Posts Tagged With: gift

Celebrate Seasons

Jacqueline Soule here, busy in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, getting baskets of garden goodies ready for gifting.  Many of the topics we Savor Sister have discussed over the years are finding their way into those baskets.

jam 1886343_1280

Some of the topics I featured in the last twelve months that are great for gifts:
* lemon cordial – December 2016
* pomegranate (made into jelly) – January 2017
* seeds (some used as herbs) – March 2017
* lemon pickle – April 2017
* turmeric root (chopped and dried) – June 2017
* sunflower (dried heads for friends with birds) July 2017

lemon-use-1602933

All of these gifts from your Southwest garden require planning ahead.  Harvesting, drying, preserving the bounty of the earth takes time and effort at the time that the bounty is offered.  Sharing the bounty is – in so many ways – the entire point of this season, no matter what religion or non-religion you embrace.

stonehenge 1566686_1280

As the solar year cycles through, the days get shorter and shorter, the darkness of night gets longer and deeper, until, on one specific day, the days start getting longer again, and darkness decreases.  We humans now living with artificial light may miss the point of just how tremendous this turning back the dark is.

 

petroglyph sedona 672885_1280

To celebrate this season of renewed light we give gifts that were generated by light! Solar light that is – light that shines down on the earth, ripening the grain so we can make flour, ripening the cane so we can make sugar, growing the trees for cinnamon and cloves, causing the flowers that grow into vanilla beans, and then we combine them in many tasty ways.

christmas cookies 2992468_1280

We would not be here, nor have any gifts to give, without the bounty of the earth and sun.  Even if you give gifts made of plastic and metal, the plastic comes originally from plants, and metal came up out of the earth.  Points to ponder as the sun cycle continues and the days grow longer once again.

sunflower seeds 1705752_1280

sunflowe and monk parakeet 2884519_1280

 

However you celebrate the season, I wish you joy and peace and bounty in the year ahead.

solstice summer 1474745_1280

 

JAS avatarIf you live in Southeastern Arizona, please come to one of my lectures. Look for me at your local Pima County Library branch, Steam Pump Ranch, Tubac Presidio, Tucson Festival of Books and other venues. After each event I will be signing copies of my books, including the latest, Month-by-Month Garden Guide for Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico (Cool Springs Press, $26).
© Article copyright by Jacqueline A. Soule. All rights reserved. Republishing an entire blog post or article is prohibited without permission. I receive many requests to reprint my work. My policy is that you may use a short excerpt but you must give proper credit to the author, and must include a link back to the original post on our site.  Photos © Jacqueline A. Soule may not be used.  Some photos in this post are courtesy of Pixabay.

Categories: Cooking, Edible Landscape Plant, fruit, Gardening, herbs, Kino herb, Sonoran herb, Southwest Food | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mole Tasting Saturday, January 21

15621766_10154632246971900_8966691242679411883_n

photo: Lani Roundy Axman

Come Saturday, January 21 at 1pm for a taste! Amy here, inviting you to Alfonso Gourmet Olive Oil Store at Oracle and Magee in Tucson for a little discussion about mole and to purchase fresh Mano Y Metate Mole Powders. Plus attendees take home a 60ml bottle of olive oil!

This photo was from Galeana 39, my friend Curtis Parhams’ gift shop in Phoenix where you can also purchase my mole powders.

In the foreground you see Mole Dulce Popcorn, my mom’s favorite recipe with her favorite variety of mole. Yes, you can just sprinkle mole powder on the buttered popcorn, but this method is better.

15541989_1198579546916916_1603876568704811100_n

photo: Curtis Parhams

20161217_131604

Take a tin of Mole Dulce powder and cook in a few tablespoons oil in a very large skillet. You can use more oil than if you were making mole sauce because it is standing in for butter on the popcorn. I prefer a mild tasting olive from Alfonso, but any cooking oil will work. After the paste is fragrant, bubbly and a shade darker, toss air-popped corn into the paste and mix until all the kernels are seasoned. Salt to taste and enjoy the sweet, salty, spicy treat while it’s still warm!

After talking about the basic components that build mole sauces, the varieties of mole and a little about Mano Y Metate, I’ll prepare Mole Dulce with butternut squash cubes.

20161119_105535

I start with a butternut squash, peeling and cutting into bite sized pieces. Then cook a tin of Mole Dulce powder in 2 tablespoons oil on medium heat. Nancy Alfonso said they had new fresh oil varieties since I was there last, so I’m excited to try them Saturday. Anyway, cook the paste and then add veggie or chicken broth. In a few minutes, the sauce comes together and the cubes of squash go in the pot. Simmer until tender. Alternately, you can precook the squash cubes until barely tender before adding to the sauce. We’ll enjoy these bites on toothpicks, but at home you could put on a tostada or fresh tortilla and garnish with cilantro or green onion. Serve with beans, rice and a salad for a vegetarian meal or as a side dish with another meal.

