Monthly Archives: October 2012

ˈȯr-ˌzhä(t) aka Orgeat

This summer was supposed to be my “Summer of Tiki”.  The best laid plans….maybe next summer.

I did make orgeat, though!

Used in many cocktails, most notably the venerable Mai Tai, orgeat is essentially an emulsion of water and almond oil.  That, along with the addition of sugar and orange flower water results in a sweet, floral almond flavored syrup.

I made it twice actually, the first time I closely followed the recipe posted on the Imbibe website.  However, I found that all of the cocktails I made with it were improved with the addition of a little simple syrup (and I’m not a sticky sweet cocktail fan.)  So, for the second round I increased the sweetness as well as the amount of orange flower water and I enjoy it more.  Tailor the flavor components to your tastes by adding a little bit at a time until you get it just the way you want it.  I ended up pouring out half of the first syrup because it got funky before I was able to use it all, so I reduced the recipe volume by half in hopes that less of it would ultimately wind up down the drain.

Here’s what I did:

Orgeat

1 1/4 Cup Raw Almonds

3 1/5 Cups Water

1/2 Cup Cane Sugar

1 oz Vodka

1 T Orange Flower Water

Roughly chop the almonds, place in bowl, and cover with water (about 1 3/4 Cup).  Let the almonds soak for 30 minutes , then strain out the almonds and discard the liquid.

Transfer the almonds to a blender or food processor (I would recommend a food processor).  Grind the almonds until they are of a coarse consistency.  Add a little water if it makes the blending easier.  Transfer them to a bowl (you can use the same bowl from above) and add the rest of the water (about 1 3/4 Cup).

Steep the almonds for 2 hours.  Stirring once or twice.

Line a strainer with cheesecloth and set over another bowl.  Pour the almonds and liquid through the cheesecloth.  When the liquid has drained through, gather up the edges of the cloth collecting the almonds into a ball in the center and squeeze.  You’re trying to press out as much of the oils as you can before continuing the steeping.

Then remove the strainer and add the almonds back to the liquid.  Give it a good stir and allow to steep for another 2-3 hours, stirring every hour or so.

After that steep, strain through the cheesecloth again (just like after the 2 hour mark), squeezing the life out of the almonds.  This time discard the almonds afterward.

Transfer the almond water to a small pot along with 1/2 cup of sugar and gently heat over low flame until the sugar has fully dissolved.  Turn off the heat and allow to cool to room temp.

Stir in the tablespoon of orange flower water and the ounce of vodka (or other booze of choice).  You can skip the booze if you want to make this non-alcoholic.

I gave it one more filter through a fine mesh strainer as I transferred it to bottle.

Store in the refrigerator, and use within 2-3 weeks.  This will separate, just give it a good shake before using.  If after shaking it is still distinctly separate, then it’s time to throw that out and make some more.

Cheers!

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Late Summer Veggie Tart

Our son’s school was having a harvest festival / potluck last weekend, and after more than two weeks of traveling around the country, we had accumulated a bunch of veggies from our Grant Family Farms CSA share.  This was a great opportunity to move through some produce.  It tasted great and there wasn’t a bit left to take home.

Summer Veggie Tart

Crust:

2 Cups Flour (I subbed in .5 cup whole wheat flour)

1 Egg

Pinch of Salt

8 T Butter at room temperature

Cold Water

*************

Vinaigrette:

1 bunch Parsley

1 large Clove Garlic

2 sprigs Thyme

1/4 cup Olive Oil

2-3 T Balsamic Vinegar

Salt and Pepper

*************

Filling:

1/2 Cup Bacon, chopped

2 Yellow Squash (Or preferably a mix of yellow squash and zucchini)

1 Eggplant

1 Onion

1 tsp Thyme

3 T Bacon fat (or olive oil)

Salt and Pepper

2 Medium Tomatoes

1 Red Bell Pepper

Fresh Basil for garnish

For the crust, combine the flour and salt together in a bowl.  Stir in an egg, then add the butter and quickly mix it in with your hands until the flour is of more or less even coarseness.  Then add cold water by the tablespoon until you can gather the dough into a ball, about 3 T.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, lightly press into a disc shape and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450 F.

Now add the parsley, garlic, thyme, salt, pepper, olive oil and balsamic to a mortar and pestle (or a food processor) and grind to a saucy paste.

Taste and adjust seasoning.

Lightly grease a 10-12 inch tart plate with butter or olive oil.  Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it out on a lightly floured surface.

Pat it into the tart plate and pre-bake for about 10 minutes, until it just starts to color.  Then set it on a wire rack to cool.

Turn the oven down to 400 F.

Thinly slice the onion, squash/zucchini, and eggplant.

In a large skillet over medium heat, fry the bacon stirring occasionally.

Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and pour off excess bacon fat.  Add the onion and cook until translucent about 5 minutes.  Add the eggplant, squash and thyme saute until the veggies are tender.

Thinly slice the tomatoes.  Stem and seed the bell pepper and sliver.

On the crust, spread the parsley vinaigrette and when the veggies are ready, add them to the crust pressing in evenly.

Sprinkle with the bacon.  Top with the tomato slices and red pepper slivers in a nice decorative fashion.  Bake for about 30 minutes until the top starts browning and the tips of the pepper blacken slightly.

Allow to cool slightly.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Enjoy!


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