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The bitter(s) and the sweet

23 Jan

bitters

In this chilly winter season, I’ve been making bitters with infusions of herbs and other flavor agents.

Shown here are homemade vanilla and mugwort, plus old favorites Angostura and Peychaud’s in soda water for a tasting flight.

My current favorite are vanilla bitters, which are really lovely in a mug of warm milk before bed.

Vanilla Bitters

In a mason jar or other 500 ml bottle, combine:
2 vanilla beans
1 whole nutmeg
1 black cardamom (green cardamom works too, but use a small one – black are smokier and milder)
3 black peppercorns
500 mls vodka (I use Stoli)

Infuse for 30 days, shaking every day or two. Store in a dark place while infusing. If your vanilla beans are especially awesome, you may find a layer or brown oil floating in your bottle. This is a good thing – just be sure to shake it like a Polaroid picture before every use.

Vanilla Bitters Nightcap

Combine:
1 T of bitters
8 oz warm milk
1 T of honey
…and drift off to sweet dreams.

Monday Morning

14 Jan

yarn basketSo much excitement, and so much to do!

It was a very full weekend around these parts, starting with vending at Amelia’s Marketplace Yanping on Saturday, and finishing Sunday night with a round of infusions to make bitters. All of it was rich and full and great.. but I want to do is knit!

I want a quiet corner and winter sunlight and my new blue and white mitten project for company. More on that very, very soon, I hope…

Wishing you a peaceful and productive Monday!

On Failure

7 Jan

cookie dough failIn the last couple of days, I’ve been thinking a lot about failure.┬áMuch of what I post here are projects that went well, or at least well enough to share. Today, some musings on the parts that go really poorly.

So, failure… Please consider Exhibit A, shown above, the cream wafers. Cream wafers are a Christmas recipe my mom used to make. I loved them when I was little – I loved them like I loved ponies and mermaids and stickers and things that were pink and purple. I was determined to make these cookies for the holidays, and I failed.

I made the cookie dough, popped in into the frige to chill like the recipe said, and then realized I didn’t have a rolling pin. Then some time went by, and it was still in the fridge. There it sat, a sad, incomplete, doughy reminder of great plans unrealized.

Then, dear reader, I accepted my failure and threw it away.

My failure was complete, I no longer felt bad about it, and there was the epiphany – completed failure means 1. acceptance and 2. purging the evidence.

Being surrounded by daily reminders of failure is awful. Completing the failure, purging, and moving on feels awesome. Here’s to failing, better.

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” – Samuel Beckett

Finnish coffee bread brining kimchi