I love when blog traditions emerge, whether it is taking the month of August off (like the Italians) or making sure to herald Halloween cocktails each year. Some annual events/topics stick around, while others—like Centerpiece of the Month or Brown Bag Blues—go by the wayside (the centerpieces took way too much time to manage, and my brown bag blues blog finally slid into the snacks category of Talk of Tomatoes). Emerging traditions: annual ruminations re: crops, roundups of Thanksgiving side dishes, a trove of Christmas Cookie Recipes and providing you with a killer New Year’s Eve cocktail to ring in each New Year (check out 2010, 2011, 2012). For 2013 I am thrilled to share my Irish strawberry liquor recipe.
Come to think of it: my blog tradition is less about repetition and more about evolution.
Over 6 years, my blog has morphed from a parade of recipes to a focus on Italian food (we lived in Italy for a year plus I visited again thanks to DaVinci Wine), to a documentation of culinary school (including 5 weird things I learned). Today Talk of Tomatoes is where I flex my urban farmer muscles and talk incessantly about home canning, meeting farmers and cooking with the seasons. It has always been about my food curiosities and culinary whims, embracing holidays and soaking up the next social media outlet (currently loving: Pinterest).
You and I are staring another year in the face. We are standing at the starting line—the front gate. What will this year hold? What changes and challenges will you embrace? What will you learn? Who will you meet? Will you add a new tradition?
This is my second year making Irish Strawberry Liqueur. Which means: it is well on its way to becoming a tradition.
Irish Strawberry Liqueur Recipe
small caveat: you can make it now, but you won’t be able to drink it until… later. Perhaps a few months—but so worth it.
Make 2 cups of simple syrup (1 cup water plus 1 cup sugar; warm on stove until sugar melts, then let cool)
4 cups Irish strawberries (picked over, rinsed, no bruises)
2 1/4 cups vodka
Combine in jar, place lid and store in dark cool cupboard or pantry. When you remember it is there, strain and decant into a pretty bottle. Share as needed.
I don’t adore the texture of Irish Strawberries, but they grow wild in the PNW (including one straggler in my front yard), so I aimed to comprehend its potential. It made really gritty fruit leather, and I don’t prefer them plain. I made liqueur last season, then forgot about it for 9 months (3-4 months is plenty for the liqueur to be done—but 9 was fantastic!). Upon first sip, I was reminded of nocciola—a green walnut liqueur made in parts of southern Tuscany. Divine. I feel like I just happened upon my very own specialty liqueur (from my own yard!). It is a perfect for post-dinner sipping; I also added it to bourbon in place of sweet vermouth to make Manhattans (brilliant and worth repeating).
Irish strawberry trees don’t grow everywhere, but find out if they are near you—in which case you can put the fruit to good use!