One of the most versatile items we’ve included in the Summer Box is Blank Slate Kitchen’s Palm Sugar Syrup. This complex, rich syrup has a natural sweetness with notes of caramel and maple. It can be used in coffee, tea, and cocktails- as well as in baking and on desserts.
To find out more about this incredible Summer Box treat, we caught up with the founder of Blank Slate Kitchen, New York City chef and worldwide adventurer, Alex Sorenson.
Alex has had such a varied and interesting career that we had to start back at the beginning to get the full story. Growing up, family dinners at the Sorenson house reflected his parents’ well-traveled tastes. Foregoing the suburban tradition of Campbell soup-based casseroles, Alex’s mom instead graced the table with Indian naan and Korean bulgogi. Alex naturally followed suit, working in restaurants and cooking at home throughout college while he studied for a degree in Cognitive and Computer Science at the University of Virginia.
After graduation, Alex worked as a software consultant for several years before making the leap to being in the kitchen full-time. Since then he has worked in several influential restaurants in New York that have helped pioneer the farm to table movement, including Mas (farmhouse) in the West Village.
Working with WWOOF, a volunteer exchange focused on organic farming, Alex spent six months in rural France learning how to make cheese and sharpening his charcuterie skills. We asked him if he could share any tips for making the perfect charcuterie board:
Since then, Alex’s wanderlust has taken him to Africa and Southeast Asia, where he became inspired to create his line of syrups. After touring the Spice Islands off the coast of Tanzania, Alex returned to the kitchen with his Black Pepper Syrup. Initially the syrup was to be featured in a dessert, but since then it’s become a staple behind the bar. One of Alex’s favorite cocktails is made with Gin, limejuice, and the black pepper syrup.
Everyone can relate to having a fridge or pantry full of random condiments- flavors you’ve been gifted, or picked up at a farmers market once and then forgot about. With Alex’s infinitely versatile syrups he invites home cooks everywhere to look at those ingredients with an open mind and a creative eye.
Having travelled so far and so frequently, Alex is an expert at bringing people together and making them feel comfortable at the table.
Alex recalls one his most memorable moments being hosted abroad- while in the northwest mountainous SE Asian country of Laos.
With Blank Slate Kitchen’s line of syrups, you can expect your next event to be unforgettable too- the frog heads are optional. Currently Blank Slate Kitchen offers four different syrups: Black Pepper, Vanilla, Bird’s Eye Chili, and the Palm Sugar which we’ve included in our Summer Boxes. Alex is careful in striving for ethically based sources for his syrups.
His syrups use a ratio of 2:1 sugar to water, making them rich, thick, and concentrated. In addition to allowing for less syrup in a cocktail, they can be drizzled over breakfast and desserts, used in marinades, coffee and teas, and substituted one to one for corn syrup in baking and candy making.
We can’t thank Blank Slate Kitchen enough for elevating our Summer cocktails and recipes with his unique and delicious syrup. Keep an eye out for what Alex has coming out next: a line of sauces.
Also, a little bird told us he might be collaborating with another of our Summer Box vendors, Pineapple Co. to make a cheeky cocktail kit! We here at Mostess are most pleased to see our boxes facilitating relationships between other American based small businesses making quality products.
Visit www.blankslatekitchen.com for more recipes and creative ideas for your next gathering.