Saturday, August 27, 2011

Cocktail Wednesdays: The Jack Rose & The Bronx

I have been remiss in my cocktail update duties. I have missed a full three weeks of cocktail posts. It all started when I went out with the girls for a bit of hanging out before Scott's cousin's wedding. I got home late, and forgot to get pictures of the Manhattans we had using the Maraschino cherries I made. I was planning to make another and talk about it, but my inertia has really set in, so I had best skip it and get on with it.

The Jack Rose

Last week was The Jack Rose, which is a traditional apple brandy or applejack-based drink. There were several different recipes I considered, and the ultimate selection was based on what was available. The limes I had planned to use had turned, so we had to go with a lemon juice recipe. I ran out of grenadine as well, so that aspect was closer to some of the other recipes.

The Jack Rose:

2 oz Calvados or Applejack brandy
1 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz grenadine syrup

Shake with crushed ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

The verdict: It was rather pink, not the deeper color of the Esquire photo. It smelled rather like cleaning fluid. The taste was much better than the smell, though it was too acidic. I could detect the apple and the fruitiness of the grenadine. I think I'd like to try it with lime and a different amount of grenadine, and this may not have been the best calvados, but in this state, it isn't a drink I would choose.

The Bronx Cocktail

This week was The Bronx Cocktail, which was a major staple of prohibition, and the basis of many variations.

The Bronx Cocktail:

2 oz gin
1 oz orange juice
1/2 oz dry vermouth
1/2 oz sweet vermouth

Stir over cracked ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

The verdict: The vermouth was the main flavor of the Bronx, and neither Scott nor I are big fans of vermouth. Given the proportions, it doesn't seem that it should be so strong on the vermouth. I am interested to try this with a gin with a stronger flavor profile, and fresh orange juice. That just might do the trick.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Week in Review

So, what have I been doing in all of this time that I haven't posted?

Scandinavian Cardigan

I knitted my Scandinavian cardigan up to this point, when I seem to have run out of the main yarn. I may have more of it hidden in my stash somewhere, because I thought I had enough, since I had seven seemingly large balls, but either I misplaced some, or I needed more yardage than I thought. I can easily just finish the ends of the sleeves and the bottom of the body in black, but I don't really want to work with the remaining black yarn because it was very damaged. I don't know if this was a yarn quality issue or a result of the fact that this yarn was the oldest in my stash, but for the moment, I have put it to the side, and started a project with my next-oldest yarn.

Random stripe knee highs

These will be randomly striped knee-high socks in plain stockinette, or possibly with a ribbed leg. I am using dice to determine the striping pattern and stripe size. I am carrying the other colors up the sides, and I am knitting two socks at a time, pulling from either end of each ball, so things are getting a little tangled, as you can see. It isn't a real problem yet. I do need to check my technique for carrying up the sides. I'm not sure if it's right. It seems messier than it should be.

Other things I've done lately:

Fresh Bread

Baked bread

Heirloom Tomato

Finally getting to eat local heirloom tomatoes from the neighborhood fruit stand.

Japanese Black Trifele Tomato

The first ripening tomato in our garden is still on the vine. It's my favorite variety, Japanese Black Trifele.

Belle Isle Beach

On Saturday, a friend and I went to the beach on Belle Isle. This is her photo from a previous visit. The day we went was overcast, and we just waded deep in the river rather than actually swimming. I was really impressed by how clear the water is. It's not muddy like the Chattahoochee. I could see the minnows nibbling at my toes! The water was a lovely temperature as well.

After that, we went to B. Nektar Meadery for their annual anniversary event. We tasted mead, mixed drinks made with mead, ate hot dogs from Detroit Underdog, ate home-made ice cream from Treat Dreams, and listened to bands. The mead at B Nektar was my favorite at a tasting event last year, so I was excited to check out the event. It was just an extra bonus that Treat Dreams even had salted caramel ice cream on hand, like Morelli's.

Sunday, we had a great time at a friend's birthday/housewarming, and we got to chill in their pool. I brought them fresh baked bread and salt, for a blessing, and I have received lots of compliments since they've tried it.

