Friday, June 20, 2014

MAKE: Mint Ginger Lemongrass Syrup

Simple syrup is one of those things that you make once and wonder why you've never done it before. It is soooo easy, and I guarantee you always have the ingredients on hand. It's a 1:1 measurement. Water to sugar. That's it. And once you've nailed that, the variations are endless....which is how I found myself making this recipe.

Is the sight of neglected, browned herbs in your fridge a familiar one? For me, I would say most definitely yes. I'll keep half a bunch of basil thinking "I'll do something with it". Nope. I come to find it weeks later looking very sad at the back of the fridge. Good news guys, this recipe can do wonders for that problem!

In this particular case, I had leftover lemongrass and ginger from various dinners I cooked last week, and a huge bunch of mint that I grabbed randomly from the asian market once again thinking, "I'll do something with it". And you know what?...I DID! Obviously you can omit any of these flavors to make an even simpler syrup but I thought these would go nicely together as a threesome. I didn't really measure my herbs so this is kind of a guesstimate recipe….

Ingredients: Makes 4.5-5 cups 
(this is a large batch recipe, I recommend cutting the sugar, water ratio down if you are only using it for one purpose)
3 cups water
3 cups sugar (I used one cup of turbinado sugar, two cup granulated)
bunch of mint
1 inch piece of ginger, chopped
1 stalk of lemon grass, chopped thin
In a medium saucepan combine sugar, water and herbs and bring to a boil over medium heat. 
Stir until sugar is completely dissolved.
Allow mixture to cool.
Strain the mixture and discard herbs. 
Pour into a sealed container, glass jar or bottle.

* If you are new to the world of simple syrup and would like a few suggestions on how to use it, here are a few of my favorites:

- add sweetness to iced or hot tea

- Make a fancy cocktail, a Mojito or Mint Julep would be perfect for this recipe

- Popsicles! Mix fresh fruit, syrup and some water or juice, blend, and you have your next popsicle creation 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Wandering Wednesday: Witch & Bitch at DRAM Apothecary

This is a language we used to know-- reading and communicating with the land, using and celebrating what it has to offer...hunting and gathering. Foraging for food in the wild is a forgotten skill that is so natural and beautiful. Last Sunday I attended Witch & Bitch, a class self-described as a badass Girl Scouts for grown women...From foraging and tea blending to beer making and ax throwing, these classes are based on the five senses while learning a new skill in the community. Shae Whitney of DRAM Apothecary has teamed up with the ladies of R.L. Linden, Lynn Till and Robin King, to continue "the time honored tradition of folk wisdom being passed down by wise women, mothers, grannies, midwives, healers, gardeners, cooks, medicine women and all those who are labeled as witches that came before them." 

This summer class focused on tea blending and herb foraging. We hiked the hills of Silver Plume, Colorado and were taught how to identify locally growing herbs in nature-- smelling, tasting, collecting. The women taught us that foraging is also about responsibility to the land, taking only what you need and harvesting in a way that ensures the future survival of the species. We returned to the Bread Bar where we got even further into the natural benefits of these herbs, and how can be used in everyday life as remedies and soothers of specific ailments. Using the knowledge we had just learned, it was time to make our own, personal tea blend! I made a Sleep/Calm tea blend of Skullcap, Lemon Balm, Linden, Lavender and Rose :). I've been having some restless nights lately. The day was topped off with delicious food, a tasty cocktail, and lovely conversation. Although it was unseasonably cold and drizzly, we couldn't have asked for a better day, in the most magical location (seriously, how wonderful is this place?!). I sipped my Grey Gardens adult beverage concoction by the fire and thought about how nice it felt to be learning something new again. Thank you women of Witch & Bitch for sharing your expertise, I can't wait for the next one!