would go to waste if not used relatively quickly.  Of course, you can be more discerning in your pepper selection and go all out on one variety over another or mix and match like I did.  My focus was on using what I had available so as to not create more waste or pass off too much food to the chickens or pigs.  

    I figured that no matter what, which ever peppers I happened to use would not go to waste and can be used in a variety of ways.  On tapas at the Tipsy Oak Lounge, various breakfast dishes for our overnight guest at the Bed and Breakfast, or just as a healthy snack for the children. Plus, we could always gift them to friends and family to enjoy. Who doesn't like a homemade treat, even in veggie form.

    To get started, I washed them all off, so they would be ready to slice and dice. Then I prepared the jars with the pepper corns, mustard seeds, garlic cloves, coriander seeds by evenly distributing the items between the four jars.  Then I started the water, salt and sugar on the stove top and brought to a boil and added the vinegar and cooked that together for about a minute.  While the water was coming to a boil, I sliced the peppers into strips and placed them in the jars as I moved through the process.  I tried to get an even amount of items into each jar, of each pepper option.  I will say I did use only sweet peppers, no hot peppers in this batch.  Maybe on the next one I will mix and match or just do hot peppers.  

    After the jars were filled with peppers, I added the water and vinegar solution had cooked. I poured an even amount of the water into the jars.  I closed the lids and I was done.  I plan to store my peppers in the fridge which is why I did not do a water bath to seal the jars.  Once the lids had sucked down into the jar, into the fridge they went.  I don't have a lot of pantry space available, so this was my best solution.  Now if I did have space, I would have given my jars a nice water bath, for their preservation.  

    As a bonus these peppers are ready to eat relatively soon after jarring.  We opened one up this past weekend and they were perfect.  Just the right amount of brine and flavor and still crisp, how I wanted them to be.  

    We hope that you will preserve your extra produce to use later in the year when nothing is growing as well.  Preservation provides for a family long after the harvest season has ended and before the new growing season starts. 


Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Let's East Food Trucks ~ Rancho Las Palomas Taqueria


    I have passed this food truck for over a year, while taking my kids to the middle school or making a supply run to Lowe's.  The Rancho Las Palomas Taqueria is located on Wild Cat Way and the corner of 154 at 1707 S. Broadway, St.  He is open six days a week, Monday thru Saturday from 8 a. m. to 8 p. m.  Be sure to bring cash when you order in person or when you make a call-in order to 903-335-0505, otherwise you will have to hit up the ATM.

    For this visit I ordered tacos, because tacos are always a crowd favorite, and I knew each of my kids would love one so that was easy.  I picked out the same one for all of them so that I would have a good base to start with to formulate an opinion.  They loved them!  Hands down they said these tacos were some of the best they have had in town.  Authentic, with great flavor and a traditional street taco style with meat, diced onions, and cilantro.   

    I also ordered a beef torta to see how it differed from the one we used to make at Coffee off the Square.  Plus, I knew one taco would not be enough food for the 17-year-old. The torta is definitely a meal in and of its self.  A full sandwich filled with beef, lettuce, onions and guacamole.  The boys thought it was pretty tasty and would surely order again. "The torta was amazing, it had great flavor," said the 17-year-old.

    Finally, I picked up a quesadilla.  The quesadilla is filled with cheese and beef and also a full meal.  The crispy outside tortilla gave the quesadilla plenty of texture.  White the beef was full of flavor and nice and tender in the quesadilla.  The sauces that came with the meal were perfect and not to spicy, so as not to diminish the flavor of the food.  The 12-year-old said, "this was one of the best quesadillas I have ever had."

    Needless to say, everyone enjoyed the food from the Taqueria truck, and we will plan to go back again. Maybe on our next run to Lowe's.  We hope that you will stop by and explore their menu and find your next favorite meal from the Rancho Las Palomas Taqueria.  

    Let us know your favorite food truck spot to eat at and we will stop by to get the low down for everyone else.