The Brussel Sprout Files!

Below is a formula sure to make your Brussel sprouts are a success no matter what flavor profile you’re after. Sweet, salty, or tangy!

Brussel sprouts are aggressive in flavor. You either love them or hate them. So many ways to cook them too– from baked chips to chopped salads. At my home we love our sprouts pan-fried with crisp pancetta– caramelized with lots of butter and my homemade infused olive oil, & lots of crispy fried garlic cloves.

Brussel sprouts caramelize naturally. On special occasions we make a few variations. Addition of maple syrup, or a sprinkling of brown sugar with a handful of candied walnuts will make your family roar! Sometimes we like to add crispy bacon, a nice citrus finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and lot of lemon zest– then an good dousing of parmesan cheese. I add a fair amount of fresh cracked black peppercorns!

Here’s How : 

To properly sauté brussels sprouts, you’ll need a fair amount of fat in the skillet. While bacon is a classic pairing, use your families favorite flavor. Ground pork sausage,  Italian sausage, apple sausage, duck fat, or –If you’re a vegetarian, good quality olive oil is perfect. As mentioned, I use pancetta. So delicious and I love the little crispy, crunchy salty nuggets. How much to use is up to you- I personally like a lot of Pancetta floating around in my dish- so I use a least a pound or two ( shhhh) per stock/stem of Brussel sprout! about 40- 50 spouts.

If using something like bacon or sausage, start by browning the meat in a very large skillet  – I use two of my largest skillets, and split the recipe between them. (Brussel sprouts contain lots of water– so, if you over-crowd the Brussel spouts in the pan, they will steam not caramelize. Tragic.)  Always halve the sprouts and trim the root-end clean.

Sauté the pancetta or your choice of fat, over medium-high heat. Render the fat. Once the meat is cooked, remove it with a slotted spoon set it aside for later addition. Add the halved brussels sprouts to the fat, shaking the skillet so that as many as possible landing cut side down or use tongs to ensure the sprout is positioned for optimum caramelization. Now, step away from the pan. Resist the urge to move them around. Distribution will prevent them from cooking through and becoming crispy golden brown  and delicious. They need to stay in contact directly with the surface heat. Cook until they have a nice  brown sear on one side, about 8 to 10 minutes. If a knife runs easily through, they are done.

Just before removing from the heat, add in  your favorite seasonings–like chopped garlic, sliced onions, fresh thyme, sprinkling of brown sugar, maple syrup, honey  or lemon juice  with lots of zest. Return the sautéed meat you rendered the fat from and toss to coat nicely. Cook for an additional 1- 2 minutes. If making an addition of candied nuts, now is the time to do so. Toss well and serve. (The candies nuts will remain crunchy if not added to the cooking process.)

Salt and pepper. Serve!

Steaming Method: 

Clean Brussels sprouts and slice in half lengthwise. Fill a large stock pot with about 2 inches of flavored stock and water combination– place a metal steamer basket on top. Bring the water to a simmer, add the brussels sprouts to the basket, season with salt and pepper and cover. Steam until the brussels sprouts are bright green and just cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the lid from pot and let them cool slightly before removing. I like to shock my sprouts in cool ice water so they retain a bright green color. Then right before serving I dunk in hot boiling water or toss quickly in a pan with some olive oil, salt and pepper until warmed trough. About two minutes. See my method here for retaining color and nutrition in steamed veggies.

Baking Method:

Halve brussels sprouts (or quarter them, if they are especially large), making sure to hold on to any leaves that fall away (these get the crispest) and toss with plenty of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and scatter them onto a rimmed baking sheet, making use of every inch. Brussels sprouts contain a good bit of water, and if they’re too crowded on the tray, they’ll steam instead of brown. If you need to use two or three sheet pans, do it.

Roast in a hot pre heated 450’F degrees oven, tossing every 10 minutes or so, until the outer leaves have begun to almost char, and the innermost part of the sprout is just tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Finish growing by making sure the cut side of the sprint is face down on the baking sheets surface so they get nicely caramelized. While they caramelize well on their own, tossing the sprouts with a tablespoon or two of maple syrup, honey or light brown sugar will give them a bit of holiday flavor. Remove from oven– add your favor flavors to finish, like lemon zest and fresh thyme, or fresh rosemary, or pine nuts with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese — toss well and return to the oven for an additional five minutes. Remove, set aside to cool. You can even toss with a bit of reduced balsamic reduction –. Whatever flavors you’ve decided on — enjoy– it’s all you!

