Friday, August 28, 2009

Canada Goose Wild Rice

A handful of Canada Goose wild rice from Fort Assiniboine, AlbertaAnother mind blow. Today Judy showed up with a bag of Canada Goose wild rice from Fort Assiniboine. This shocked me. Partly because it is an expensive, luxurious ingredient. Partly because as a child I was fed mostly potatoes, so rice always seemed exotic to me. (Wild "rice" is actually a misnomer: it's the seed of zizania grasses, which are not part of the rice family, though they are closely related.) Anyways, turns out it's indigenous to lakes across Canada and the northern United States.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Raspberry Liqueur

Ever since Neil brought me a recipe for limoncello from Capris, I've been eager to try some sort of fruit infusion of alcohol. My surplus of raspberries from Roy's seemed like divine providence. Here is my recipe for raspberry liqueur.

A shot of homemade raspberry liqueur
Raspberry Liqueur
(adapted from a souvenir-bar-towel recipe for limoncello...)

  • 750g raspberries
  • 750mL Everclear grain alcohol
  • 750mL water
  • 750g white sugar
  • 500mL lemon juice, strained of pulp and seeds

Pour the grain alcohol and raspberries into a large glass container. Mash the berries, cover the mixture tightly, and leave for two weeks. This is the infusion.

Pour the infusion through a wire strainer to remove the berry pulp. Discard said pulp.

Make a simple syrup of 750g white sugar and 750mL of water on the stove. Cool to room temperature and combine with berry infusion.

None of the acidity of the berries survives the infusion stage. At this point, with the darker raspberry flavour, the strong taste of alcohol, and the sickly sweet syrup, the solution honestly tastes a lot like cough medicine. It needs the transforming power of lemon. Mix in the lemon juice, and allow some time (a few days?) for the flavours to combine. Strain through a coffee filter to remove the finer sediment.

I finished with about 2.5L of liqueur which was almost 30% alcohol by volume. At this strength, somewhere between a stiff schnapps and vodka, I was expecting to have to dilute my liqueur with pop. However, when poured over ice, it is surprisingly (and dangerously?) easy to drink straight. Summer in a glass.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Raspberry Jam

Homemade raspberry jam on Treestone Bakery breadIt's the height of berry season, and I just picked several pounds at Roy’s Raspberries, west of the city on highway 16A. The bulk of the harvest was frozen for later use as ice-cream topping and crumble filling, but plenty of berries were kept for experimentation. With Lisa’s recent purchase of a garage-sale canning pot, my first project was a winter’s supply of raspberry jam.

I was happy to find the following recipe for traditional raspberry jam: one volume raspberries and one volume white sugar. It’s ridiculous to measure raspberries by volume, but I’m a sucker for a simple ratio. As I was working with honey instead of sugar, my recipe and process looked like this:
  • Two parts heated, mashed raspberries.
  • One part heated honey.
  • Simmer until thickish.
  • Jar.
The jam tasted great: much brighter than the store-bought variety. Much seedier, too. This was my first experience canning food, and it went fairly smoothly, I think. If in a year I have botulism, I'll change my answer.
When I mentioned to people at work that I spent my day off making jam, I was confusingly dubbed “Aunt Jemimah” for the rest of the week.