How to Make Sweet Kaffir Lime Liqueur

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Here’s how to make an exotic kaffir lime based variation on Limoncello.  Limoncello is a sweet Italian liqueur made with lemon-peel infused vodka (or grain alcohol) and simple syrup.  Our variation adds a exotic twist to a fantastic summer treat.

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Kaffir lime leaves are one of the signature flavors of Thai food. They’re often available at asian grocery stores in small bunches, but the trees are also available at some nurseries. When they first leaf out, the young double-lobed leaves are purplish, tender, and very spicy. The flavor of kaffir lime is a distinct citrus flavor, as different from lime as lemon, orange, and grapefruit are from one another. The kaffir lime tree also produces fruit (wrinkly little spherical green lime), and the zest of that fruit contains the same flavor as the leaves.  However, it’s generally easier to obtain the leaves, as they are found more commonly in Thai cooking.

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As the leaves mature to green, they mellow in flavor and begin to toughen. We usually pick them when they’ve just turned bright green, but are still tender.

Making Limoncello is a straightforward (but slightly lengthy) process of adding lemon zest to vodka or other neutral strong spirits, waiting several weeks, and then adding simple syrup and waiting a bit more. Our favorite Limoncello recipe served as a starting point of this variation. We also found a forum discussing the idea of using Kaffir limes, which gave us a starting point in terms of the number of leaves to use.

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Step 1: Add 20 washed and dried leaves in a one-liter bottle of good quality vodka. (Our favorites are Polish or Austrian potato vodkas like Monopolowa and Luksosawa.)

A common and traditional variation is to use straight grain alcohol that allows you to use a shorter infusing period. However, following the GIGO principle, we’ve generally found that starting with a drinkable input results in a more drinkable output.

Set the bottle it in the back of a cupboard and forget about it for about a month. If you happen to see it on occasion, shake it a bit and open it to see how it smells. You’ll want to make Thai food.

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After a few weeks, the leaves will have leached their favor (and a hint of their color) into the vodka.

Step 2: Dissolve 1 3/4 cups sugar completely in 2 1/2 cups water. Microwaving it in a glass measuring cup for a couple of minutes will typically get it warm enough to dissolve.

Step 3: Thoroughly cool the simple syrup, to at least room temperature. (It’s okay to leave it in the fridge overnight.) If it is not fully cooled, it can result in an opaque final product.

Step 4: Pour the infused vodka and the simple syrup into a larger bottle (or multiple small ones), discarding the leaves.

Most variations on this kind of recipe suggest waiting a few days after making it “for it to mellow,” although you may not be able to resist trying it first.

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Cheers!

 

Improved Cucumber Martinis

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One of the finest cocktails that we have ever come across is the cucumber martini, a cocktail which– correctly executed–can be a bracingly refreshing blast of intense cucumber flavor, highlighting what is perhaps an under-appreciated member of the melon family.

Unfortunately, cucumber martinis often fail to live up to their potential, ending up as watery infusions that might be mistaken for scented mineral water. And that’s an injustice.

To set the record straight, here is how to make your own thoroughly-awesome cucumber martini. To go one step further, we present three distinct variations: the Sweet Vodka Cucumber Martini, the gin-based Savory Cucumber Martini, and the non-alcoholic Cucumber Fizzy. Continue reading

Indian-style Cranberry Chutney

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Or, How to make Indian-spiced cranberry sauce.

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, it’s the time of the year when fresh cranberries are in the stores, and it’s also the time of the year when we are looking for unusual flavor combinations for traditional ingredients. In that spirit, here’s a fantastic sweet, spicy and savory Indian-style cranberry chutney modeled after our favorite tamarind chutney recipe from the excellent Indian cookbook, Indian Home Cooking. Cranberries are tart like tamarind, so they work well here and bring a distinct new flavor to a familiar sauce.

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How to make precision fine line edible ink pens

A guest project by Dan Newman, contributing Evil Mad Scientist.

Egg Warning Label

For my Eggbot plotting, I’ve had two seemingly exclusive goals: to execute
designs with food safe inks, and to use pens capable of producing fine, crisp
lines. Now, thanks to Lenore’s recent investigation of food safe markers combined with a simple five minute pen modification, it’s possible to achieve both goals with the same pen. Yes, I can have my eggs and eat them too!

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Evaluating some Food Safe Markers

Food Marker Brands

We have, at a number of different times, come across situations where it was desirable to use a food safe marker. One example is our custom message hearts project, another is in the course of making circuitry snacks. The topic came up again recently in discussions of Dan Newman’s Nutrition Information and Omelet Recipe eggs, where commenters were debating whether or not one should eat an egg after it has been written on.

There are three types of food safe markers readily available in the US. We tested all three in an Eggbot and just for kicks, by hand on a bit of rolled out fondant.

Black Comparison, Large Text

The primary differences between the markers were in the shades of the red and black, the ink flow rates, and the texture and shape of the nibs. Colors like blue, green and yellow didn’t show significant differences, although it should be noted that the blues in all cases (no matter what color the plastic was) were closer to a sky blue.

Food Marker Tips

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