I’d love to hear about your favorite way to make Brussel sprouts. Leave me a message and tell me how.

Happy Holiday!

Make-Ahead Feast Worthy Cranberry Pear Compote! 


This recipe has been in my culinary repertoire for over two decades. It’s my absolute favorite! Loose the canned cranberry sauce- trust me on this one.

Just like everything Thanksgiving– it’s better the next day; especially smothered all over your leftover turkey sammy! There is quite a bit of sugar in the recipe because the natural flavor of cranberry is very, very tart so it’s ok to substitute with honey or your favorite sweetener.

Oh, sure to call your order in using discount code : “Chef Gigi” when ordering the wine from RiverStar Vineyards and secure 20% off you entire holiday purchase!

You’ll Need:

2 pounds fresh or frozen whole cranberries 

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, or your choice of alternitive

3 tablespoons brown sugar, packed

3 Bosch pears, peeled, cored and chopped in large one inch chunks 

2 wide strips of lemon zest

1 lemon juiced, seeds removed

1 orange zested and juiced

1 bottle RiverStar Vineyards Sauvagnon Blanc

1-2 small cinnamon sticks

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg 

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 large sprig fresh thyme

1/4 teaspoon salt 

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper 

Fresh red forest cranberries

Here’s How:

In a medium high-sided saucepan, combine the cranberries, sugar, lemon zest, wine and spices including salt and pepper. 

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat then reduce to a simmer. Cook until you begin to hear the cranberries begin to pop open. Add the pears cook an additional 8-10 minutes until the pears are soft but still holding shape. Once the cranberries pop the sauce will begin to thicken. Continue to cook until a knife will gently slide through the pears. Taste, and adjust seasoning.

Remove from heat, cool and store air tight in glass jars. Can be made up to a week in advance. 

Makes a great hostess gift when packed in a fancy glass container with a fresh sprig of thyme and orange peel! 


Yields approximately 20 -25 servings 

Fresh Summer Cherry Vinaigrette

It’s easy to speed through the Central Valley of California or roll along the farm-bounded country roads less traveled, and find some great fresh fruits, nuts and delicious vegetables, especially during summer.  

If you find yourself in the heart of some of the world’s most productive farmland, grab yourself  some fresh delicious cherries,– season is closing – ( although some might argue- you can find cherries year round here ) Touring California you can see some familiar classics, like garnet-colored, ultra-juicy California Bings & others types less well known, like Coral Champagne cherries, a sweet and firm cherry that ripens a little earlier in the year.

I “can” a bushel of cherries every June. I love to made cherries in brandy for holiday gift giving– and now– I’m focused on making delicious, sweet, yet tart cherry vinaigrette.

So scrumcious on crisp summer salads and spectacular with grilled foods. Enjoy!

You’ll Need

1 cup dark red ripe cherries, pitted and de-stemmed

2 Tablespoons local organic honey

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 cup good quality aged balsamic vinegar

1 shallot, peeled and rough chopped

1 clove fresh garlic, peeled and root trimmed

1/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil

Scant cinnamon ( optional )

Kosher salt to taste

Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Heres How: 

In a stand blender or the bowl of your food processor— add the cherries, honey, lemon juice, vinegar, shallot and garlic clove. Cover and process until the cherries look like a smooth puree.

With the mixer running, gradually add the oil in a slow steady stream until the combination has become emulsified and creamy.

Season with salt and pepper as needed. Immediately dress a salad, or something fun like smokey grilled pork chops. The dressing thickens over time, so add a touch of warm water to reconstitute. Keep up to a week refrigerated air-tight.

photo credit: chefs resource

Making Fresh Pasta at Home

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Sixteen years ago I designed a cooking school for kids with my then, 6 and 8-year-old daughters. They named it: Kids Culinary Adventures- where math, reading, science and art mix with kids. Although I’ve retired from teaching hands-on to children- and both my kids grew up and onto college. I do continue to food coach parents on picky eaters, on how to shop, and eat healthier.

