Thursday, June 6, 2013


well! My dissertation has been sent to my committee and I defend it next week. That's kind of crazy, isn't it? In the meantime, I have a backlog of little fun food projects that the start of foraging/garden season has made possible.

When I started harvesting my first doug fir tips, I was reading up on new uses for them; I infused some in olive oil, and I read about infusing one's own doug fir cordial or elixir. The recipe was simple: infuse clean, dry tips in vodka in a cool dark place for at least 2-3 weeks (though I believe long steeping gives a better result when infusing cordials and such, so I'm planning to infuse for a few months), then remove the plant matter and add a bit of simple syrup or honey. Swirl to combine and continue to steep for a few more weeks.

Well. This seems like a thing one could do with a lot of different plant matter, doesn't it? So I'm giving the process a go (above) with elderflowers from the sambucus nigra I have planted on this property (I've planted three, all are different: black lace, thundercloud, and another the name of which I've forgotten!).
I'm also trying it with chamomile blossoms; if this turns out, I'll give the liqueur away to my friend Kris, who asked (offhand) this spring if Cass could come up with a chamomile-based cocktail for her. And below the chamomile (the vodka's such a pretty sunny yellow colour already!), I'm infusing those doug fir tips.

The gorgeous rose-hued liquid on the left isn't a liqueur at all; it's chive blossom vinegar. Last year, I used distilled white vinegar - and while it was pretty, it was a bit harsh for salad dressings. It was marvelous as part of a pickling brine for my garlic dill pickles, however.  This year, I got wise: I used champagne vinegar. This will be nicely oniony in a vinaigrette for a summer salad!

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