June 23, 2011

proof whisky, S*U*M*M*E*R! Vol. 39

Today we are celebrating the first official weekend of summer (and the beginning of berry season) with some refreshing strawberry recipes. This strawberry-whisky granita will make your BBQ get-together sizzle. To learn more about our brand visit www.proofbrands.com. Become a friend on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Proof-Brands/181641835185326 and Twitter http://twitter.com/proofbrands to get last minute updates on tastings, parties & events.

proof strawberry granita 1 cup water • ½ cup sugar • 2 cups ripe strawberries • 2 tbsp lemon juice • ½ - 1 oz proof whisky (depending on how boozy you like your granita)
Measure the sugar and water into a small saucepan, and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and let the syrup cool to room temperature. 

Wash and hull strawberries and blend in food processor or blender to puree until smooth. Stir in lemon juice and simple syrup. Pour mixture into an 8-inch baking pan, cover with plastic wrap and put in freezer. Every 30 minutes scrape mixture from sides of pan into center with a fork for about 3-4 hours (or frozen). (you will see it gradually turning into slush) You may have to let it stand at room temperature for 10 min before serving or to get the consistency you need. Scrape down length of dish with a fork, forming icy flakes. Scoop into glasses or bowls. Recipe makes about 3 cups and will keep well for at least a week. Top with proof whisky (you can use as much as you like, depending on how boozy you like it) Garnish with whole strawberry or mint sprig. Serve immediately.

TIP: If you don’t have time to stir your mixture every 30 minutes and you own an ice-cream maker – use it! It will produce a smoother, less traditional chunky granita, but it will free up your day.

Another fun way to use this recipe is to add 4 oz of proof whisky to your strawberry mixture and pour it into popsicle molds. 
These rockets are definitely NOT for kids!

Yesterday we visited Whittamores ‘Pick-Your-Own’ Berry Farm in Markham. Normally the strawberries are ready in early June, but this year the pick-your-own opened on the first day of summer (june 21st). (www.whittamoresfarm.com)

The farm has been in the Whittamore family since 1804. From the early 1920's to the 1950's, Frank J. Whittamore sold vegetables door to door in the North Toronto (Yonge & St. Clair) area. In 1952, Frank's son Gilbert bought a 50-acre farm on Steeles Avenue in southeast Markham. Here he grew vegetables to be wholesaled at the Toronto Food Terminal as well as local retail markets. Later they established a small pick-your-own strawberry and raspberry operation in the late 50's and early 60's. Over the next 50 years the farm expanded in its variety of crops and today their sons run one of the largest pick-your-own and farm market operations in Ontario.

If you don’t feel like getting dirty, you can purchase pre-picked berries in the market. 
They also carry a variety of baked goods and strawberry jams.

The staff is very friendly and knowledgeable. Melanie helped us find what we needed. Thanks Melanie!

If you cannot make it out to Whittamores, check your closest farmer’s market for berries (http://tfmn.ca/)

Another great way to enjoy your berries: pavlova with whisky berries
Meringue 4 egg whites, room temperature  • ¾ cup sugar  • 1 tsp cornstarch • 1 tsp lemon juice  • whipped cream 1 cup whipping cream • 3 tbsp sugar  • ½ tsp vanilla extract (or proof whisky) • whisky berries 2 cups (500 mL) fresh strawberries (hulled and quartered ) • 2 tbsp (25 mL) honey • 1 tsp whisky • 1/8 tsp orange zest

1. For meringue, preheat oven to 275ºF. 2. Trace four 3-inch circles onto 2 sheets of parchment paper, turn paper over and line baking sheets. In a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with electric beaters, whip egg whites until frothy. While whipping, gradually add sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold in cornstarch and lemon juice. Spread onto traced circles. Bake for 25 to 40 minutes, until meringue lifts easily from parchment paper (may take longer if it is a humid day). Let cool. 3. For cream, whip cream to medium peaks and fold in sour cream, sugar and whisky. Chill until ready to serve. 4. Toss strawberries with honey & whisky just before serving. To assemble, place a pavlova meringue on dessert plate, dollop cream over and top with strawberries. Serve immediately. (Makes 8 pavlovas)

Things were steaming up on the patio at the MMVA pre-party at Tryst nightclub last Sunday. proof was serving a whisky pomegranate sour.
And a big congratulations to Down with Webster on their win for Video of the year. Check out winner 'Whoa is Me' for proof's cameo (they should have been drinking it instead of smashing it, but you know those artist types) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71S9ou2gcqE

Weekend Forecast:
Saturday: Variable cloudiness and a high of 22 degrees
Sunday: Sunny and a high of 25 degrees

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