Several classes at Kids Culinary Adventures were popular, many really stood out and we would need to continually teach them. The class I will be sharing with you today was always a success. It was called,”Have You Lost Your Noodle?”. KCA was popular for anchoring academic through the medium of cooking. This class was no expectation. Have you lost your noodle, was a vehicle to teach at home pasta making and an opportunity to discuss the beautiful history and geography of the noodle. As you might imagine it was a wonderful social studies course as a whole.

As the founder of KCA, my family and I have designed well over 400 culinary classes throughout the years. All  of those classes have been taught in our San Francisco, Bay Area location. Have you lost your Noodle, was no exception. The funny part was – THIS  was the class all the parents wanted to take. The demand was so high– we eventually designed an adult class that would also guide families away from fast, additive free, highly processed and pre- prepared foods. We named this class:”Cook Outside the Box”. Parents were learning how to and cook fresh– and, in as little time as possible.

Making pasta from scratch only seems like a huge undertaking. I’m here to tell you–making fresh homemade pasta can be done in under 30 minutes of hands on attention! (with the exception of the dough’s rest period.) It’s likely you will be spending more time reading about  pasta making— than you will be actually engaged hands-on.


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Before you approach the recipe– here are a few things I’d like to chat about before sending you off with a basic pasta dough recipe— here they are:

About the Flour :

The names, Doppio Zero ( double zero), 00 and 0 flour refer to specifically Italian milled flours used for pasta making.

The Italian grading system is used in many pasta making recipes—and is as follows: 2, 1, 0 or 00. These symbols indicate to how finely the flour is ground, and how much of the bran and germ has been removed in the process. American flour, on the other hand is graded by both– color included:  white, brown, whole meal and by gluten content, or strength. We read names such as:  all purpose, strong, extra strong or similar grammar. The basic rule rule of thumb among cooks is the stronger the flour, the better the bread. The less dense the flour is, the better the cake or pasta. All else being equal, stronger flour is good for stronger bread type textured items. We avoid these characteristics in our cakes and pastas.

If you are looking to make a better pasta, start with a finer flour– all purpose will work too, but 00 flour has been refined more so than the standard all purpose flour or bread flour– which is  higher in protein, and could result in your pasta tough to the bite and chewy.

The bottom line is : All this doesn’t refer to the flours ingredients, as much as it refers to how finely the flour has been ground down. Doppio- zero is great to work with — especially making pasta by hand. It is super-fine, like talcum-powder. Because it is so fine, the whole mixing, folding, rolling process is much easier, and result in a perfect textured product. Italian Grade 00 is a soft flour with around just 9% protein and best for cakes. I use it for pasta too.

Lower gluten = soft flour = cake, pasta, items soft and billowy baked goods
High gluten = hard flour = breads or yeasted items that expand with heat need to withstand the rise of the yeast without blowing the top off the loaves.

Variations: Some cooks like to add fresh chopped herbs. Fresh garlic, or powdered spices to the recipe before mixing and kneading — just make up for the variance of water content if there is one. Some people like to add liquified spinach, or other delicious vegetables. Experiment. The dough will tell you what it needs— by how sticky or dry it is. Listen to it. Start with a basic dough recipe below and gradually begin to add to your repertoire each time you make a new batch. Learn the basics first.

Making dough on a raining day is not for first time learners. The flour will absorb the moisture from the humid atmosphere and make things… well, a sticky situation. Making dough on these days become a bit more time-consuming, among other things. Stick to drier temperatures until you really have the pasta making method down.

Note of Filled Dough: Pasta can be filled with just about anything. The most important thing to remember is: How the dough is cooked and filled. Over-filled or under-fill can ruin your day. If you over-fill the dough, you risk the ravioli or the tortellini popping in the cooking liquid. If you under-fill the dough, you risk the mouth-feel at serving time will be just chewy gob of tasteless dough.

Chefs Secrets:
Adding any type of oil to the water is a no-no — this will stop the pasta from its absorption rate, and the sauce will run off of it instead of adhering the finished product.

Always add a touch of the pasta’s cooking liquid to the sauce. The starch in the water will combine with your other ingredients and become sticky insurance— the results will be a better marriage between your pasta and your sauce.

