Ginger Bugs & Plum Blossoms

I originally posted this over on the Spruce Tips instagram, but thought I’d repost it here for folks who have yet to join the ol’ Spruce Tips train. 

We’ve been really into homemade sodas lately: lovage syrup became homemade Cel-Ray, bits of leftover pineapple became pineapple ginger soda, and we just turned the lingering plum blossoms from the backyard into a heady, perfumed nectar to be  transformed into a sophisticated soda using a ginger bug.

You’ll make the ginger bug with a half cup sugar and a half cup water (warm, not hot) + a small knob of ginger, grated. Mix well and leave on the counter, loosely covered, for one or two days, stirring a couple times a day. Feed with a spoonful of sugar and a spoonful of grated ginger each day. After a couple of days, you should see bubbles. If not, make sure the mixture is not too cold, and try for another day or so. Once you start to see some bubblin’ action, strain a quarter cup to use for your soda. (PS: You can find lots more info on ginger bugs at Nourished Kitchen.)

Meanwhile, make a simple syrup (a cup of sugar, a cup of water). Simmer just until sugar is dissolved, stirring. Turn off heat, add about a cup of plum blossoms, and cover. Strain off about a half cup of syrup (save the rest for cocktails or another batch of soda!), and combine with cool water (about a quart.) When mixed well, add the strained quarter cup of ginger bug, and funnel the whole mixture into a fliptop glass bottle. (We use the bottles leftover from Trader Joe’s Ginger Brew because I am not that into Grolsch, sorry.) Leave on the counter for a day or two, then pop in the fridge to chill before opening. (Make sure to chill, because you want to slow the fermentation and reduce the pressure in the bottle before opening because, ya know, safety.)

You can try just fermenting for a day, chilling, and then tasting. If it’s too sweet or not fizzy enough, leave out at room temp another day, then chill. Enjoy!

PS: If plum blossoms aren’t your thing, you can use any other infused simple syrup in the quantities listed here, or a fruit juice, just subbing slightly more fruit juice and less water than the syrup:water ratio listed above.

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On the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, or: I’m sorry, Luther, I’m just not that into you

Today churches all over the world will celebrate the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s theses and the Protestant Reformation with music, sermons, tree plantings, workshops, and more. Like most folks raised in the Christian tradition, I’m no stranger to Luther. My husband was raised in a Lutheran tradition, with numerous Lutheran clergy relatives. When I was in elementary school, I channeled our recent lesson on Luther into petitions to remove styrofoam from lunch service, taped to the cafeteria doors (did Luther get called to his principal’s office?). Winnie’s godfather’s middle name is Luther, after, ya know, THAT Luther. There are folks all over Christendom who get the warm fuzzies whenever Martin Luther’s name is mentioned, but I have to tell you– I’m not one of them. Continue reading “On the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, or: I’m sorry, Luther, I’m just not that into you”

Apothecaryaryarying

In fifth grade, I played an apothecary. All of us in the G&T (gifted and talented, not *that* G&T) program dressed up as various roles in a Colonial village, except that of the slaughtered indigenous person or the enslaved black person or the like, of course, because it was Texas in the early 90s, and–

Anyway, I was one of two apothecaries serving the quaint Colonial Lake Cities. I rolled lots and lots of pills and leeches out of modeling clay, and I told a twenty minute story about chasing away Redcoats that I made up on the spot. It was exhilarating.

Continue reading “Apothecaryaryarying”

Crunchy (Except When Chewy)

White Supremacy is alive and well in America, and every person of color has known this for a long, long time. Charlottesville is no surprise, unfortunately, and performative measures won’t make it go away. I recommit to doing all I can to fight anti-blackness, antisemitism, and bigotry, in every facet of my life.

And that’s what I have to say about that.

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In all of the goat milking, kraut fermenting, hippie deodorant making melee around here, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that I love making granola. Maybe not as much as Mike, but he doesn’t have a WordPress account so we’ll never know. Granola was my job, once upon a time, as I joined a great line of folks who baked for a small specialty grocery, making batches and batches and batches of granola.

Continue reading “Crunchy (Except When Chewy)”

A Request for Recipes, Half Fulfilled (Try the Zucchini Bread)

My friend Ricky is really smart. My friend Ricky is top 1% of smartest, most engaged people I know, which is saying something. My friend Ricky grows things and makes things and has a realllll cute cat and also makes the public healthier and smarter and better able to serve all people.

So when my friend Ricky asks for recipes after I post too damn many instagram food pics, I oblige. It’s my friend Ricky, after all.

Here’s the thing. More now that I’m working from home and with the kids more, cooking is a a rhythm and sometimes a race– a race to keep things from spoiling, to get food on the table, to get something in the oven before nap and out of the oven before charcoal sets in.

Mondays we milk goats. Mondays, then, we make cheese. It’s a simple endeavor– tossing cultures on the still warm raw goat milk, gently warming and throwing in some rennet. Forgetting all about it. Remembering. Draining. Salting. Eating. Maybe some herbs and olive oil and a little Revolution Farms garlic powder because I heard Alex say he has a new batch out, so I’d better use up last season’s.

(Recipe for zuccini bread after the jump, I promise.)
Continue reading “A Request for Recipes, Half Fulfilled (Try the Zucchini Bread)”