Rosemary Lemon-Ginger Vodka Spritzers

A beachside refresher

Our vacation got off to a tremulous start – what with the 5.2 earthquake and all – but we managed to get everyone safely in the car and on the road to Rosemary Beach, our almost impossibly lovely destination on the Florida Panhandle.

This place is one of those scarily-proportioned planned “towns” that seem to spring up out of the swamp land as if by magic. What I mean by scary is just the absolute perfectness about it all; it’s so self-contained and pristinely designed that it just doesn’t seem real.

And, in keeping with the Mediterranean theme of the architecture, there are rosemary bushes springing up everywhere. I don’t think that rosemary would grow here as a native plant, but it does seem to thrive in this climate, because the plants seem to grow into large hedgerows.

Rosemary might just be my favorite herb and every spring I put out numerous small plants in my garden. I always hope that one or two of them will make it through the winter, but so far that hasn’t happened.

Seeing them casually growing here to the size of happy Great Danes kind of overwhelms me. I’m starting to feel like cooking something. Or maybe I’m just thirsty.

We came up with this refreshing cocktail recipe while lounging on the beach yesterday. It’s pretty good. Might be just about time for another!


Rosemary Lemon-Ginger Vodka Spritzers

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
¼ cup peeled, chopped fresh ginger
2 large springs rosemary, plus more to garnish
Pinch of fine sea salt (seems weird, but it really makes the syrup pop with flavor)
Fresh lemons, halved
Ice cold vodka
Chilled sparkling water

Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Stir in the ginger, rosemary and salt; remove from the heat and let steep for about 10 minutes. Strain the syrup and chill.

To make a drink, squeeze fresh lemon juice to taste into a glass filled with ice. Pour in 2 ounces vodka and about 1 tablespoon syrup. Top off with the sparkling water. Take a sip, and add more syrup if you like. Add a rosemary spring for garnish. Cheers!

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Copyright (c) 2008 FamilyStyle Food

Farm Fresh Summer Tomato Salad

Simplicity in a bowl – fresh ripe tomatoes
After a just one week here in Maine, I’m reveling in the peak of summer produce – what could be better? 

The weekly bounty

My Missouri friend Alanna (of A Veggie Venture), and Stephen Cooks, have been maintaining a virtual relationship with the folks at Wolf Pine Farm, a community-supported farm in southern Maine. In a simple twist of fate, it happens to be the very same CSA that my sister and brother-in-law belong to, and is always at the top of my list of places to visit during our annual summer trips.

As I helped L gather her weekly share, I couldn’t help thinking that summer is almost over – all the more reason to savor the simple, fleeting pleasures of sweet summer tomatoes.

Simple Summer Tomato Salad

Fresh tomatoes, in a a variety of colors and sizes
Extra-virgin olive oil, the best you can find
Salt
Finely sliced red onion, optional 

Serve the tomatoes in a bowl, drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt. Stir in some sliced onions, if you’re feeling adventurous.

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Weekend Herb Blogging: Lavender Lemonade

Herbal Refreshment

In my front-door herb garden, my lavender plants are in the starring role right now — you can smell the blooms from across the street!

I’ve been noticing lots of recipes for lavender that are intriguing me (rubs, panna cottas, roasted chickens and shortbread cookies), but time is of the essence, and today is hot.

I saw this recipe in the August issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray (She’s everywhere!) and made up a batch. It has a nice undertone of lavender and seems to be a perfect partner with lemon.

Susan at FoodBlogga is hosting Weekend Herb Blogging this week. Go on over and check out what’s growing and cooking.

Lavender Lemonade
adapted from Everyday with Rachael Ray

7 cups boiling water
2 tablespoons fresh lavender flower buds
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice

Pour 3 cups of the water over the lavender in a heat-proof bowl; let steep 15 minutes. Pour remaining water over sugar in another large heat-proof bowl and stir until dissolved.

Strain lavender mixture and pour into a pitcher along with water and lemon juice. Chill.

Serve over ice with a lavender sprig.

Beautiful Bins of Lavender at the Portland Farmer’s Market

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