Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Behold...Nature's Bounty!

Dang yo...the Green City Market got right.  Whether your needs are for fruits and herbs for summer cocktails or food for the family, the market is bursting with local produce.  It took a while to get here (seasonally speaking) but all of the produce is coming on line.  I quickly noticed all the cherries around.  We got Tart Michigans, Rainier, Yellow Rainier, Sweet Michigans, Laser Cherries (I might have made that one up)...I walked around popping these suckers in my mouth you could say I was a real....

...sorry.  That was bad and stupid.  I am curious how much of that video you actually watched.

Anyways....I like tart cherries but really wanted some sweet ones.  I scooped up a whole pallet of perfect Sweet Michigan Cherries at Klug farms where the uber-nice Abby helped take care of me.
 Literally, everyone of these cherries looked perfect.  Last week, I made a delicious cordial out of black currants.  The cordial gives you the added benefit of both magnifying flavor and allowing the product to last.  I am already thinking about cherry cordial.  I want to add a herbal component and was thinking about rosemary.  I hopped on the horn and called Nicole (she let's me date her) and asked her to consult the Flavor Bible.  If you don't have a Flavor Bible you should rethink things....
Rosemary might work.  But in our high speed world it worth consulting a book like this (which consulted scientists and chefs) to learn that sage or clove might work better, for expediency alone.  I am going to use one of those instead.  Of to the races.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Black Currant Gimlet

So I made the black currant cordial.  I started with a rich simple syrup and added the currants along with some lemon juice and cinnamon.  After double straining and cooling...I had a lot of cordial.  Probably five liters worth.  But man it is so good.  Everyone should be making this stuff.

I always knew in the back of my head that with the right gin that this would make a great fruit infused gimlet.  But initially I tried to go the whiskey route.  After, a couple of versions with Bulleit Rye (which is great incidentally) that I liked but wasn't completely satisfied with I made a gimlet. worked. Eureka!

Black Currant Gimlet

2.25 oz. Death's Door Gin
1 oz. Black Currant Cordial (Using Nichols Farm Black Currants)
1 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
Shaken and strained over ice

Starts sweet.  Tart mid palate.  Finishes dry with gin botanicals and a little fruity earthiness from the currants.  Please come try one today at Henri 18 S Michigan.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Accordions and Currants

At the Green City Market a little after 7 am today.  This is by far the earliest I have ever been here.  Very mellow this early.  This vibe was only heightened by....
...the soothing sounds of the accordion.  There is a bounty of foodstuffs when you get to the market this early and I vowed to always be this early (probably not gonna happen).  There are cherries and blueberries everywhere.  I even still see some strawberries.  I didn't know what to do until I bumped into a friend in the form of Chicago Chef extraordinare Troy Graves...
This picture was actually taken at the market.

Anyway, Troy had already been there for a second and scooped up provisions for Montarra, the restaurant he helms up in Algonquin.  He's showing me squash blossoms, asparagus and...currants.
These black currants come from Nichols farm.  There is a reason why we don't see black currants all over this country of ours.  They ain't from here.  black currants hail from England and only fairly recently are great farms like Nichols introducing us to them.  In England black currant jam on crumpets is a staple.  After a little research I learned that an even bigger staple is black currant cordial where you reduced the currants with water and sugar.  Not only is this tasty but packed with vitamins and antioxidants.  As I learned online, English school children were practically raised on this stuff.  Apparently the only thing black currant cordial doesn't provide a growing body is Flouride.....Ziiiinngg!

I have always read about how much British bartenders love the cordials in cocktails and I plan to make my own.  I also scooped up some slightly less intense but beautiful red currants for garnish.

Here we go Wednesday double.  Check back tomorrow for my black currant cocktail.  Or don't.