Ray gardner, sr

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Long Island Iced Tea - ☺♥

When you want to get smacked quickly this is the drink to make. It works. Drink more than one and you will become unreliable …
The recipe below is okay but I like to use lime instead of lemon and I add a teaspoon of sugar.
Makes two drinks.

2 cups of crushed ice

1 ounce of vodka

1 ounce of gin

1 ounce of light rum

1 ounce of white/light tequila

1/2 ounce of Triple Sec

2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon (or lime) juice

1/2 cup of cola, or to taste

2 lemon (or lime) wedges

1 tsp. of sugar (optional)
Put all of the ingredients except the cola and lemon/lime wedges into a cocktail shaker.
Cover and shake vigorously to combine and chill.
Pour the mixture, ice and all, into 2 glasses or beer mugs that have been chilled in the freezer and top off with the cola.
Garnish with lemon/lime wedges.
Pretty soon the world is a softer, nicer place, kind of fuzzy at the edges.
Declare success!

  • My memory of the best Long Island Iced Tea I ever drank is one of more pucker power than this recipe provides. Basically that means some fresh lemon or lime juice should be added until the desired result is obtained. Have fun experimenting!

Mead - ?
Mead is a wine made with honey. It is fermented in the same manner as grape juice, but water must be added to the honey to get the proper sweetness of 24º brix or higher. Honey lacks chemicals present in grapes that are essential to fermentation, like tartaric and other acids that give the must the proper level of total acidity and pH. These and other chemicals are added prior to fermentation and also adjusted at the end of fermentation and racking to produce a stable wine that will age well when bottled.

