Monday, February 23, 2009
I must be starting to suffer from spring fever. I have been reading some really wonderful gardening books and thinking about planting stuff! It is sort of crazy considering the Old Farmer's Almanac says the first thing to plant in my zone is parsnips in APRIL! That is two months away...I suppose it doesn't hurt to plan though.
Elements of Garden Design by Joe Eck has been in my bathroom for a couple of days. I get some good short article reading done there. (Sorry if that is TMI for you!) This book is compiled from a series of articles Joe Eck did for Horticulture magazine I think in the 90's sometime. Anyway it is a wonderful book to pick up and dream over for a few minutes. I just love the idea of garden rooms and the use of structures to create little spaces that catch your eye. It makes me think I could do things like that...
I have also been reading Living Seasonally also by Joe Eck and Wayne Winterrowd. In this book they talk about eating what comes from the garden without canning or freezing anything. That isn't the best idea...we always get enough to freeze some tomatoes and it is VERY nice to get that heirloom flavor in the dead of February! But, I am really interested in getting locally grown fresh vegetables the day or so that they are picked. There is talk here in town of having a farmer's market. It is so strange that my little town hasn't had a farmer's market! I would love to get into selling hand creams and balms and handspun yarn at a farmer's market. That would be sooo cool!
I am also interested in buying a share of Community Supported Agriculture. Through these local farmers and dairies you can get fresh, organic vegetables, fruits, flowers, honey, and even mushrooms! So neat! Our friend Michele bought a share last summer and it was a wonderful mix of great vegetables and fruits. My husband the chef is really interested in having all these wonderful ingredients at hand to inspire him as well!
I made scones yesterday wile my chef had his nap. They turned out really nice. I don't dare put fruit in them as certain people at my house won't eat raisins or dried cherries! I use the recipe from the King Arthur Baking Book. Go to their website for really good recipes and techniques.
Did I tell you that I have been grinding spices for my own masala chai? It is so good and goes really well with the scones.
This warming beverage is easy to prepare by steeping spices in hot water and milk before adding black tea. It's not as milky as the chai often sold at American coffee bars. To make it richer, add more milk and sugar to taste.
5 whole cloves ground
4 cardamom pods ground, 2 pods whole steeped
1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
3 cups water
1-2 teaspoon ground ginger, I use fresh ginger shredded into water
5-6 black peppercorns
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons granulated vanilla- sugar (sugar stored with a broken vanilla bean)
2 tablespoons Black tea
In a mortar, crush the cloves, cardamom pods, peppercorns and cinnamon. Transfer the crushed spices to a small saucepan, add the water, ginger and bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat, cover and let steep for 5 minutes. Add the milk and sugar to the pan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the tea. Cover and let steep for 4 minutes. Stir the chai, strain it into a warmed teapot or directly into teacups.
This is a really great tea and really inexpensive compared to the mixes you buy made up. I am still working on the amounts of everything and that is the great thing about making your own-you can really adjust the flavors to please yourself!
Well that is enough for now-hope you aren't TOO sick of my going on and on!
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and Jill a rich widow.