Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Strawberries and Cream Tea

Did you know that strawberries are native to North America? I've found them growing wild in Northern California and Washington state. Mostly, I've found them on the seashores. Where have you found them growing?

Wild strawberries are smaller than the big, watery, hybrid berries you'll find at the supermarket, but they make up for it with intense flavor.

Last year, I was lucky in that not many people came out to work in the community garden and we have a ginormous strawberry patch. I wanted to do something with them that didn't involve loads of sugar, so I dehydrated a bunch. They're delicious in trail mix and also in this lovely tea.

 I find that dried fruit teas take more plant matter than herbal teas. I use about 1/4 cup of berries to 1 cup of boiling water. Let the tea steep for a bit. Strain the berries out and use in another recipe, such as adding to a cake or pancakes.

You may want to reheat the tea gently if it has cooled a bit. It's tart but tasty at this point. You can drink it as is or add a bit of sweetener of your choice and cream product. I can't do dairy, so I use a nice thick homemade almond milk.

Mmmm, a cup of summer fairy magic in winter. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Life is Good

Life is good. Tonight I'm working on my homemade up-cycled coat and sipping on lavender coconut tea  from my new Lilith mug, that I just back from the kiln.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Preserved Lemons

It's that time of year again, when citrus is in season and time to preserve some lemons! Buy a bunch while they're cheap and preserve now to use throughout the year. Although they are good for almost anything you'd use lemon in, they are especially good in middle eastern dishes.

The recipe is pretty basic, you really only need lemons and salt. For a pint sized jar, it takes approx. 1/4 cup salt. Start by layering a 1/2" layer of salt on the bottom of the jar. Cut through the clean lemons length-wise but leaving bottom attached. (I like to remove as many seeds as possible at this point) Sprinkle the inside with more salt. Cram into the jar tightly and top off with lemon juice so that lemons stay under liquid as much as possible. I can never get them to stay completely under the liquid, so every day for the first several days, I open the jar and push them under with the back of a spoon. From this starting point, the recipe can be as simple or complex as you like, by adding more spices. I like to add bay leaves, coriander seeds and fennel.
This year I left the jar out on the counter for about 5 days and let the lemons ferment a bit before storing them in the fridge. I love this old french canning jar I got at a garage sale, just needed a new seal. Lucky the sizes are pretty standard.

Anyone else making preserved lemons? What spices do you like to add?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Pine Flavored Oil

It's a new year, and a new try at pine flavored olive oil. Last year my oil fermented. Weird. But I keep seeing posts by people doing all kinds of amazing sounding things with pine, like over here at Crockpots and Cauldrons. So, I'm giving it another go. 

Fingers crossed!