In Britney Spears’ famous words: Oops!… I Did It Again! I always forget to take note in my agenda the date of my blog’s anniversary and I get a flash a couple of days, if not a week, later. So here we are, a belated celebratory post. On June 14th Cheap Ethnic Eatz turned 7 years old! No elaborate complicated recipes for this celebration. Instead, I present you with what I could call liquid gold. A very precious and rare liquid, here is a homemade recipe for a delectable Pistachio Syrup.
Plus we’ll make a marvelous yet very simple Pistachio Coconut Cake with the left over pistachio meal. And I will be giving away a small bottle of this pistachio syrup.
Every year I am stomped. What do you say? Is it called Blog Anniversary, Blogiversary or Blogoversary? I never now, which one would you use? It feels funny to write variations of the same paragraph. So let’s change it up again this year. I am ever so grateful for all my readers and followers. Of course you make the blog alive and you are a big inspiration. I have a smile on my face every time I get an email announcing a new comment or a personal email from a fellow foodie.
But that alone cannot be fuel enough to continue writing. What is the fuel is the passion, a passion for food. So this year I want to dedicate my anniversary to specific people: first my parents who pushed my culinary tastes buds; second my friends when I was about 14 up who gladly accepted my dinner invitations for 4 course meals; third every single member that ever joined the Cheap Ethnic Eatz dinner group which went on from March 2007 to June 2010 – I met hundreds of people there and I love running into some old members once in while; and finally fourth my friends. Some of you I have know for years, some I met through the dinner group, some of you are more recent additions to my life. You keep the fire alive every time we invite each other over for dinners or pot-lucks, make a group reservation at a fancy restaurant or the simple understated favorite. And of course all the food festivals or shows we attend as a group.
I really made an effort to push my food boundaries this year. Regular readers know I always like to try the most unusual recipes and discover unknown ingredients. My favorite ones this year are:
- the Kaffir Lime Ginger and Gin Ice Cream
- the Stout and Chicken Stew
- the Burnt Eggplant Salad with Green Tahini Dressing
- the homemade Fourme d’Ambert blue cheese
- the Caribbean Rum Cake with Coconut
- not a recipe but the fun Alien Hand Autopsy Halloween post
But my biggest challenge this year was without a doubt the 10 week Liver Experiment where I mostly tamed my life long life food nemesis: liver.
And here is a new favorite recipe I could add to the list: the rare Pistachio Syrup. I knew of the existence of such a syrup but I never saw it on any shelf at a store. I was not particularly looking for it but was curious. One day a group of us went to a tapas and Absinthe bar for dinner. I chose a cocktail which listed Pistachio syrup as an ingredient. The drink was good but I could not particularly taste it. I asked the bartender to show me the bottle and sheepishly told me they ran out and it had been substituted. He actually said even restauranteurs were having trouble getting this stuff on hand.
Well now I REALLY had to taste this stuff and resolved to make my own. There is no official recipe out there per say that I could find. I did come across this version and another one for orgeat, an almond based sweet syrup. My recipe is a bit of a hybrid of these two. Just a warning this makes a lot of syrup, just under 1 liter, so you may want to halve the recipe. The result is not clear like the store bought kind, this is normal. Also you may want to add a bit of green coloring if you wish.
- 150 g Pistachio
- 2 cup water
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 2 oz vodka optional
- green food coloring optional
- Bring water to a near simmer a medium saucepan and remove from heat. Place the nuts in the water and steep for 2 hours on the counter.
- Strain, reserving the liquid, and finely chop the nuts. Place the nuts on a square of cheesecloth, tying the corners together to form a bag. Place the bag in the reserved liquid, cover and let stand for 2 hours.
- Remove the bag and squeeze to remove as much liquid as possible. Return the bag to the liquid and let stand for 8 hours more, squeezing every 2 hours.
- Strain the liquid, discarding any solids. Weight the liquid and add an equal amount of sugar, gram for gram (or ounce for ounce).
- Pour into a medium saucepan and add the salt. Over a low heat stir until all the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat, let cool and stir in the vodka and green coloring. Bottle and store in the refrigerator.
So what to do with all this liquid gold? Add a bit of syrup to hot or iced coffee, flavor a plain soda water, give your glass of milk a little pistachio kick, same for a smoothie. Roll up your sleeves and test your cocktail skills for fun and complex mixes. And this nutty flavored syrup is great to add to batter for cakes, waffles, or ice creams and yogurts. Like making your own liqueurs? Check out my green almond liqueur recipe.
And do not through out all that gorgeous pistachio meal once you are done making your syrup. I added it, plus some syrup, to a basic white cake recipe. This Pistachio Coconut cake was a huge success with my coworkers: so moist and perfectly nutty.