Saturday, September 5, 2009

Why I like booze...

..Did I get your attention? Ha! I thought so! This post is.. well, it's food-related. And it's about Vodka. And Beer. But mostly vodka.

What's hilarious is that somewhere out in blogworld there is a reader saying "I thought Traci was a Christian blogger!!" Well, I can assure you that while my days of drinking for recreation have basically fallen by the wayside, I am not afraid to use alcohol for food purposes. (Especially in methods that allow the alcohol to mostly cook itself off)

So this post is dedicated to how handy it has been for me to have vodka in my cupboard. It all started back at Christmas. I wanted to make some homemade gifts for people and I scoured my favorite blogs and sites for ideas. I stumbled upon Suzanne's recipe for homemade vanilla extract and it was obvious. I was going to make real vanilla extract. So off to the store I went. The liquor store that is. And home I came with a big bottle of vodka. (not the expensive brand either, because I just couldn't bring myself to spend that much.) **Disclaimer that to be perfectly honest I sent Michael to the liquor store..** Then on grocery night I splurged and bought vanilla beans from Wegmans. (I've since decided to order them from an online supplier)

I'm not going to reiterate the recipe here because that would be redundant. You can go visit The Farmhouse Table at Chickens in the Road to read it for yourselves. But just know that it's uber easy and the bottles make a good gift along with a jumbo muffin tin and some other baking gadgets. (Well at least I thought it was a good gift, but then again I was the giver)

Fast forward to this week. I'm STILL making my own vanilla extract. Did you know that the imitation vanilla is somehow made from waste product of paper mills? Is there anything more revolting than this idea? Here is my delicious cookie but it's made from the leftover gook that comes from processing paper. Yuck. Might as well be back in kindergarten eating paste. Not that I ever did that. Seriously, I didn't.

Back on track. I don't know if I'll ever not make my own vanilla extract again. The real extract in the store is really expensive, just as expensive if not more than the ingredients for the homemade stuff. And just knowing that I made it myself so I know exactly what's in it is wonderful in itself. In fact, I planted anise in my herb garden this year and I've been wondering if I could make anise extract. I should google it.

Another adventure with alcohol has been with my barbecue sauce recipe. I make a barbecue pulled pork that my husband goes wild for. And it calls for a bottle of beer. I have to say that I've tried to substitute other things to try and get the same flavor but I haven't found anything yet. (Mostly because I know how much people love the sauce but some are.. hesitant to accept the alcoholic ingredient, although it's boiled down mostly in the sauce.) All I know is the sauce is outstanding. (I'll be posting that recipe at some point in the future I'm sure.)

And then back to the vodka. Also from Suzanne at Chickens in the Road I've learned how to make my own Kahlua, which is a coffee liqueur. It's so easy. And although I don't have the want/need for a big jar of Kahlua in my house at all times, when I came across a Kahlua Brownie recipe that called for either the real Kahlua or coffee extract.. well I knew EXACTLY how to make them. I just could make a mini batch of Suzanne's Kahlua. And I know from experience that if something calls for a liqueur or an extract it's not always wise to substitute something else.. say perhaps some strong coffee instead. It may have a similar flavor but it can affect the consistency of the batter and the finished product may end up mush.

This may have been a random post, but it was indeed food related and since my mom has been posting recipes fast as fast can be.. well I felt like I should chime in with SOMETHING. So what better to post than the fun I've been having lately with alcohol.


ALWP said...

Thanks for the post! I've been thinking about making my own vanilla extract. I have also found that a solution of vodka and water (1 part vodka to 3 parts warm water in a spray bottle) shines stainless steel faucets better than anything else I've ever used!

Karen said...

I definetly think that pulled pork sauce is worth posting ! I like the fact it's not so sweet like some. Yikes ! If vodka can clean a sink think of what it does to your organs. :(