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Ginger Carrot Cocktail and Frittata

Right now one of the best foods of the season has to be carrots, especially out here in Colorado where the minerality of the soil has great effects on the taste and sweetness of them.  As I came home, Kate had already conceived our next concoction and was ready with the juicer to start using some of those beautiful carrots. With the carrots juiced, we used some Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur, along with a bit of the recently made clove simple syrup, to add a bit of earthiness.  Topped with some ginger ale, we had a beautiful fall cocktail with a great blend of sweetness and heat from the ginger liqueur.

This cocktail was beautiful with the meal for the night.  Kate whipped up a beautiful frittata using some leftover gratin we had from the other night.  The frittata was made entirely on the stove top as the oven was being used for some Salame fermenting, and the results were definitely acceptable.  Topped that with some of the cracklins, salt and pepper and we had a beautiful fall meal outside.

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Wild Apple Margarita

while back Kate and I went foraging with a friend for a variety of different items— near the house there is an old road where you can grab wild apples.  While most of the apples represented a more tart Cripps Pink [aka Pink Lady®], we came across these small, almost crabapple-size gems that were incredibly tart and sweet and would make an excellent baking apple… but a sweet-and-sour mix alternative came to mind too.  I believe my first words were “This would be great in a Margarita”. So we juiced the apples and sure enough, this was a perfect match for a margarita and was absolutely as good as I’ve ever had.  When shared with friends they agreed, and everyone was sad when our supply ran out. We paired this with a quick little cheese plate and sat outside on a beautiful night.

Now, what does one do if you don’t have access to wild apples? I would use an unripe granny smith or any kind that is very tart and sweet, and put them through a juicer.  Make sure there is little to no pulp to keep it nice and smooth.

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Pizza Bianca with Elder Tonic

Pizza is by far one of my favorite things to make and we usually make it in the oven, but tonight we decided to make it on the grill to try and get that great wood oven flavor and crust.  The pizza is one similar to what I’ve made before, think bianca-style [white, sans tomato sauce], but this time I added a bit of arugula and tomato to the top to change it up.  While it’s in season, roasted sweet corn on the top instead of arugula and tomato is just amazing. This pizza uses mascarpone instead of ricotta as is usually used in bianca, as well as mozzarella as expected, however the mascarpone adds a lovely layer of sweetness and a nice runny layer of cheese goodness.  To really take the flavor over the top… once it was baked and beautiful, we sprinkled freshly-made pork cracklins over it.  Because who isn’t rendering lard on a Friday night?

The Elder Tonic is a nice switch on the normal gin tonic by adding in some elderflower liqueur to give it a nice floral note on top of the juniper notes that we all love about gin.  Thatcher‘s elderflower is a shining example of the organic liqueurs they make, and are a nice little nod to Kate’s home state of Michigan.

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Skirt Steak with The Apple Gin

Apples and beef are pretty much what autumn is all about, and after a long week and day of work, a long-winded meal was not going to really fly for the evening.  This is when tasty ingredients and simple salt and pepper seasoning come into play.  I reached for a skirt steak from Natural Homestead Beef and the salt and pepper with a little sprinkling of walnut oil and threw it on the grill.  I put that alongside some arugula with some dressing, as well as some sweet corn from Munson Farms and all was good and delicious. To match that we made a quick little gin drink with some items from the bar that we’re calling The Apple Gin.

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Passion Fruit Margarita

After a week of cooking and a long day at work we found ourselves with a number of leftovers— high quality leftovers in the beautiful slow cooked ham with cider, cloves, apples and spring onions.  While the food was perfectly fall, we decided to treat ourselves to a little tropical excursion with a Passion Fruit Margarita made with all fresh ingredients and something kinda yummy. While we were eating leftovers as our main course, we did manage to incorporate some new foods as we whipped out some homemade crackers we got at the last food swap, some fresh cheese and home-cured bresaola.  You can learn more about my meat curing over at Eat the Pig if you’d like …

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Slow Cooked Ham with Whiskey Sours

Slow Cooked Ham

Today we made a delicious slow cooked ham in the crockpot braised for approximately 8 hours. The ham was cooked with apples, onions, rosemary, honey and a mixture of chicken broth and cider as a braising liquid. The finished product was absolutely delicious being fall off the bone tender, a nice blend of salty and sweet.

The final product was shredded and served over rice with the onions and apples as accompaniments, and covered with a couple of ladles of broth over top of it. It was topped with some alder smoked salt to finish it off. All in all one hell of a meal.

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