Yeast nutrient, diammonium phosphate, about 20 grams added to a yeast starter, is a critical addition needed at the beginning of fermentation to help the yeast multiply. Potassium metabisulfite is also used to provide oxygen early in fermentation to help the yeast reproduce and to kill and or retard bacteria and wild yeasts. The best yeast to use is the Champagne variety, a 5 gram packet, as it allows for the highest level of alcohol to be produced, around 15 to 16 percent, provided the honey is added in increments during fermentation. Champagne yeast is better than other varieties in tolerating higher levels of alcohol before dying.
The overall ratio of honey and water used is 3 pounds of honey and enough water to make one gallon of liquid. That is extrapolated upwards to make a total volume of 5 gallons, the amount needed for a medium large carboy. But a high initial amount of honey can retard fermentation so the must is created with that in mind. First, the ratio used for the first four gallons of must is limited to 2.5 pounds per gallon. That must is pasteurized one gallon at a time at 150º F for five minutes, the foam is removed from the top and then the pasteurized must is introduced into a sterilized five gallon carboy. The remainder of the must is created separately with 5 pounds of honey and enough water to make a total volume of three quarts. That must is also pasteurized and the foam removed. That portion of the must is then put into three one quart sterilized containers and refrigerated until it is needed.
Tartaric acid is mixed in sufficient quantity with one cup of sterilized water and added to the four gallons of pasteurized must to increase the total acidity of the must to 0.7% and to reduce the pH to around 3.4. Measures of total acidity are done via titration, and pH is measured with a pH meter, and the readings from the original must are used to determine how much tartaric acid to add.
Potassium metabisulfite is added to the must at the rate of 60 parts per million by mixing the dry chemical in one cup of water and adding that to the must. The must is stirred with a long wing tipped stirrer and an electric drill to make the tartaric acid and potassium metabisulfite additions mix evenly with the must.
The yeast and yeast nutrient and ½ teaspoon of sugar are mixed with warm water in a two cup sterilized measuring cup and the yeast is allowed to form an active starter mixture in a warm place for a few hours. Then the contents are added to the must.
An air lock is used to keep outside air from contacting the must during fermentation. It is a two or three piece plastic device used with a rubber stopper at the top of the carboy, that holds a small amount of water, through which the carbon dioxide gas formed during fermentation escapes the carboy without letting outside air into the carboy.
After a week of fermentation in a room around 65ºF to 70ºF the first container of the reserved must is removed from the refrigerator and allowed to stabilize to room temperature. It is then added slowly to the fermenting must in the carboy by briefly removing the air lock. One week later the second container of reserved must is stabilized to room temperature and added to the carboy. Similarly, a week later the third and final container of reserved must is stabilized to room temperature and added to the carboy. Fermentation is allowed to complete for another one to two weeks. It is completed when bubbles no longer exit the air lock. If, for any reason, fermentation stops early do not add any reserved must as it will not ferment and will make the mead too sweet. Hopefully fermentation will not stop early. Refer to wine making books about “stuck” fermentation and how to handle it if it occurs.
After fermentation it is important to rack the mead to get it away from the dead yeast on the bottom of the carboy (the lees) so the lees do not impart an unpleasant taste to the mead. That simply means moving the mead to a second carboy and leaving the lees behind. Use a carbon dioxide pressurized system to transfer the mead to a second carboy which has been flushed first with carbon dioxide gas. Additional potassium metabisulfite is added at the rate of 30 parts per million by dissolving the required amount in a cup of water and adding it to the must midway through racking. An air lock is used again and the mead is stored for two weeks to allow any residual fermentation to occur and any additional formed lees to settle to the bottom of the carboy. Then a second racking is done.
After the second racking the mead is normally aged for three months in a dark room around 60º F. At that point it is important to again measure total acidity and pH and make adjustments accordingly. If the wine has a total acidity above 0.7% then add calcium carbonate mixed with water in the amount necessary to reduce total acidity to 0.7%. If the pH is higher than 3.6 then add ascorbic acid and citric acid mixed with water to reduce the pH. The idea is that the mead will age without fear of spoiling provided the pH is controlled to no higher than 3.6 and provided the alcohol content is 14% or higher. Similarly, total acidity should be controlled to no more than 0.7% to create a smooth tasting mead, by allowing the calcium carbonate to precipitate out tartaric acid as the insoluble calcium bitartrate.
The aged chemically adjusted mead is then put through a sterilized filtration system where the finest and last filter of a 4 stage filtration system is 0.45 microns, which will both clarify any haziness in the mead and remove any residual yeast cells. Refer to the wine making article in this section for more details about the filtration system. Also, I will personally help readers ambitious enough to build a filtration system to guarantee that it is done correctly. The filtration system is sterilized first by having carbon dioxide pressure force water containing 30 parts per million of potassium metabisulfite through it prior to processing the mead. Residual potassium metabisulfite in the sterilized filtration system will provide a very small but useful amount of that preserving chemical to the mead as it passes through the filtration system into a sterilized holding carboy that has first been flushed with carbon dioxide gas. The carboy will fill with the filtered mead, causing enough mixing to make the residual potassium metabisulfite have even distribution within the mead. Then the mead is ready for bottling.
Mead exiting the filtration system carboy via applied carbon dioxide pressure of 4 psi is immediately bottled and corked using sterilized wine bottles and sterilized corks, avoiding all contact with air. That is accomplished by flushing the air out of each bottle with carbon dioxide gas immediately before introducing the mead into the bottle. Note that the bottles were sterilized first with boiling water while the corks were stored in water containing 60 parts per million potassium metabisulfite. An inexpensive and much easier alternative is to use one liter soda bottles with very tight fitting screw-on caps where the bottles and caps have been washed and then sterilized with the potassium metabisulfite and water mixture.
The cases of mead are typically aged for another three months in a dark area around 60ºF and then consumed within a year. This recipe should yield semi-dry or lightly sweet mead of high alcohol content. It should have a fresh smooth character with a notable level of alcohol. Five gallons of mead, bottled in 750 ml wine bottles will make 25 bottles. If you use one liter plastic soda bottles you will get 19 bottles.
If you want a sparkling mead then each aged plastic soda bottle of mead you want to turn into sparking mead is connected after freezer chilling to the carbonation apparatus described in making lemon-lime soda elsewhere in this Beverages section of the recipe book. About three ounces of the mead should be removed from the bottle prior to carbonating so that you can agitate the contents during carbonation as that is required to assist getting the carbon dioxide gas into solution. Do not attempt to do carbonation with regular glass wine bottles … use only plastic soda bottles that have been designed to be safe under pressure. Regular thin wall glass bottles will burst under high pressure, though champagne bottles can be used if you have a means to cork them.
Commercial mead producers often include fruits or fruit concentrates in making different flavors of mead. Examples are blueberries, blackberries and strawberries. In all instances the sweetness levels desired in the final product and the chemicals the added fruit provides affect the amounts of honey and water and other chemicals used. Similarly, fermentation is typically stopped at a level lower than that obtained in the above recipe, in the range of 11 to 12 percent alcohol. In that instance the finished mead may be sterilized via heating briefly to 150ºF to avoid any possible secondary fermentation after bottling.