If making any type of creamy egg-based pan sauce; always add the sauce while the pasta pan is completely off the flame. This reduces your risk of scrambling the eggs in the recipe and instead will result in a beautiful decadent base to blanket your glorious work.

Always cook pasta in boiling salted water.


Basic Pasta Recipe

Ingredients:

3 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 Tablespoon good quality olive oil
Pinch of salt
2 cups of low protein flour, such as Italian grade Doppio-Zero flour or American grade AP or cake flour, sifted.

Method:

Whisk eggs and oil in a medium bowl or if you don’t want any clean up in a large plastic food storage bag– but begin on the table if you want the authentic feel. Combine with your finger, the salt and 2 cups flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour, and pour the egg mixture into well.

Gradually incorporate flour mixture into egg mixture with a fork or your fingers– (shaped in a claw ) mix until a shaggy type dough forms.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it comes together as a smooth ball. About 5-8 minutes. If the dough is sticky, dust lightly with additional flour as needed. The dough will become family stiff because the protein in the dough is developing gluten strands. These strands are like rubber bands. If the dough becomes too difficult to knead cover it and give it a five-minute rest. This will relax the gluten strands and allow you to get back to work.

Once a smooth ball has been formed from your kneading efforts, shape the ball into a 1/2 inch disk. Wrap in plastic or in a gallon sized food storage bag. Allow to rest until the dough holds an indentation when pressed with your finger, minimum 30 minutes but up to 1–2 hours is fine.


When you are ready to roll—literally

Set a pasta maker to thickest setting. (If you do not have a pasta maker, skip this step and proceed to my notes below). Dust dough lightly with flour and divide into 4 pieces. Working with a single piece at a time and keeping remaining dough wrapped in plastic.

Flatten dough into a narrow rectangle no wider than mouth of machine and pass through the rollers on the highest setting. Alternatively, flatten the dough with a rolling pin.

Fold the outer most edges in from each side overlapping one another, then rotate the whole piece 90 degrees. Run through the rollers again and then repeat without folding or rotating , adjusting the machine to a thinner setting after each pass. Dust lightly with flour if the dough becomes sticky at any point. Continue until the pasta sheet is 1/16” thick— and you can almost see your hand through it, like a fine set of silky sheers, as in,“window treatment”. Usually about an #8 on the dial of most pasta making machines.

Place your newly formed sheets of pasta sheets on a lightly floured surface to dry. Or hang on a clean clothing hanger, covered with a clean lint free dishcloth. The dough can be rolled out into sheets 4 hours ahead. Stack on a baking sheet between pieces of parchment paper; covered. Cut into any shape or form.

Rolling the Dough by Hand
If you don’t have a machine, don’t worry. Use a rolling pin and your body weight to press the pasta as thin as possible. Just like described above—you need to build the pasta in layers, folding it back over itself, and flattening again and again, about 4-6 folds. You will know when its ready when it is very smooth to your sight and touch; and you can roll it out thin enough to see your hand on the other side of the sheet. This method will take a bit longer, but is very achievable. Now cut and shape the dough with a knife or a pizza fough cutter If you’re not making filled pasta. Or you can purchase a Eppicotispai “Chitarra” Pasta Cutter with 32cm/12.5-Inch Rolling Pin

Note: Below is a link to one of the best homemade pasta making website I think I’ve ever seen. Because I am not standing next to you and teaching you hands-on, take a good look at this website. If I was going to design a pasta making photo montage, this is exactly how it would look– scroll all the way through for the best benefit.

 Serious Eats Makes Pasta.

 

 

2016 Post Election, Red Wine and Chocolate Popsicles ! 


I know it’s 5 o’clock somewhere ! Here is a fun pick-me-up after a long stressful election year. Try my  frozen popsicle recipe strictly for adults. Cause, sometimes we need a break too! Not only will these take the edge off the 2016 Election, it will also turn your lips and tongue into a bright shade of red!

What the heck! Be a kid again– even if it’s just for a few hours!

Ingredients

1 cup good quality Cabernet wine.

1 bar of 70% or higher good quality dark chocolate, chipped into small chunks

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup winter plums, deseeded, and sliced

Method: 

In a medium saucepan, heat the sugar and the wine on medium low heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture just begins to simmer.

