A rare night off while stationed in Bloomington allowed a risky visit to one of my favorite Restaurants FARMbloomington.  Billed as an independent restaurant with the slogan “Don’t be afraid of flavor.”  Real Food – Unique Celebrations…which is exactly what I craved.  I cook for my clients and love it but there comes a time when I need to sit down to someone else’s idea of exotic flavor.

20160625_211229As I perused the drink list, one jumped off the page.  Gin, pink grapefruit juice, black pepper syrup and Cynar which I later learned is an artichoke liqueur.  Who knew! It was simply sublime.  For dinner the selection was Tandori Salmon with braised lentils, pure heaven.20160624_194036

Arriving home from my work week with only a few left overs from cooking, I looked at two lemons, and a tub of Mascarpone cheese and pondered dinner!  And oh how I wished for that exotic peppery drink sensation.  Let’s see what creativity could produce.  The drink called for a heavy peppered simple syrup.  Simple enough.  A cup of sugar and a cup of water boiled with lots and lots of black pepper.  The recipe called for Gin which is a household staple and pink grapefruit juice which was in short supply, but I did remember buying a bottle of Joia sparkling grapefruit, chamomile and cardamom.  I am a sucker for exotic tastes.  20160627_193441

Pondering a name for the drink, I glanced at two pictures on the living room wall.  One is India and one is Africa.  Cardamom is from India and black pepper is from Africa.  And so a sip of India and Africa was created.

Next was what to do with two lemons and Mascarpone cheese. 20160627_192919A video showed the spark of lemon zest in heavy granulated sugar.  The Mascarpone was combined with heavy cream, always a house staple.  Lady Fingers keep indefinitely and those are a house staple too.  A quick lemon syrup was made and spiced with a little Sherry and the lady fingers were dipped in it.  The Mascarpone became a lemon Tiramisu of sorts.  Not wanting to cook, out came some left over  pizza just waiting for me in a “to go” box from you guessed it, FARMbloomington.20160625_213237  It was a night to remember. Leftovers never tasted so good.

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