V-8 Vegetable Juice - ☺♥

This recipe is one I was given by my dear cousin, Joan Bliss. I love the commercially made V8® product but this was/is an opportunity to use some of my crops, especially my tomatoes, and a few purchased vegetables to make a homemade version of V8® Vegetable Juice. The economics surely favor making it. Even better, the end product can be used like tomato juice in various recipes, like soups, even in a Bloody Mary.
When I made my first batch of V-8 juice, what I learned really changed my original plan for making the juice. I experimented as I made the juice and modified my procedures based on the most obvious changes to my earlier expectations. In any event, you profit from my experiments, and the V-8 juice is no exception. I am exceptionally pleased with my results. The recipe provided below is one you can take to the bank! Your homemade V-8 juice will be very superior in taste and nutrition compared to the commercial V8® product, and you control the salt content. It has a slightly sweet taste.
Speaking of salt content, the recipe Joan provided had canning salt in it, but no potassium chloride, which is a valuable addition to provide potassium in your diet. I add both sodium chloride and potassium chloride (NoSalt®), limiting the sodium chloride to essentially half the sodium amount as used by the Campbell Soup Company® in the commercial V8® product. This simply means the consumer can add additional salt later if it is wanted, but he/she does not have to worry about excessive dietary salt/sodium chloride from this beverage.
I also added ascorbic acid powder, which is Vitamin C, to provide the advertised 170% of required daily intake for adults. Why? Well, the boiling of the tomato juice and other ingredients in making the V-8 juice destroys some of the natural vitamin C content, and there is a dilution effect relative to Vitamin C content from the addition of vegetables that are not high in Vitamin C content, like lettuce and celery.
I noted that the commercial V8® product contains an unspecified additive, "natural flavoring," and an unspecified amount of citric acid. Citric acid adds tartness, which keeps the product from having a flat taste. It also functions to some extent as a preservative by increasing the acidity of the beverage. I suspect, however, that the commercial purpose is to take advantage of the antioxidant effect of citric acid, thus retaining the color of the beverage by avoiding darkening due to oxidation when in contact with air. Fresh lemon juice can be substituted in small amounts with a roughly equivalent result (we all know that lemon juice in water keeps cut fruit from turning brown, which is nothing other than a result of exposure to air/oxidation). The key point is to get the tartness and anti-oxidant effect without making a lemony taste happen, which as it turns out was not a problem at all.
As to the "natural flavoring" I recall the celery flavor being very evident in the commercial V8® product so I added two pounds of celery root, or, celeriac. I also added celery seed, which I grind/powder first using a small food processor.