Add the plums and allow to cook for about 3-5 minutes. Allow to cool slightly. Process everything except the chocolate in a food processor or standing blender until smooth.

Return to the saucepan and stir in chocolate to melt and combine. Cool.

Pour the mixture into popsicle molds and freeze for about 1½ hours, then insert popsicle sticks. Allow to freeze until solid an additional 3 – 4 hours. To remove from molds, run warm water over the molds to help release the popsicles.

Or, freeze in a shallow glass casserole pan stirring a few times during the freeze time. Serve by scooping into bowls! If you are feeling really stressed –just eat it out of the container with a giant spoon!

Yum!

Non-Dairy Hot Chocolate Chai 

Ahhhhh, comforting ! A nice warm cup of drinking chocolate with chai spice! Perfect for a cozy fall,  or winter evening!!

Ingredients:

2 cups organic, vanilla almond milk, sweetened. (Or my nut milk recipe here- plus adding 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract – or, one vanilla bean-sliced open, and seeds removed into milk. And 2 Tablespoons of cane or coconut sugar per quart )

2 Tablespoons Dutch processed cocoa powder 

1 teaspoon DYI chai spice (see recipe below)

Method:

Place all ingredients in a medium size sauce pan. Bring to a rolling boil and whisk until spices and cocoa powder have dissolved. 

Reduce heat and let simmer for 3-5 minutes until flavors have combine. 

Serve hot  

Homemade Chai Mix

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 teaspoon ground allspice

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

2 teaspoons ground ginger

Combine spices together. Mix well to combine. Store in an airtight spice container. 

The Faux-Re-O! Homemade Vegan Oreo Cookies. Clean ! No additives, preservatives or shelve-stabilizers! 

Aside from the slightly bizarre flavors of the past few years, Kraft Foods – the parent to the Oreo, a Nabisco brand; has a dynasty into the worlds best tasting cookie!  A large corporate box chain foods  company–but, this means highly processed, refined food ingredients. Also, foods contain additives; that might not be so healthy If you are feeding your family clean. Here is my adaption to the beloved, “Oreo” Cookie!

The Faux-Re-O!



Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups AP flour, Yucca flour or GF flour, sifted

1 cup unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa powder, sifted

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

12 ounces Vegan butter or extra virgin coconut oil, room temp, slightly softened ( extra virgin has minimal coconut flavor)

1 1/2 cups granulated cane sugar

4 Tablespoons of VeganEgg reconstituted in 1 cup water

2 teaspoons pure Madagascar vanilla extract

1/2 cup organic vegetable shortening

Non-stick cooking

Cream Filling ( recipe below)

Method:
1. In a small bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk to incorporate ingredients well throughout the flour. Set aside.

 

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or a medium bowl–combine 10 ounces of the vegan butter with the 3/4 cup granulated sugar. Beat on medium-high until combined and pale in color. About two minutes. Scrape sides, add 1/2 the vanilla, and beat an additional 2 minutes.

 

3. Add the VeganEgg and flour mixture in alternate batches. Mix well to incorporate after each addition before adding an additional. Once all ingredients have been added mix until dough forms a ball.

 

4. With a sifter, lightly dust a clean work surface with cocoa powder.

 

5. Turn dough ball out onto the lightly dusted cocoa powered surface. Also dust the top of the dough lightly. Cut in 1/2.

 

6. With a cocoa dusted rolling pin, roll the dough pieces to flatten into 2 – 1/2 inch round disc. Wrap both discs individually in plastic wrap- sealing airtight. Refrigerate flat for a minimum of 1 hour.

 
5. After 1 hour has lapsed – remove a disc from plastic wrap and place on a clean, lightly cocoa dusted work surface. Working while dough remains cold, roll out to 1/4 inch thick. Run the back of a long knife or palate knife under the dough to make sure it is not sticking to the work surface.

 

6. Preheat oven 350’F Degrees. Prepare two high sided baking sheets with parchment sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

 

7. With a 1 1/2 in round cocoa dusted cookie cutter begin cutting cutting 64 round 1/4 inch round cookies.

 

8. Using a metal spatula – place on prepared baking sheet with minimal movement protecting the integrity of its shape. Work quickly while cold. If dough begins to heat up, place back in the refrigerator to cool again.

