Extracting shrubs. A chore that conjures notions of swinging an ax and breaking your back with a sharp shooter shovel.
An engine hoist (machine hoist) is easily rent-able.
Rent yourself one, and get a tow strap, really sturdy rope or thick chain. This sounds difficult. It’s not. Once you have the formula down, it’s repeat, repeat, repeat until you’ve accomplished your goal.
So go on, take the challenge. Replace those dated shrubs. I know you can do it.
Ahhh, it’s coming. Summertime. Cut offs and cowboy boots. Oh, wait, I outgrew that when I was 6. It was an interesting look though. Maybe I’ll try to bring it back this year.
I digress. Texas has had a lot of distilleries pop up in the last decade or so, and some of them are doing tremendous business. When I was down there a few weeks ago, I went to the local hooch house and eyeballed what they had that was fun and new. I ended up bringing back to New York a gin called Old Highborn. It’s nice, smooth, and very affordable.
Now if you come here much, you know I like a cucumber. I wanted to fuse the summery cucumber and the dry gin in a glass with a lovely froth on top. I did a little testing and now present you The Gentleman Caller’s Texas Gin and Cucumber Martini. This makes two 4 to 5 ounce martinis or one fish bowl, ya lush.
What you need:
3 ounces dry gin (I used Old Highborn)
1 ounce elderflower liqueur
1 ounce simple syrup
2 ounces fresh lemon juice
1/2 of a large cucumber, rough peeled and chopped
1 egg white
Put 2 martini glasses in the freezer or fill with crushed ice.
Muddle the cucumber pieces thoroughly and then press the juice through a wire mesh, careful to keep seeds out of the liquid.
Fill a shaker halfway with ice. Add gin, elderflower liqueur, simple syrup, lemon juice, strained cucumber juice, and egg white. Shake like crazy.
Strain into chilled glasses. Garnish with cucumber skin if you like, but really the egg white froth is quite enough fanfare.
Few things tickle my tastebuds more than a sweet, sweet pineapple. It is easily one of my most favorite fruits.
I was contemplating test recipes one afternoon recently, and I was reminded of one of the staples my Granny used to make: the lemon Jell-o cake. Lemon Jell-o cake is really tart and tasty, but it’s old school, not exactly revolutionary, and employs a boxed cake mix. That’s not really in keeping with what I am peddling here.
But the texture of the cake is something to want to emulate. So I got on the internet to see if they made pineapple Jell-o, and sure enough, they do!
Would this be delicious as an individual cake in a little ramekin like a soufflé? What if I amended the caramel sauce in the bottom by amping it up with DeKuyper Buttershots liqueur?
I set to the kitchen, did some tests and found out. And my taste buds have not been the same since.
So here it is, The Gentleman’s Individual Pineapple Upside Down Cake.
additional room temp butter for lubricating ramekins
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
If you haven’t already, remove the skin and top and bottom from your pineapple. Remove woody core and cut into 1/2 inch slices exactly the circumference of your ramekins. Set aside.
Combine first 3 ingredients.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together 6 tablespoons butter and white sugar. Add the Jell-o, egg yolks and vanilla; mix thoroughly.
Add the dry ingredients and buttermilk, alternating dry, wet, dry, wet, dry. DO NOT OVERMIX.
Beat the eggs whites until they are stiff. Not meringue stiff, but very fluffy. Gently, with a spatula, fold the egg whites into the batter. The batter will be quite stiff.
Thoroughly butter the insides of 6 ramekins.
In a saucepan, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Add the dark brown sugar and stir constantly until the sugar dissolves completely and is bubbly. Turn off the flame and add Buttershots, continuing to whisk. The mixture will hiss when the liqueur is added. Don’t be alarmed.
Evenly distribute the caramel into the bottom of the ramekins. Place a pineapple ring on top of the caramel. Use a 1/2 cup measuring cup to spoon batter on top of the pineapple and caramel.
Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and put into the pre-heated oven for 17 minutes. Cook them until just done – which means start eye-balling them at 14 minutes to insure they don’t over cook.
Remove and allow to cool. Using a paring knife, score around the perimeter so the cake will easily separate from the vessel.
Eat. Enjoy. Have a party in your mouth.
This would also work well with 2 mini 6″ cast iron skillets, or 1 12″ cast iron. Use your brain, adjust accordingly. If you have questions, shoot me a message. The Gentleman Caller is always here for help.
Here it is once again, my friends. Creeping up on one of my favorite times of the year, when the temps get warm enough to start thinking about putting plants in the earth.
Getting my hands dirty is one of the most satisfying things you can possibly do. I come from a long line of gardening gentlemen on both sides of my family. When I was a kid growing up, I never fully appreciated the gift of fresh from the garden food. It doesn’t taste the same as store bought food.
So I am challenging you, friend, to take up the task and feed yourself!
If you think you have a black thumb, stop. The Gentleman Caller is here to offer you some tips and insights to make your experience easy and efficient.
Today I offer my cucumber trellis.
The cucumber trellis is a simple lean-to structure. You can affix it to a fence, outdoor building, garage, any structure with some integrity. It will allow your cukes to grow upward rather than spread on the ground. This makes harvesting easier, and will likely give you an increase in your yield.
I used a wooden fence. Watch the YouTube video for full instructions.
Oils are an integral part of cooking. Regardless of what you are preparing, it’s likely you will incorporate a fat, unless you are in a time machine going back the SnackWell 1990’s.
Oils are purposeful. They add flavor, they lubricate, in some cases they elevate ordinary things to spectacular dishes.
They are also malleable, and take on the flavors compounded with them over time.
So, I offer you The Gentleman Caller’s Infused Oil. This is good for salad dressing and finishing. It can be used for cooking as well, but because of the labor involved and the subtlety of the product, it’s best for dressing and finishing.
What you need:
4 cups of grapeseed oil
2 heads of garlic
4 tbsp peppercorn (black or mixed)
4 tbsp red chili flakes
4 long sprigs of fresh rosemary
the rind of a lemon
In a sturdy pot (I use a cast iron skillet), measure out your oil. Cut the heads of garlic to expose the insides of each clove. No need to peel. Place in a 250 degree oven for about an hour and a half.
Allow this to cool.
Choose your bottles or jars. I chose 1 bottle to accommodate 2 cups, and then 2 more to accommodate 1 cup each. Wash them diligently. Make sure whatever vessel you use can attain a solid seal to prevent leaking and contamination.
Combine your ingredients. For every cup of oil, you will want 1 tbsp of chili, 2 lemon peels, 1 tbsp of peppercorn and a sprig of rosemary.
Allow to sit for 2 weeks, shaking occasionally. Enjoy!