You can find ingredients like pure citric acid powder and ascorbic acid powder online at sites like www.bulkfoods.com and typically purchase one pound quantities of the pure products at a very low price. This method of supplying your food pantry is something you do very infrequently for the products do not degrade if kept in sealed bags or other sealed containers, and you will have enough product for years of use in making many different foods. I refer to the commercial product, NoSalt® as a good source of potassium chloride and you will find it or an equivalent product in the spice section of any good supermarket. Some folks like to mix it 50:50 with table salt for table use in all foods, to reduce sodium consumption and enhance potassium intake.
Ingredients: (Makes about 16 pints [two gallons] of juice)
2 large cookie trays, each filled one layer deep with fresh, large, very ripe tomatoes

2 large red beets

4 large carrots

1 green bell pepper, diced - Note: This ingredient is not used in the commercial product but it is a great source of vitamin C

1/2 pound of fresh spinach

1 large head of lettuce

1 bunch of fresh parsley, chopped

1 large bunch of celery, chopped

2 pounds of celeriac (celery root)

1/4 cup of celery seeds, ground/powdered in a small high speed food processor

1 bunch of watercress

1/2 cup of sugar

Canning salt or Kosher salt - Amount to be determined based on the final volume of juice - Do not use iodized (table) salt as it will cause undesirable darkening of your vegetable juice.

Potassium Chloride (NoSalt®) - Amount to be determined based on the final volume of the juice

Citric acid powder or fresh lemon juice - Amount to be determined by taste preference

Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) powder - Amount to be determined based on the final volume of the juice

Koldkiss® concentrated sodium benzoate solution at the rate of one fluid ounce per gallon of juice (optional)
Quarter and then crush the tomatoes a few at at time in a large, 2 1/2 to 3 gallon pot (or you might process the quartered sections very briefly first, in a food processor, on low speed to avoid chopping the seeds). Note that the actual volume of juice you will get depends on the size of the tomatoes, but you are aiming to get at least one and one half gallons of tomato juice after cooking, not counting the skins and seeds, and preferably a bit more.

