As the cooler months approach it's exciting to think of the fall cocktail possibilities. Infusing liquors from scratch couldn't be easier, but you have to allow for time for the flavors to steep, so it's a good idea to start early. If you're looking ahead to the holidays, infused vodkas in pretty bottles make great gifts for the drink concoctors on 'the list'. Make note!
Vodka Infused with Cardamom and Ginger
Vodka Infused with Cardamom and Ginger
20 Green Cardamom pods
1 knot of ginger (about 1" x 3")
2 cups of vodka
Crush the cardamom pods lightly to release the aromatics. Slice the ginger into (4) 1/4" pieces. Place the cardamom pods and ginger in a clean jar. Pour in the vodka. Seal with a lid and give it a good swirl. Place the infusion somewhere dark. Give it a swirl daily. After a couple of weeks strain the vodka of the old cardamom and ginger. You can let it steep for longer, but I get antsy to start using it. :)
This weekend we had our first real (little) cold snap, where it was still in the low 60's at nine in the morning rather than the balmy upper 70's that we wake up to in the summer months. When the weather turns like this, all I want to do is retreat to the kitchen to cook soups and bake cakes. Today, I made a pumpkin bundt cake that is hearty enough for a breakfast cake...or you can dress it up with some maple whipped cream for a sweeter dessert.
Pumpkin Cake w/Oatmeal Streusel and Maple Whipped Cream
Ingredients for the Streusel:
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 stick of butter, cut into small cubes and chilled
Ingredients for the cake:
2 1/2 cups of all purpose baking flour (unbleached)
1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 can of pumpkin, or 15 oz. fresh pumpkin puree
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
1/2 stick of butter, melted
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
Mix up the streusel first:
Combine the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, ground ginger and salt in a medium bowl. Using your fingers, quickly pinch the butter cubes into the oat mixture until it's crumbly. Store in the fridge, until you're ready to use it.
Prepare a bundt pan by rubbing it with melted butter and dusting with all purpose flour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, stir together all of the dry ingredients for the cake.
In a medium bowl, mix the pumpkin, eggs, melted butter, oil and vanilla.
Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just mixed. Pour 1/3 of the batter into the prepared bundt pan. Sprinkle some of the streusel mix onto the batter. Repeat the layers until all of the batter and streusel are used. Bake for about an hour and 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Place the cake pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes and then turn the cake out onto the cooling rack to finish cooling. Serve warm or cool, with or without Maple Whipped Cream
Maple Whipped Cream:
In a chilled bowl, mix (on medium-high) a half pint of whipping cream until it starts to stiffen, then add 1/4 cup of real maple syrup and 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract. Continue to mix until your whipped cream is stiff enough to hold it's dollop...but before it turns to butter.
I see you, but sometimes I don't recognize you. You grow in angling twists and turns right before my eyes like some kind of stop-motion metamorphosis. Sometimes the house feels too small for these gangly limbs and this baritone voice, this need to question boundaries each and every day, this pushing and growing and pushing some more. Pardon me if I have to step outside and take a breath of the larger world around me. Some days 13 feels all consuming. I hate slammed doors, locking horns, misunderstandings. However, there are days when it all comes together. I love and value our honest conversations, shared sense of humor, and that you are brave and true...even when it's not the easy way. Yes, 13 is good...if I remember to breathe and count backwards from ten...13 is good.