National Garlic Day
Today is National Garlic Day, and I thought, what better way to celebrate than with pungent snacks, spicy drinks, and vampires in leather jackets?
The best way to fully enjoy the glorious garlic appreciation that is below is to watch the campy '87 classic The Lost Boys as you go. If you (somehow) haven't already seen this film, it follows two teenage brothers as they move to a new town in California, only to discover that it is overrun by a gang of bad boy vampires, led by whom they conclude to be the head vampire, David, played by Keifer Sutherland, in all his evil, mullet sporting, earring wearing glory.
I highly suggest this drinking game, brought to you by the amazing site Drinking Cinema. Check out their site, it's amazing. You can play this game as you're making these tasty treats, or wait until you have a bloody mary in hand and a plate full of crostino on the table and start up then.
Below you will find a recipe for my ever popular Garlic Dill Crostini Spread, and of course, to keep up with the theme we have goin' here, my recipe for Fresh Bloody Mary Mix with homemade Garlic/Jalapeno Infused Vodka, the final lap around that Too Into It extra mile (short of filling your bathtub up with garlic, I suppose).
Garlic and Jalapeño Infused Vodka
To start, let me just say a little something about infusing liquor in general. First, it's the easiest damn thing to do, if you haven't tried it already. Second, by doing so you give yourself the control over what kinds of flavors and spice you want out of what you're drinking, whether it's to add a nice accent to a cocktail (like today's recipe) or just to be consumed alone on ice. I assure you, if you drink hard liquor much at all (and I know you do), you will benefit from at least trying this out (plus, they make awesome gifts!)
The process of infusing liquor is as simple as finding a glass jar or bottle, stuffing it full herbs, roots, fruit, etc. and then filling it up with vodka, bourbon, gin, etc. Hell, it CAN be as easy as putting a vanilla bean straight into a bottle from the liquor store, but I think we can step it up a smiggin.
For the Bloody Mary recipe, I prepared a Garlic/Jalapeno Infused Vodka. I used:
- A 750 ml of simple vodka (You don't want to buy the super low end stuff, however don't waste a ton of money buying something you're just gonna alter the taste of either. I went with Seagram's Extra Smooth. It's also worth saying that I only used about 1/2 of the bottle to do the infusing, because I like having the option of "watering" it down with plain vodka if necessary, especially with spicy mixes. I suggest doing that if you are new to the process or are a baby when it comes to spiciness.)
- A fresh jalapeno (Again, know thyself! If you can handle intense heat, you may be able to drop a couple in there, or cut them open, which can add a nice bite. However, don't go overboard, because too much heat can actually burn the liquor and make it virtually inedible.)
- Around 6 garlic cloves, without the skin (If you are making the whole 750ml bottle, I suggest doubling this amount.)
- A mason jar or some sort of glass container with an airtight lid
Now, the process goes exactly as follows:
- put the whole jalapeno and skinless garlic cloves into the jar
- fill jar to the top with the vodka
- close the jar tight, store at room temperature (in a liquor cabinet is ideal)
- wait a few days to drink
Tada! Easy as shit. Now that being said, there are various different things you could infuse your liquor with, which will all take different amounts of time. With hot peppers, you only want to let them sit in there for a couple days, tops. And if I wanted to use the finished vodka later than that, I could, I would just want to strain out the fresh ingredients, seal it up again, and it's just fine as other liquor (make sure you get out all the fresh stuff though!). Sometimes I'll infuse with things like fruit, which I will do over the course of a month by removing and then adding fresh ingredients every five days or so.
Fresh Blood Mary Mix
For this recipe, you'll need:
- a high powered blender or food processor (I use a Ninja Professional)
- 5 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 5 tablespoons lime juice, freshly squeezed, extra for garnish
- 1/2 curly parsley, roughly chopped (try and remove most stems
- 2 celery stalks, roughly chopped (how roughly entirely depends on the strength of your food processor or blender. I could technically through the whole damn stalk in mine if I wanted to--yours may be a lot different), extra for garnish
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh horseradish, finely chopped
- 3 heirloom tomatoes, peeled (I used two medium ones and one big guy)
- 4 regular tomatoes, peeled
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt, extra to taste
- 2 teaspoons coarse ground pepper, extra to taste
- 3 tablespoon Worcester sauce (I used The Wizards Organic Vegan), extra to taste
- hot sauce to taste (I used Tabasco)
- Roughly chop tomatoes and put into blender and liquefy (once in the Ninja mine came to about 9 cups solid, 6 1/2 cups blended, so you may have to do in batches or cut down recipe to fit the size of yours)
- Toss in the celery, parsley, and horseradish and blend some more. Really try and liquefy it. Then strain to remove the bulk of the pulp, and throw back into the blender.
- Toss in the lemon juice, lime juice, Worcester sauce, salt and pepper and blend again.
- Strain and store in the fridge, covered for at least a few hours, ideally overnight.
- When you're ready to take it out, be sure to test it and add whatever you see fit for your taste (possibly more citrus juice or Worcester?). Remove excess foam if there is any.
- Throw back into the blender with a handful or so of ice and vodka (I used a ratio of 3 cups mix : 1 cup vodka, however we ended up adding more per glass :X), blend and strain (mostly to remove foam).
- Put in a pitcher and serve, on ice, with celery stalk "stakes" and a lime wedge. Allow people to add their own hot sauce to their liking.
Garlic Dill Crostini Spread
- 2/3 cup neufchautel cheese
- 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup fresh dill
- 1/4 cup fresh curl parsley
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 4 raw garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
- a fresh baguette (I use a thin french bread)
- a food processor
- an oven / cookie sheet
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Blend the first eight ingredients in the food processor
- Cut baguette into slices, place on ungreased cookie sheet
- Spread mixture onto slices
- Throw in oven for 5-7 minutes
- Devour gleefully!
So there you have it.
I hope you found something to try, something you liked, and something to bite.
(Okay that's my cue to leave----thanks for reading!)