Here is an easy way to tell if you will have enough juice. Use a food processor to chop the tomatoes so there is no air space present when you put the processed tomatoes into the pot. After all the processed tomatoes have been added to the pot, measure the volume. If you have one and three-quarter gallons or more then proceed with the recipe. Otherwise, process additional tomatoes to get to the required pre-cooked volume.
Add 1/2 tsp. of citric acid powder to the pot, or, three tbsp. of fresh lemon juice.
Bring the tomato juice and solids to a boil on high heat, covered, stirring every few minutes, and then simmer on very low heat for 30 minutes, covered.
Process the juice and solids through a colander to remove the seeds and skins. Discard the skins and seeds.
Put the tomato juice back into the pot and measure the volume of the tomato juice. It should be a minimum of one and one half gallons. If not, you must process additional tomatoes to make enough juice for this recipe as given.
Add the powdered celery seeds and the sugar.
Wash and shred/grate the beets and carrots (but do not peel them or you will sacrifice vitamin content, e.g. vitamin A and vitamin C) using a food processor and add them to the pot.
Cut the celery roots into quarters and peel them with a high quality potato peeler. Then process the celery root quarters with the food processor, along with the celery. Add these vegetables to the pot.
Bring the mixture to a boil on high heat, covered, stirring every few minutes.
Simmer the mixture gently on low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, and adding the rest of the vegetables half way through the simmering period, per the next instruction.
Wash and chop the green pepper, parsley and lettuce. Add them and the spinach and watercress to the pot, mix well and simmer during the last 15 minutes of the previous simmering cycle, with the pot covered with a lid.
Remove the pot from the heat and keep it covered with a lid.
Allow the pot of vegetables/juice to cool to 150 degrees F or lower, covered with a lid.
Process the juice and solids in batches with a blender (very carefully as hot materials tend initially to blow out of the top of the blender) for about one or two minutes each to puree´ the vegetables.
You will notice that your V-8 juice is darker in color than the commercial V8® juice because you included all the green vegetables in the puree´ process. It was the smart thing to do, nutritionally and in taste. Your V-8 juice will be quite thick with lots of vegetable content, better than the commercial V8® product. If you insist on having a color closer to that of tomato juice then you can make an equivalent volume of tomato juice (two gallons) separately and combine the two juices, but if you do that then the chemical additions below have to be doubled.
Refrigerate the blended V-8 juice overnight, covered.
Measure the final volume of the juice (you should have essentially 2 gallons, plus or minus one pint) and add appropriate amounts of canning salt, potassium chloride (NoSalt®), ascorbic acid and some additional citric acid (or lemon juice), and mix well.
You must use a very high quality kitchen scale to accurately measure the acid and salt additions, that displays weights in both English and metric units and is sensitive/displays weight accurately to the tenth of a gram. Kitchen scales of that level of sensitivity are hard to find so you might instead use a very sensitive electronic scale that you can purchase from Cabela's® online for about $70, the model XT-1500 Reload Scale, that is sensitive down to 0.05 grams. It is a very wise purchase, and a product you will use often for many years for precise chemical additions for many recipes, which means the upfront cost should not be an issue for you at all.
Assume half of the original vitamin C (ascorbic acid) content was lost during boiling. Add that amount of ascorbic acid (roughly 150 mg per pint) to the juice and mix well. This should result in the V-8 juice providing about 170% of the currently recommended daily intake of vitamin C, which is about 200 mg. If you don't want to do the arithmetic simply add 2.5 grams of ascorbic acid to the two gallons of V-8 vegetable juice.
Assume the juice as processed has only 10% of the required amounts of sodium chloride and potassium chloride (Roughly 750 mg of each type of salt per pint is the required total amount, but reduce your addition by the 10% you have already in the original juice. Thus, the juice needs an additional 675 mg of sodium chloride per pint to match the commercial version of V8® juice). Per my comments earlier in this recipe I recommend adding only half that amount of sodium chloride initially so that the folks who drink the V-8 juice later can adjust the salt content to their liking. In other words, adding 337 mg per pint times 16 pints equals 5.4 grams of sodium chloride to be added now. Now add about 500 mg per pint of the potassium chloride (NoSalt®), or 8 grams total. Add the required amounts of both types of salt as indicated (unless you want very low sodium juice), mix well, and taste the juice. You should definitely notice the taste change.
Add additional citric acid, perhaps 1/4 tsp. at a time and mix well and then taste the juice and decide if additional citric acid is needed to increase tartness. But do not add a total of more than one additional teaspoon of citric acid powder.
Alternatively, you may use fresh lemon juice instead of citric acid, perhaps two tablespoons at a time, mixing well and tasting the juice to decide if further addition of lemon juice is appropriate.
Add the sodium benzoate solution at the rate of one teaspoon per gallon of juice (optional).
Be sure to mix the juice very well to assure all the added products are completely dissolved and evenly distributed within the juice.
Dispense the well mixed, seasoned chilled juice into one pint vacuum sealing bags and vacuum seal each bag. Alternatively, you may can the juice in pint or quart canning jars.
If you didn't use the sodium benzoate, store the vacuum sealed bags of the homemade V-8 juice in the the deep freeze flat, to minimize and make uniform the bag thickness.
To use the frozen V-8 juice, simply defrost a package of it in a microwave oven until it is still cold but not frozen.
Alternatively, if you used the optional sodium benzoate solution you can store vacuum sealed bags of the juice in your refrigerator and the juice will remain fresh for easily six months.

