Friday, February 4, 2011

Zeno's Casserole and Ginger Ale

I know how to spell Zeno, but I keep double checking because my inner sense of orthography autocorrects to Xeno as the obvious masculine form of Xena... as in Warrior Princess.  Xena's Casserole probably ululates, flies through the air, and has sharp edges.  This is merely the casserole that I've been eating on and off for a week. 

Yes, the black bean casserole is what's for dinner again.  Someday I will learn to cook in quantities suitable for one person, or at most two.  Not two adults and two starving teenagers which was my standard portion when I was learning to cook.  I swear that casserole is regenerating when I turn my back.  (The real problem is that I discovered that the casserole goes from very good to scrumptious when dumped on top of tater tots, thereby halving the amount of casserole that I think I'm eating.)

Never mind.  It was funnier in my head.

Anyway, after finishing my Friday afternoon face plant (somewhat accentuated by the fact that my body is not as certain of my convalescence as my brain) around 8:30, I thought,"I told the nice people in Blogland that I would experiment with making my own ginger ale when I was back on my feet."  So off I ran like a good little blogger and bought a chunk of ginger root. And then I made ginger ale which was as easy as I thought it would be. Now I just need to wait a day or two for it to ferment into what will hopefully be the wildly fiery ginger ale of my dreams. 

It should be noted that I have a touching faith in ginger, and particularly ginger ale as a panacea for most human ills.  I treat stomach upsets, colds, sinus infections, and the existential blahs with ginger ale, or a hot tissane of ginger and honey.  So far I haven't died, so my faith is validated. 

Anyway after the most recent round of yuck, which was something like the flu (the real one, not the stomach flue) and something like a cold, when I was reduced to drinking ginger and honey several times a day, the discovery of the ginger ale recipe seemed fortuitous.

A quick survey of the recipe suggested that it would not be gingery enough for my taste and probably too sweet as well.  So some changes have been made.  Likewise the original called for a box grater and a funnel.  I don't own either of those things so more changes have been made.

Ginger Ale (Slightly Tweaked)

1 clean 2L soda bottle
1/4 tsp bakers yeast
1 largish chunk of ginger (approximately 1.5 inches in diameter and about 4 inches long -- when I chopped it up roughly it appeared to be between 1/4 and 1/3 of a cup.  I'm nuts, you do not have to use that much.)
2/3 cup sugar
enough water

Pour a little cool water in the bottom of the soda bottle, drop in the 1/4 tsp of yeast.

Peel and roughly chop up your ginger.  Place it in the bottom of a pyrex measuring cup, add enough water so that an immersion blender will blend when immersed in the measuring cup.  Puree the ginger.  So much nicer than futzing with a box grater and taking the skin off your knucles.  Add more water and the sugar.  Give it a good stir to make sure everything is more or less liquid.  Pour it into the bottle.

Continue to fill the measuring cup with cold water and pour into the bottle, until the cup is rinsed clean and the bottle is full to about an inch below the beginning of the neck. 

Cap the bottle tightly, and shake vigorously until anything not heretofore dissolved is rendered aqueous. 

That all went fairly slickly.  Here is where I venture into the realm of trusting my informants.

Leave the capped bottle out on the counter for 24-48 hours.  Check regularly.  When you cannot dent the bottle by squeezing it, place it in the fridge and chill for eight hours or so.  Be very careful to open it slowly and bleed off pressure when you open it.  Under no circumstances use glass bottles. 

I will, of course, let you know how it comes out. 

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