Friday, May 22, 2009

It's My Scene and I'm Down With It

Its very rare that a PCV feels in-the-know. Even those of us with TV or internet can’t pretend to understand everything happening in the States; I’m only two days behind on Idol and I still don’t know what a Jonas Brother is. We can only hope to keep up, and to be ahead of the game is unheard of. Or, that is, until today, when the New York Times greeted me thusly:

I got a little bit excited. Sriracha and ginger ale are, with Reeses Cups, DVD sets, and free rides, Things We Get Excited About. People who take trips home usually carry at least a small bottle back with them, because in a land of largely bland and basic foods, spices are everything, and Sriracha is made of every single one. Ginger ale also doesn’t exist, but rather than carry an afternoon’s worth across an ocean, we make our own.

I eagerly clicked through to the recipe, hoping to compare it with the basic one we use and maybe get ideas for a new technique or ingredient to play with. The first step: 4 tsp fresh ginger juice, which can be purchased at “most health food stores and juice bars.” Said the PCV reading over my shoulder, “I’m writing a letter.”

Not only is adding ginger juice to tonic water boring, but the assumption that anyone need track down something as boutique and silly as ginger juice is ridiculous. (It should be noted I now make my own biscotti, hummus, and ginger ale, and generally think that anything that removes 12 steps from a process is against the point, but have you honestly ever heard of ginger juice before this?)

And so, in the spirit of cultural exchange, I give you the PC Morocco Ginger Ale recipe (all credit to MF).

Here’s what you need:
1 ½ L plastic water bottle
½ - ¾ cup sugar
1 – 1 ½ tbsp freshly grated ginger root
juice from ½ lemon
¼ tsp active dry yeast
pure water (let tap water sit uncovered 48 hr to remove chlorine)

Funnel sugar into bottle. Fill with water, leaving 2 in or so at the top. Screw on the cap and shake well until sugar is dissolved. Remove the top and add the ginger, lemon juice, and yeast. Now screw the cap back on – make sure it’s tight.

Let the bottle sit in a warm place 24-48 hours. In colder weather it may take 3-5 days. (Pay attention! The bottle may explode if you aren’t careful.)

The ginger ale is ready when the bottle is firm and no longer ‘gives’ when pressed. The bottom of the bottle may now be convex rather than concave. Stop the fermentation by placing the bottle in the fridge for a day. It can be kept for about a week until you are ready to drink it. Open it slowly (its quite bubbly), and pour it through a sieve or cloth to catch the ginger bits. Extra points if you add a couple springs of mint to your glass.

Best enjoyed with a scrambled egg, onion, and pepper pocket sandwich, heavy on the Sriracha, and the flavored popcorn of your choice. I recommend curry.

Sriracha - NYT
Ginger Ale - NYT


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