So if you’re in Tucson and want to stay dry, come taste a wild diversity of high quality extra virgin olive oils, some mild, others pleasantly bitter, some peppery.  Many infused with herbs or other ingredients. Last time I took home Blood Orange infused olive oil, perfect for cilantro chutneys! Yes some perfect for salads, but also for cooking. They also have butternut squash seed oil, oil expressed from squash seeds. Amazing! Alfonso Gourmet Olive Oils and Balsamics 7854 N.Oracle Road- Southeast corner of Oracle and Magee. They also have a River and Campbell store.20161119_105930

Categories: Cooking, Sonoran Native, Southwest Food, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Luscious Lemons

Jacqueline Soule here today, a few days after winter solstice with the holiday entertaining frenzy in full swing.  Making old favorite recipes and experimenting with new ones.
juicer-1602902Since my lemon trees produced prodigiously this year I am working using all these lemons in new and fun ways.  Today I will share three ways to make lemony alcoholic drinks – to give as gifts NEXT holiday season.   All you need are lemons (or other fruit – see notes below), inexpensive vodka, sugar, and some bottles.
lemon-use-1602933

 

Fruit. If you do not have lemons, these recipes will work with other fruit or even edible flowers. I have successfully used currants, elderberry, orange, blackberry, red clover flowers, and dandelion flowers.  Most cordials are half syrup (1 cup juice to 1 cup sugar) and half alcohol.

lemon-use-1602930

Alcohol.  I use the cheapest vodka there is because aging it with fruits and sugar smooths out the flavor and makes the vodka’s humble origins quite unnoticeable.  You could also use the pure grain alcohol, sold as Everclear.  You just need something that is at least 40 percent alcohol by volume (ABV).  You want enough alcohol in the mix to kill any bacteria or fungi that might want to inhabit your beverages.  Dilution can occur after decanting and before consumption.

Time.  These drinks are best aged for a minimum of 6 months.  The absolute tastiest I have made is some dandelion cordial that is going on 6 years old now, and every year it just gets smoother and mellower.  I imagine that at some point this time advantage will be lost but I only made 8 jars so the experiment has 2 more years to run.

 

lemon-use-1602943

Remember to label your creation and include the date.  Sharpie is easily erased with rubbing alcohol.

Label.  Always label what you have!  Include the date!  Sharpies write on glass and are easily erased with some rubbing alcohol.  You can make fancier labels for gift giving when the time comes.

Lemon Vodka
lemon-use-1602936
One lemon sliced finely and layered into bottle of choice.
Top with inexpensive vodka.
Invert a few times to eliminate air bubbles.  Add more vodka as needed.
For the first 2 weeks invert every 2 or three days to eliminate air bubbles.
Age for a minimum of 6 months.

Lemon Cordial with Lemons
lemon-use-1602920

Slice lemon finely.
Coat with sugar.
Layer into bottle.
Fill bottle with these sugared lemon slices.
Top with inexpensive vodka.
Invert a few times to eliminate air bubbles. Add more vodka as needed.
For the first 2 weeks invert every 2 or 3 days to eliminate air bubbles and dissolve sugar.
The sugar against the fruit helps draw out the juice.
Age for a minimum of 6 months.

lemon-use-1602922

.
Lemon Juice Cordial

lemon-use-1602925

Juice lemons.
For 1 cup lemon juice, add one cup sugar and one cup inexpensive vodka.
Shake well.
For the first 2 weeks shake every 2 or 3 days until all sugar is dissolved.
Age for a minimum of 6 months.

Enjoy!  I am looking forward to sampling these cordials this summer, when a refreshing lemon drink is in order.  Or perhaps next winter solstice – as a warmed up lemony drink.

.

JAS avatarIf you live in Southeastern Arizona, please come to one of my lectures. Look for me at your local Pima County Library branch, Steam Pump Ranch, Tubac Presidio, Tucson Festival of Books and other venues. After each event I will be signing copies of my books, including the latest, Month-by-Month Garden Guide for Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico (Cool Springs Press, $26).

 

© Article copyright by Jacqueline A. Soule.  All rights reserved.  Republishing an entire blog post or article is prohibited without permission.  I receive many requests to reprint my work.  My policy is that you may use a short excerpt but you must give proper credit to the author, and must include a link back to the original post on our site.  Photos © Jacqueline A. Soule – they may not be used.

Categories: Cooking, fruit | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.