I always slow down in the winter, partly from the lack of light but mostly because of the cold. I do not do well in the cold; my tendency is to curl up into a ball. This year I have felt an even greater desire than usual to be dormant. I didn’t want to do anything more than cook and eat and read and maybe do a little knitting. But now I can feel my sap rising, creative juices beginning to flow.
In the past I would have labeled this laziness or procrastination or some other pejorative. Now I am feeling much easier about life. I feel good about allowing myself to flow with the cycles of nature. There is no real timetable and all things that we do are part of the wonder of living. I have also been reminded recently that the people we share our days with are the most important, the most wonderful part of life. Any task can be enjoyable if shared with congenial company.
At the New Year I did not make any resolutions. I did choose a word for the year or perhaps it chose me. The word is delight and I have made it a practice to ask myself during the day, what will make this more delightful? I highly recommend this practice because it causes you to focus on pleasure and joy rather than on all the things that make your eye twitch.
Today I chose to create delight by baking this bread and making this ricotta. I also mixed some thyme into honey where it will infuse its heady flavor. Tomorrow I will combine all three things and that too will be delightful.
We’ve had a pretty nice summer here in NYC so far. This is the first week where I’ve felt just a little too hot. One of my challenges is to stay hydrated in this kind of weather. Frankly, I find water pretty boring. It’s an effort to drink enough of it on a hot day. Fortunately there are several herbs that make lovely infused water that requires almost no effort at all.
First on the list is peppermint. Cooling and stimulating it makes a great drink for an active day. Second is ginger root. It’s just a little fiery when made as a cold infusion. I like to add some honey for sweetness. Third, and probably my favorite, is lemon balm. It’s a member of the mint family but is very mild and calming rather than stimulating. It has a delicate flavor and just a hint of sweetness to it.
All of these herbs are great for the digestive system. Peppermint and ginger stimulate the appetite and the flow of digestive juices and they both relieve nausea. Lemon balm is very soothing and relaxing to the digestive tract, easing any distress in the stomach. It also soothes the mind and can be taken at night to aid sleep.
To make a cold infusion chop fresh herbs and place in a mason jar or coffee press. Fill with cold water and allow to steep overnight. The next day strain the herbs out, add any sweetener you might like and store in the refrigerator. The infusion will last for 3-4 days refrigerated. Use 1/4 -1/2 cup fresh herbs per quart of water depending on how strong you would like your infusion. I usually make it strong and then add more water later for a milder taste.
Filed under Food, General