 

9. Continue to ball up the cookie dough up and re-roll for more cookies until you’re completely out of dough. Repeat with the remaining disc.

 
10. Bake for 8-10 minutes until they are firm. Remove and allow to cool. Make cream filling.


Additional Cream Filling Ingredients:

4 cups powdered sugar sifted

2 Tablespoons nut milk

 
Method:

1. In a small bowl beat the remaining 2 ounces of the Vegan butter with the vegetable shortening until smooth. Add remaining vanilla extract. ( or cut and scrape one fresh vanilla bean pod * optional)

 

2. Once combine, add sifted powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon of the nut milk. Mix. Check constancy. If too dry, add the additional nut milk to form a thick cookie filling like paste. Set aside.

 
3. Once cookies are cooled, spread the filling on the bottom of half of the cookies and sandwich them with the other half. Slightly squeezing to completely sandwich.
Serve with ice cold nut milk. Or use to prepare Stephen Dimmicks ( from Glossie Girl ) Oreo Cookie Pancakes. Recipe here!

Variation to filling : For chocolate filling add 1/2 cup cocoa powder and 1 /2-2 Tablespoons of additional nut milk to the already blended creamed filling recipe.

Homemade Bacon-Maple Butter

Delicious on just about anything including a good grilled steak. Love this on my recipe for homemade pumpkin spiced flap-jacks, or extra toasty waffles. The best part about making this homemade bacon-maple butter, is that your entire house will smell like holiday ( Insert big, happy sigh.)

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Ingredients:

1/2 lb. unsalted butter, cut into approximately 1 inch pieces and frozen

4 strips of bacon, cooked crispy. (1 Tablespoon of fat reserved)

1 Tablespoon bacon fat ( optional )

1-1/2 cups grade A medium maple syrup

1/4 tsp. Kosher salt

Method: 

In a medium sized, 3-4 quart heavy bottomed,stainless-steel saucepan,rub the inside rim with 1/2 teaspoon of the butter. (This will help prevent the maple syrup from boiling over.) Add the Maple syrup to the sauce pan and cook without stirring on medium high heat until the syrup reaches 235”F Degrees on a candy thermometer. About 8 to 10 minutes. When the syrup begins to boil gently tilt the pan so the syrup covers the thermometer bulb to get an accurate reading.

Once syrup comes to temperature, remove from heat and add the frozen butter 1-2 pieces at a time. Make sure to stir constantly with a wooden spoon until each addition of butter has melted before incorporating more. Repeat until all the butter has been added.

Once all the butter has been incorporated, add the salt and the bacon fat.Stir to combine.

Pour the syrup into the bowl of a stand mixer, or use and electric hand mixer and beat with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until cooled and lighter in color and about 10-15 minutes. Gently crumble, and fold in bacon bits until just combine or add before pressing for a smoother bacon texture.

Pour the bacon maple butter into clean mason jars, recycled food safe jars, or BPF free plastic containers. Allow to cool to room temperature. Seal air-tight and refrigerate. Can be stored up to, two weeks in the refrigerator or 6 months in the freezer.

 

Makes approximately 1 pint.

Variation : Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and for a spicy finish– add 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Or both! You decide.

 

 

How to Make Simple Syrup & Why You Need It in Your Life!

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Simple syrup! Typically I use a 2 to 1 ratio (2 sugar, 1 water) to make my simple syrup. You’ll need:

  • sugar
  • filtered water

Here’s how to make it:

  1. Bring mixture to a roaring boil.
  2. Reduce to a simmer and continue to cook for at least 10 minutes to reduce and thicken.

You can make a variation on flavors by adding vanilla bean pods or other various spices. Experiment! Just remember simple syrup has a horrible life span – foodborne microbs grow fast here! It should be used within the week and kept refrigerated.

What can you use it for?

  • Added to fresh lemon juice with ice, it will make the best lemonade you’ve ever had.
  • A must have in your home bar.
  • Used in many ice cream and sorbet recipes.
  • Great addition to a citrus salad vinaigrette.
  • Wonderful infused with basil or other herbs and glazed on grilled vegetables, especially carrots.
  • Great base for many delicious Asian marinades.

What are you waiting for?  Here is My Recipe for Watermelon Martini’s Perfect for Date Night or Mom’s days off!