If I was to choose one boozy beverage to sip for the rest of my days it would be the classic “G & T”…gin & tonic, with a squeeze of lime. It’s refreshing, lightly fizzy, lovingly sour, perfectly bitter, and just a smidge sweet. Most people tend to sip it in the warm spring or summer months, but I indulge year ’round – although there is little else that’s better than an ice cold gin & tonic on a hot, sunny evening after a long day’s work. And that’s about where we’re at right now – it’s officially G & T season!
Although there isn’t a drop of Irish blood in my family tree, without fail every March 17th my mom would cook up a HUGE batch of corned beef and cabbage…I say huge because I’ve got 6 brothers and sisters, so 9 of us all together–we’re pretty much our own baseball team. We all devoured it, dressed in as much green as we could possibly find to cover us head to toe. And woe betide the sibling who forgot…our pinchers were at the ready, and we weren’t a gentle bunch!
Rhubarb is one of those foods I’ve always been leery of. It kinda looks like celery, but people make pie out of it…huh? Is it a fruit? Is it a vegetable? Are you really supposed to eat it? Or is it just one of those foods that people “back in the day” happened upon, were hungry, and had to figure out a way to make it edible. To me, rhubarb is one of those weird ingredients my grandma used, mostly in pies or crisps. But is it really necessary these days? We have so much other incredible fruit available that rhubarb seems a bit…um, old school. Plus, it’s so tart and sour you have to add a butt-load of sugar just to make it palatable (yes, “butt-load” is a technical term in my kitchen).
Nonetheless, as suspicious as I am of these odd, pale green and blush pink stalks, my culinary curiosity gets the best of me. It’s in season and starting to pop up at farmers markets and through my CSA. So, what can I make with this stuff that ISN’T pie? When in doubt, add booze! I’ve made several flavored vodkas (cucumber, peach, hot pepper) and figured that was the perfect vehicle for this peculiar, in-your-face-flavored perennial…and it’s so darn simple, plus it makes a really cool gift! Here’s the gist: wash fruit or veggies, chop, add to jar, pour in vodka, let sit for a week, strain, get drunk…I mean, enjoy!
I am usually very skilled at killing plants. Though my intentions are good and I try my best to keep them alive, they’d much prefer to croak than endure my underwatering/overwatering/too much sun/not enough sun/is this the right kind of soil efforts. If having a green thumb is necessary to sustain the lovely gifts of nature, then I’m all fingers. Until now. About a month ago I was given a gorgeous peppermint plant and somehow have been able to prevent the thing from succumbing to it’s Jaime-induced demise. In fact, it’s growing like crazy! So what’s a girl to do with all this beautiful mint? I decided to have a nice, little tea party. Mint-themed, and with gin. Heck yeah!