Friday, August 7, 2009

Summer Livin'

Ginger beer - first batch
Again, due to the baby preparations and the new job, outdoor rec opportunities have been...nada. But I've tried to experiment with a few things around the house. One is ginger beer - one of our favorite (non-alcoholic) things to drink. I found Jeffrey Morgenthaler's recipe on his blog and used it....decent results. This ginger beer is actually "beer" - it contains champagne yeast and is fermented for 2 days before the fermentation is put on ice. It smells alcoholic and I read somewhere (maybe Jeffrey's blog??) that the beverage has about 0.5% alcoholic content. Since I don't have a juicer, I was unable to use real, fresh ginger juice, so I just used standard ginger powder, soaked it in water and lime juice, and tried to figure out the equivalency. It worked OK, but between the powder residue and the dead yeast, there are a lot of "fines" in each 40oz bottle, as you can see in the picture above. Smaller bottles are advisable but are more expensive. Jeffrey's blog recommended the EZ-cap bottles and I agree...especially if you get the cheap 40oz bottles like I did.
So how is the taste? The ginger beer is hot, and the heat grows as you continue to drink it. This is the effect I was going for. However (perhaps because I used ginger powder), the taste is a little bit "hollow." The drink is quite dry and crisp, which is good. I successfully filled out the taste by adding a little bit of vanilla extract. Next time, I will use powder again, but I will be using fresher, organic, Chinese ginger. Logic would have you using Jamaican ginger (since this is such a reknowned Jamaican beverage), but from everything I've read, the Chinese ginger is more robust and offers a complex taste (with the same or greater heat). We'll see how that batch works, and then maybe upgrade to "ginger juice."

Cinammon-Grilled peaches
At my wife's request, I skinned some very ripe peaches, sliced them, and....grilled them. This is taken straight from the pages of my main man Bobby Flay, who while being a little annoying, is capable of grilling a spare tire and making it delicious. Here's his recipe for the peaches. I just threw the stuff together in a "foil basket" for over the Weber, and it worked! Obviously, unlike Bobby Flay, I did not use whole cinnamon sticks. They turned out perfectly - brown sugar reduces beautifully over red coals. I'm telling you, this was easy and it was delicious. Unless you burn them, or overdo it on the secondary spices (I used nutmeg, Bobby suggests mint), you can't go wrong!

The Old Boy goes for a swim
At least somebody's getting out on the water...our 13 year old Chessie/Lab mix.


{nUtTyPrOfFeSsOr} said...

yum-o. millions of peaches....


wow...that Cinammon-Grilled peaches look so delicious....slurrrppp..

Surabhi said...

you don't need a juicer to make fresh ginger juice...paul and i put our ginger in the food processor and then squeeze the juice out using a sieve.

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