07 September 2013

A lazy Saturday calls for...


... a mojito! We've been rather quiet of late, here at Indirect Heat, but not due to a lack of food enjoyment. We've had some blogatious IT problems that are starting to resolve themselves.

In the meantime, we've been enjoying the bounty of our garden. The mojito has become Mrs. Dude's favourite summer drink. And we're doing our best to enjoy it as the summer wanes. Our mojito is mintier than most, given the usage of Minty simple syrup. We base our recipe off of the one at use real butter.

Minty simple syrup:
8 oz. sugar
8 oz. water
4 large sprigs of fresh mint

Mix the sugar and water. Bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar, then toss in the mint sprigs, fresh from the garden. Let cool to room temperature, sieve out the mint. Chill. This minty simple syrup is good for weeks in the fridge.

Now, to the mojito. We use Privateer amber rum, a rum that tastes like it's been aged in wood. It has interesting bourbon notes, which makes for a much more sophisticated mojito:

½ lime, juice of to taste
2 oz minty simple syrup, to taste
bunch of mint leaves
2 oz rum, to taste -
club soda or sparkling water to taste
lime wedge, for garnish
mint leaves, for garnish

Mix the ingredients, and garnish with the mint and lime wedge. Most of the mint flavour is coming from the simple syrup, so you can leave out the garnish if you're feeling lazy. Serve.

A perfect Saturday beverage for a hot evening. Salud.


22 June 2013

A lazy Saturday calls for...

a cucumber beverage.


There have been entirely too few lazy Saturdays of late. Working. Painting the house. Working. Gardening. Working. Plumbing. But this weekend, I am inspired to make a beverage we had recently at our dear friends' home. They found it here.
1–2 pieces of thinly sliced lemons
4–6 pieces of thinly sliced cucumbers
1 tsp of honey
2 oz vodka
4 oz sparkling water
3–4 cubes of ice
mint for garnish
Mix the vodka and honey. Add everything else to the glass. We used chocolate mint and spearmint from the garden. And what a delicious drink for a hot day.


28 May 2013

This is why I garden

In 1997, I moved from Canada to Houston. In Canada, you can grow rhubarb. In Houston, it is only sporadically available in grocery stores. I would carry my limp rhubarb with rotten spots on it to the cash register, and I would be asked "What is that?" and "What do you do with that?". And I would pay $7 a pound for the privilege. I would salvage what I could from this pale shadow of what rhubarb should be.

At home, all of my family grows rhubarb. And towards the end of the summer, every one of them asks who needs extra, because they have too much to freeze. The idea of paying for rhubarb is ridiculous. Rhubarb is everywhere. In all of my homes since 1997 - Houston, Baltimore and San Diego - rhubarb can't live. Houston is too hot. Baltimore is too humid (the roots rotted out of my attempts). San Diego doesn't have a winter, which rhubarb requires. But now, in Massachusetts, we can grow rhubarb.

We planted them last spring, and they've flourished.

Rhubarb plant
Side view - Rhubarb plant

And this weekend we harvested from them for the first time. Following my mother's advice, I harvested only the thickest stalks. Grasp them, and gently twist and pull. They come off at the base. The biggest stalks should be quite large on a healthy, established plant. Mrs. Dude is shown for scale:

Rhubarb for scale

Cut off the leaves (they contain toxic levels of oxalic acid). And chop the rest of the rhubarb into 18" chunks.

A simple and worthy dessert of rhubarb is rhubarb crisp. Preheat the oven to 375°F. For the fruit:
3 cups chopped rhubarb
1 to 1 ¼ C sugar
3 tbsp flour

Mix the rhubarb, flour and sugar and layer into a large, greased baking dish. Make the topping. If you like your topping crunchy, make 50% more topping than what is below:
½ cup oatmeal
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup flour
¼ cup butter, chopped
18 tsp baking soda
18 tsp baking powder

Mix the topping ingredients, and cut the butter into them. Mix well. When the oven is at temperature, sprinkle the topping evenly over the rhubarb. Place the dish in the oven, and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the topping is browned, and the rhubarb is bubbling through.

Rhubarb crisp

While still hot, scoop out crisp into bowls, and serve with vanilla ice cream. Perfect.

Rhubarb crisp with ice cream

This is an excellent spring dessert to finish any barbecue. And this is why I garden.