Recipe for a dreary day

There are pros and cons of working freelance; however, one of the good things about it is that you can declare a “mental health” day when needed (within reason). Since I’m having a hiatus (but expecting incoming work so I know that I can’t do it again for a while, I’ve declared today a “duvet day: a mental health day in advance.

It’s not actually raining–merely drizzling so the patter of rain on the roof is missing, but it’s a duvet day!

Duvet Day

Ingredients

Take one chilly, dreary, drizzly, or rainy day and add as needed

  • One duvet
  • One cat (or more) or dog (or more)
  • Several good books of various genres  (hardcopy or digital, or both)*
  • PocketJuice for uninterrupted reader or tablet use**
  • Music to taste

Add sporadically throughout the day as required:

  • Tea (Harney & Sons) and toast***
  • More tea or herbal tea
  • Grilled cheese sandwich with soup of choice–chicken or tomato perhaps…. (sorry, not Campbell’s)****
  • Additional warm beverage as needed
  • Popcorn  (with truffle salt)*****
  • More books, as needed
  • Good bread, cheese, fruit, and wine for supper
  • Hot chocolate  (with a dollop of Jabberwock or Krupnikas), repeat as needed

Preparation

Combine as needed in desired quantities. A son gôut!

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*J. J. Salkeld is good–Lake country, non-bloody mysteries.

** external battery pack if you’re going digital. Large, heavy (as these devices go, usually used only for travel) but supplies a day’s worth of reading and keeping up with Facebook on a tablet,

***Coffee not applicable; get-up-and-go beverage not useful; favorite tea or herbal infusion

**** Progresso Hearty Tomato is easily turned into cream of tomato with just a dollop of heavy cream as you heat, but don’t let it boil

*****from Bull City Olive Oil (yummy, especially if a little olive oil is used to pop the corn)

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Jabberwock

Jabberwok liqueurI love the names of the liqueurs from the Brothers Vilgalys. Jabberwock conjures up some interesting images for me–something dark, smoky,  and exciting, and maybe just a tad bit scary.

I can’t say which of these liqueurs I like best–they are all so different, so I  have them all, but this one is close to the top of the list–partly because I love strong, black coffee and I like the spice of chilies.

The ingredient list for this one includes coffee, chicory, lemongrass, eucalyptus, manzano & chipotle peppers. Just like the other liqueurs from Brothers Vilgalys the flavors just unfold as you sip. There is definitely some heat–it’s going to make your mouth feel warm. With the first sip there is the “brightness” of the lemongrass and the eucalyptus, then the heat starts to build, but the heat doesn’t hide the “dark” coffee and chickory. The lemongrass and the eucalyptus come through in the nose. There’s a long, warm finish where the smokiness of the chipotles lingers, even as the heat fades. Another winner!

(It’s a fantastic addition to hot drinking chocolate–the coffee and the chickory enhancing the chocolate flavor and the chilies adding some spice.)

Beebop

Vilgalys BeeBop liqueurYou are encountering something unusual–I’ve found a liqueur that I like–another one.  I’ve posted about Krupnikas, and about Beatnik–well, here’s another that I really like: Beebop.  Again from the Brothers Vilgalys, here in Durham. I’m a serious fan of this one too. It’s another vegetable in an unexpected place–not quite so unexpected as the beets since rhubarb is used to make wine.

The aroma is bright and warm. The first taste is bright, and spicy. As it warms in your mouth, there’s definite tartness (the rhubarb–not puckery or sharp at all) and a bit of floral tanginess (the hibiscus); it makes me think of sunshine. Then there’s forest warmth (allspice, chamomile, and rosemary combination perhaps) spreads though your mouth. The finish is long with the coriander really blossoming at the end.

Another awesome blend of vegetable, spices, herbs, and botanicals.  As this warms slightly above room temperature in my hands (in a snifter) the middle flavors become more complex.  For sipping these liqueurs definitely need to be treated  like a fine brandy–warmed slightly so that all the flavors come out, and in a balloon/snifter so that you can really get your nose into your appreciation of all the aromas as well as the tastes. With this one as with the Krupnikas and other liqueurs, it’s the balance. The allspice is more pronounced, pushing this toward warm flavor, but balanced by the “forest” flavor and the final long finish where the coriander comes out.

The Brothers Vilgalys describe this a tart and savory, with a dry finish.  Agreed, but it’s much more complex–this is serious sipping stuff.

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Beets in a surprising place

bottle and glass of Beatnik

Beatnik liqueur

If you’re any sort of a “regular” here I’m sure that you are aware that I think beets are under-appreciated vegetables. I’ve posted a number of beet recipes that I’ve found on other blogs and that I like. Last week I got an unusual (I mean they don’t bombard you with emails) from the Brothers Vilgalys who produced the Krupnikas about which I posted.  Well the email introduced some new liqueurs. (Note that this is a liqueur; it is not a cocktail called beatnik.)

The first that I’m sampling is the Beatnik. I don’t know what that conjures up for you, but it is a fantastic taste.  (You aren’t surprised, are you? Not given my fondness for beets!)

I suppose that the last place you’d expect beets to show up would be in a liqueur.  I was surprised when I read the description, but I just had to try it.

So, here is a liqueur with beets in it, described in the email as “An unusual liqueur made with Beets & Savory Herbs. Draws a bit of inspiration from an old Estonian liqueur I read about. Goes great with Gin drinks.”

I can tell you it is awesome! The beets are tempered/seasoned with orange zest, rosemary, thyme, sage, and fennel. I doubt that you could pick each one out as they blend so smoothly.  I’m sampling it “straight” this evening, but I’m going to try a splash of seltzer, as I’ve found that the Krupnikas (for warm weather) does nicely with that.

There are three others. I had a telephone call from the Woodcroft ABC store this afternoon to let me know that these had arrived. The Beebop was missing (that one has rhubarb and other goodies), but Jabberwock (coffee, chickory and some spicy things) and Zaphod (which is a fruity, minty one) were available.  I’ll be reporting on those in the fairly near future.

I’m just entranced by the nose of the Beatnik. The beets are certainly not obscured by the herbs and the orange zest–it all just blends together into a lovely earthy, beety, resiny, woodsy flavor.  In a word, awesome.

It gives me some ideas for seasoning beets as a vegetable too.