spring officially arrived on march 20th, and i have yet to officially acknowledge it here. (probably because it's barely broken 50 degrees in seattle in the last 6 weeks and that's a buncha--sorry, what? me? oh no no, i'm not bitter!)
so, a month late and without further delay, my spring 2011 posts will begin the way all things should--with a big ol' bloody mary.
bloody marys, full octane or virgin, embody everything i consider wonderful. rich, red tomato awesomeness, black pepper, salty brine, spice that makes your eyelids sweat just a little--YUM. i used to keep a bottle of mix on hand for a jolt of tomato/spice in the morning or as a mid-afternoon boost, but last summer decided to try making my own.
i started by juicing pounds and pounds of tomatoes using my juiceman, and froze the juice until i could get around to my project. last week i finally thawed some and went for it. ya know, it was really, really good! the juice simmered with chopped veggies for a while, then it was all blended into essentially a drinkable, spicy tomato salad. it tastes terrific on it's own as a juice, and is a great base for customizing your own bloody mary with more horseradish, worcestershire, black pepper, lemon, preserved lemon, lime, olives, pickled veggies, bacon, seafood--and the poison of your choice. (if you're really into heat, try adding a bit of hot monkey vodka from portland's new deal distillery, but be warned--you'll wanna take baby steps adding this stuff. it is seriously fiery!)
i've looked around online and realized that i could've just cooked my tomatoes down instead of put them through the juicer. i think next year i'll definitely try this approach, since the yield using the juice is kind of low--can't remember how many tomatoes it took to get a quart + a pint of juice, but it was plenty, and the juice cooked down to a quart of bloody mary mix. anything that adds to the yield is a good thing, if you ask me!
homemade bloody mary mix
makes about 1 quart
(all measurements approximate, and mostly "to taste." experiment with your own, and leave suggestions in the comments! i'm totally giving this another go in a couple of days!)
1 quart + 1 pint juice from fresh tomatoes
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1/4 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1/4 red pepper, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped and loosely packed
some salt, some fresh cracked pepper
combine all ingredients and simmer, partially covered, about 1 hour. vegetables should be very tender, juice should be slightly reduced. allow to cool a bit and blend until pureed. (may need to blend in batches.) don't blend hot! it will blow the top off of your blender and you'll be cleaning up tomato juice for weeks.
return to pot and taste. (i simmered a bit longer with the added spices--not sure if it was necessary, but i felt fine about it. ) add the following to taste:
more fresh cracked pepper
lemon juice (i added juice from almost 1 whole lemon)
couple of splashes of sherry vinegar
1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce (make your own, it's stupid-good!)*
1 tsp prepared horseradish (put a little of the juice mixture in a bowl, whisk in the horseradish, then add the mix back to the pot for easiest integration.)
dashes of your favorite hot sauce
stir, taste, add. stir, taste, add. when ya like it, chill and enjoy as is, or wait until saturday morning and spike it up!
tomatoes and red bell pepper from last fall from alvarez farms
carrots from willie greens organics
pint glass from one of our favorite stops in prosser, whitstran brewing!
*note: omit or use vegetarian worcestershire for a vegetarian/vegan version