|the best excuse to drink before 5pm|
its been a one-in-a-50 year summer here in west cork: record rain, record wind and record alcohol consumption levels (that last one might only apply to me) and against all odds my new potager has produced quite a harvest thus far. while im typing we are currently experiencing gale force winds and rain, so fingers crossed the veg will be there in the morning! as it turns out one of my favourite veg, celery, is a bog plant and what better way to describe the soil right now but as: 'boggy.' since my celery is having a 'hay-day,' i decided i should join in on the fun by introducing my new food and garden blog with a delicous and celebratory, Home Grown Bloody Mary! i would also like to point out that today is THE day of birth of THE Julia Child, and what an auspiscious day to be launching a food/cooking blog! i didnt plan it that way, i swear, she's watching us. the first drinks for Julia!
we all know you can't make a mary, bloody without some tomato juice. you knew that, right?
believe it or not, this season i've managed to produce some amazing fruits on my 8 tomato plants (currently im growing: tigerella, pineapple, sungold, cherry, and moneymaker varieties). one of the great things about living in ireland is you HAVE to grow plants like tomatoes in a poly-tunnel, for shelter. otherwise your looking at blight, wind damage and at best, green tomato chutney! or green tomato bloody mary's? that recipe is still in the works....
|celery having a 'hay-day'|
|getting ready for the juicer|
a bloody mary for me isn't just a hang over cure, its a great excuse to get in some of those five a day veg, a quick 'liquid lunch!' and a way to sneak a drink before happy hour hits. i've often produced this delicious cocktail with organic tomato passata from my local shop, but this version takes the cake. i never thought i'd go through all the trouble of juicing ripe tomoatoes for a bloody mary, but its worth it, tust me. especially so if you're looking at a bumper crop of toms and cringing at the thought of cooking a truck load of tomatoes. i used a juicer for this recipe but you don't need one, a food processor or blender would work fine in its place. since the celery is blitzed together with the tomatoes you do need a blending device to make this juicy bevy.
|homegrown veggie juice|
|vodka: the real reason we're doing this, really|
this is my first year growing celery, im trying out an ogranic variety called 'Tall Utah', i bought the seeds from my nextdoor neighbours, Dan and Iona, who have coincidentally opened a picture perfect jewelbox garden center, Cambium Edible Gardens, where they live. how lucky am i? real lucky. im not sure if my variety is the self blanching type, which means i won't have to earth up the soil around the stalks to make them tender-er. but the outside stalks on my plants are getting a tad woody. i can't bring myself to uproot them from their cozy boggy home. and for now, juicing them is delicous way to get all the nutrients into my alcoholic beverages.
i do know that im always, from here on out, going to grow celery: its easy enough to grow, i love it as a base flavour in cooking, i like it as ants on a log, plain, or cooked. give me home grown celery everday and i won't complain. i started my seeds indoors in modules, they took several weeks to grow to a good 4 inch hieght, before i hardened them off outside for about a week under cover. after that i popped them in the ground, interplanted with heads of red lettuce to fill in the gaps and for a little colour contrast. now im the keeper of 8 mondo celery bushes, im really curious to see what the flowers look like....
Home Grown Bloody Mary
you can find all of the ingredients to make these bloody mary's in most super markets. you do need a little advance notice to make this recipe, the juice needs time to chill and marry all the flavours together. that can be done the day before and of course, increase the recipe to make it worth your while. if you can't find clery salt substitute fine sea salt in its place. everyone likes their bloody mary a little bit different below is a guideline if you're worried about the heat factor, lay off the spice and give it a taste first. i like mine with a kick thats says, 'wake up and smell the tabasco.'
disclaimer: this drink should in no way substitute a well balanced meal, but a huge part of the fun is adding delicous garnishes to your drink. try: pickled green beans, cocktail onions, pickled baby carrots, hot pickled chillis, anything pickled really! maybe even cubed skewered blue cheese?
1 pound ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 large stalk of celery, trimmed
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
1 tabelspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon worchester sauce
1 teaspoon tabasco sauce
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons vodka, or more!
minced celery leaves
- using a juicer, food processor or blender combine the first 5 ingredients together and juice, blitz or blend till smooth. chill juice for one hour.
- in a pint glass or cocktail shaker add 5 or six ice cubes, and the chilled juice.
- mix in remaining ingredients and mix vigorously, check for flavour balance. adjust to your taste.
- serve on the rocks or strain into jam jar or tumblers.
- granish with celery stalks, a lemon slice, a few skewered green olives or any pickled veg, chopped celery leaves and black pepper
- sip and enjoy