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something beautiful in the garden

July 26, 2010
Morning dew on the baby lacinato kale

I haven't posted anything in a very long time, but I'm finally home in Oregon and feeling a bit settled after so many months of travel.  The last time I wrote I was in Greece eating wild greens, (that trend continues back here where amaranth leaves have been our wild-green spinach substitute of choice).  After Greece there was a whirlwind road trip through Europe- full of food memories both good and bad. High point: trucker's lunch in France.  Low point: Cold can of ravioli at an Italian gas station.  Desperate times...  After the epic drive it was off to Iraq to start filming for a documentary I'm working on about agriculture in the region: more here So because of all that the garden got started a little late this year... but things are finally starting to sprout and bloom. I took the above photo of my young lacinato Kale the other morning because I love the decorative dew drops lining the leaves. Hopefully I will be able to start eating things very soon...   

Hibiscus, Rose, and Carcade Iced Tea

July 10, 2010
Rose, Hibiscus, and Carcade Tea

Last Summer, I wrote about Emma and I making iced tea with oregano out in Oregon. We were complete addicts. I usually am a very lazy ice tea maker (as in I never make it), and depend on others to put it together. I think it has to do with the waiting for the tea to cool.  However, yesterday I was inspired enough to make a batch for myself.

I have always found myself completely lost in the world of flowers, and this is yet another example of my perdition. I had been wanting to make a tea with dried hibiscus flowers and dried roses. I had a jar of dried Damascene roses from my recent trip to Turkey; I had drank them in infusions daily while in Istanbul. Roses bring happiness and beauty into our lives, and I absolutely love the femininity of their petals floating in water as they steep. I thought that the hibiscus would perk up the flavor of the rose with its tartness, as well as give it a nice red color. However, once I went to the Egyptian Bazaar in Istanbul, my novel idea seemed cheesy, because I saw the combination for sale at almost every booth under the name of “Lovers Tea” or something of the sort. Yesterday my sense of pride was redeemed, when I found a third flower to include- a dried Carcade- from the same family of Hibiscus, but a bit more red in color, and tighter in shape. They, like the hibiscus flower, are rich in vitamins, such as Vitamin C, and help boost the immune system. I put a small handful of each of the three flowers in a large Ball jar, along with two sprigs of mint. I poured over boiling hot water and let it steep. Once it cooled, I placed it in the fridge to set overnight. The next day I had a glass of the vermilion tea, and felt like all was right in the world again. I thought that I would have to add stevia or honey, or even a drip of lime juice, but I was content with it just as it was. You might not be able to find Carcade near you, but at least hunt down the hibiscus (known as Jamaica in Spanish and Sorrel in Jamaica), and the dried roses (from Middle Eastern grocery stores) to make this for yourself.