Monday, I helped Scott's cousin with wedding preparation. I also taught reels of four at dance class.

Tuesday, I dealt with some of the craziness that is our veggie garden.



The squash has really overgrown its bounds.


Not only is it out of its bed, it's into others.

Long Island Cheese Squash

The pumpkin-like squash is taking over the fence.

Thelma Saunders Squash

I'm not cutting them back, though, because they are fruiting in those areas.

Detroit Dark Red Beet

The Detroit Dark Red Beets are a success, and seem to already have beetroots the size of my fist.

Japanese Black Trifele Tomato

The Japanese Black Trifele is the first tomato to ripen.

Amish Paste Tomato

The Amish Paste tomatoes are bearing fruit as well.


Basil is prolific.


Sunflowers are growing as stakes for burgeoning pole beans.

Additionally, I am harvesting bush beans and small eggplants, cucumbers and melons are flowering, and the borage is having a field day.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Cocktail Wednesdays: The Cooperstown Cocktail

The Cooperstown Cocktail

Once again, I have let time get the better of me, and I am very late in posting last week's cocktail. I chose the Cooperstown Cocktail, with the thought that it should be a refreshing, minty version of a martini, and I would get to try the orange bitters for the first time.

The Cooperstown Cocktail:

1.5 oz Gin
0.75 oz Dry Vermouth
0.75 oz Sweet Vermouth
2 dashes Orange Bitters
2-3 Mint Leaves

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass
Gently shake with ice and strain into a coupe
Garnish with a sprig of mint

The verdict: The dink blended nicely, thanks to the orange bitters. The flavors flowed smoothly from the gin to the mint to the vermouth. It was definitely too heavy on the vermouth for both Scott and I, but that's not too surprising, considering it's half vermouth. I think I might even like it if the proportions changed just a little.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Maker Faire Detroit

Maker Faire Detroit 2011

The reason the last post was so late was that I have been busy. Thursday and Friday I volunteered to help set up Maker Faire Detroit in exchange for a couple of free tickets. I helped with Maker check-in and with setting up the Maker Shed. Set up was exhausting, and I didn't have much energy left on Thursday. Friday was more exciting because I got to meet a lot of interesting people and see more of the things they were presenting. Plus a friend and I hung around for the Maker mixer party. Make: Live filmed some of what was going on at the faire at that point, and you can see us in red shirts in the background.

Saturday was the day we attended the faire. Here are some photos of the things I captured before my camera died.

Maker Faire Detroit 2011

Maker Faire Detroit 2011

Maker Faire Detroit 2011

Maker Faire Detroit 2011 - Edison's stock ticker

Maker Faire Detroit 2011

Maker Faire Detroit 2011

Maker Faire Detroit 2011

Maker Faire Detroit 2011 - Circ Amongus

Maker Faire Detroit 2011

Maker Faire Detroit 2011 - Early Engine Club

You can see more photos and videos here. Some of the makers that caught my eye, or my taste buds were:

Charteuse Organic Tea, who makes fabulous caffeine-free herbal teas. My favorite was the Mountain Green.

Cheese from Traffic Jam & Snug

Willowbrook Farm Spices and Heirloom Seeds

The Cultured Cook taught me about oils

i3Detroit, OmniCorp Detroit and TechShop provide shared spaces, tools, equipment and even classes for people to make things.

Second Life Foundry welds cool things from salvaged materials.

MakerBot Industries brought new 3D printers with much higher resolution. TechZone Communications and RepRap brought open source 3D printers, many of which had parts made by other 3D printers. Shapeways will print your 3D designs for you, using many different materials, from plastic, to silver, to stainless steel, to glass.

TFB Plastics and Smooth-On should help us with perfecting some of Scott's costumes. The 501st showed some in-progress Storm Trooper suits.

Other things I enjoyed seeing were: The Coke & Mentos Fountain, The Life Sized Mouse Trap, The Power Racing Series, The Waterfall Swing. There was all kinds of cool stuff from science, to craft, to performance.