Winemaking - ☺♥

I was recently thinking about sharing some of my knowledge of winemaking with readers of this book. My interest in that hobby isn’t shared by many of my acquaintances, but as I reflected on my experiences I realized I have much to offer, but only to those who will take a near professional interest in the subject. If you really love great wine and are interested in making great wine this section might be right for you. Do know up front that the cost for equipment to do a professional job making great wine is pretty high … until you factor in cost averaging across many bottles of wine, or realize how much you actually spend on commercial wines. I concluded that if I didn’t capture my experience here it would likely be lost forever. Thus I will now begin a narrative to describe background and then essential winemaking information.
I made my decision to invest my time and money in winemaking back in 1997 based on economic considerations, because my wife Marie and her friends were serious consumers of good quality Chardonnay wines … at about $15 a bottle. It adds up quickly. A bit over 100 bottles buys the equipment I recommend later. My payback period for the equipment on that basis alone was less than six months! But before getting to that story I want to provide earlier background that ultimately led to my decision to make great wine.
My experiences in wine making go all the way back to 1968, and across the years I’ve made some excellent blackberry, dandelion, sherry, Chardonnay and Merlot wines. I also made some marginal plum, fig and Concord grape wines. It was a mixed bag with more art than science in the early efforts, and certainly limited knowledge. As you might expect the results varied a lot.
Again going backwards in time, during 1989 I flew to California to meet with Marie who was there on business. We planned to spend some time just enjoying San Francisco for a few days at the conclusion of her business meetings. What happened on the first day is that I took a walk up one of the hills while she was in a meeting and I found a store that sold wine. By sheer good fortune I bought a bottle of Chardonnay that I took back to surprise and share with Marie, and it was so buttery and smooth and delicious that we both were really happy. I never forgot that experience and I later regretted losing the label from that bottle, for today I cannot tell you who made that wine. I only remember that it was in a black bottle.
By serendipity our great friends Bob and Lois Kitiuk gave Marie and me a very expensive and excellent bottle of Chardonnay wine in July of 1997 to celebrate our wedding anniversary. It cost $50 a bottle, which at that time was quite expensive, and the wine was Cakebread Cellars® Reserve Chardonnay. The wine was so good and so buttery and so smooth that I decided that I simply had to try to duplicate it, and that was the beginning of my professional quest to make great wine.
I decided to use my knowledge of chemistry and obtain all the right equipment and analyze all of the important aspects/endpoints of the Cakebread Cellars® product as if I ran a laboratory. What I was doing was setting specific measurable goals that I would attempt to match making my own Chardonnay wine. I then acquired a superb technical book on wine making along with essential equipment, and then I located a small vineyard that grew only Chardonnay and Merlot grapes, to perfection. Fortunately for me harvest time was arriving just in time for me to get the very best grapes. Beyond that I used my knowledge in science and engineering and some creativity to create a winemaking environment and process unlike any I ever read about. The short version of this story is that I was completely successful in my first attempt to exactly clone the Cakebread Cellars® Reserve Chardonnay. I was delighted beyond belief and I then proceeded to make a Merlot wine of similar perfection, but against no specific retail product as a standard.
All in all I gained a great amount of knowledge and I was proud of my success, realizing that my experience relative to the wide world of wines was still very limited. That didn’t matter to me as I had perfect wines to present to my wife and the knowledge that I could make more at any time at a very low price. Thus began my capture of all that I did that today I can share with you. Let’s proceed.
Prepare to spend between $1500 and $2000 just to get most of the right equipment. The real payback comes when you make wine for many years and get the cost per bottle for equipment down to about $1. If you made and drank (with your friends and family, of course) a case of 12 bottles of wine every month it would take you 11 years or more to cost average your equipment cost down to $1 per bottle. If consumption were to average instead a bottle a day (due to entertaining, of course) it would take only 4 years to cost average the equipment cost down to $1 per bottle.
When you add in the cost of consumables for making the wine and testing it and the grapes the overall cost per bottle will still be around $4. That depends on how much you have to spend for the grapes … but it provides you great wine, not ordinary wine. Beyond that, if you typically pay $10 for a bottle of average wine instead of making your own excellent wine for $4 per bottle, you have wasted money as well as missed a much higher quality enjoyment. Why be mediocre when you can be great?
It is wisely economical to save empty wine bottles as they can individually be used many times as long as you clean and sterilize them between uses. Note also that the size of your wine bottles can vary based on consumption rate after opening. In general two adults will drink one 750 ml bottle of wine at a meal, so if four adults are having dinner why not open one 1500 ml bottle instead of two smaller bottles? An alternative to bottling is to use a large stainless steel storage vessel with a tap and with a nitrogen or carbon dioxide head system to keep air out. By so doing you fill one or more carafes with wine instead of having to deal with bottles.
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