We were asked what herb we want to get each time we picked up our CSA vegetables. Megan, our CSA farmer always put up a white board near her van filled with information of what vegetables were in the box, what could be swapped, what extra vegetables she had, and what herbs were available on that day. I always picked either Italian or Thai basil because I loved pesto, or sometimes cilantro when I planned on making salsa. Yet that day, I saw holy basil -herb I never heard of before -was written on the board. She gave a brief explanations and explained the benefits of holy basil. "It helps you relax, works better than Chamomile", she said. I didn't have problem with relaxing. In fact, I often feel asleep on the couch and hard to wake up in the morning. Yet I wanted to try the basil. Since then, holy basil was listed on my herb list; and basil tea became one of my favorite beverages. I like to make the tea then save it in the refrigerator. I believe it will taste great also when served hot.
Holy Basil Tea
Ingredients: 6-8 stalks holy basil (about 8 leaves each stalk)
4 cup water
In a small pan bring water to boil. Lower the heat, add the leaves and allow to brew for 3-4 minutes or longer for darker and stronger tea. Turn off the heat and strain it into cups or a tea pot. Add honey or sugar. Serve hot or cold.
I love having some potted herbs in our apartment. I love to watch them grow, and sometimes ehm...talk to them. If you think a landscape architect graduate must be an expert in plants...um...you are wrong. I am a novice planter. There are a lot of researching and frustration in keeping my few plants healthy and pretty. As example, I saved my poinsettia my friend gave me last two Christmas and tried to make it rebloom red for last Christmas. I followed all the procedure such as placing in an uninterrupted-dark place for 12-14 hours every night for three months. What I got on Christmas time was green-leaved poinsettia; then all of sudden it bore red leaves...in February!
I didn't really plan on having plants in our apartment. Hearing a story of my friend's composting pile in his tiny apartment and worked well, I thought it wasn't such a bad idea after all to have a small herb corner to supply my kitchen. Yet I still thought that I would wait until I had a house. So all of my three indoor herbs are all nice coincidence. The basil came from seeds I got from a Solar Decathlon house I visited in DC last fall. The seeds were packed in a nice envelope as a souvenir from that particular house to encourage people to vote for their house and have indoor garden as part of a sustainable lifestyle they were promoting. The mint and lemon balm are from my friend Thea last Easter. They were exhausted and in bad shapes when they got to our apartment. I repotted them immediately and they grew so fast since then. I just harvested and pruned them because they got too high and needed to be treated because of some bugs.
So I can have herb tea whenever I want now. I can also have mojito on these hot spring days.
One end of year days, our friend Boe brought his Indian friend to stay at our place. That was a perfect time I learned more about Indian food. I asked him to teach me cooking some food that I like such as chicken tikka masala, chicken curry, and mango lassi. He was excited to teach and cook for us for our new year party. I was excited to learn and eat his yummy authentic Indian food also.
Cooking Indian meal is so elaborate. If I want to cook one, that would be the simplified one; and when I want to eat, I leave the cooking part to those who work at Indian restaurant in my city The one that we still make once is a while is the mango lassi. Besides mango and yogurt, the original recipe calls for milk (or heavy cream), cardamom, saffron, and sugar, but I like to use mango and yogurt only because the canned mango pulp is sweet already. I believe using fresh mango is much better than using the canned one. However, I am not willing to spend $1.24 for a small-sized mango.
Combine the mango purée and yogurt with blender or beat the heck out of it with whisker. Add ice cube. Super easy, and hm..yummy.
I served this as dessert when I invited our friends over for dinner; and every one loved this drink.
But the fire is so delightful,
And since we've no place to go,
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!...
Brrrrr...it's been cold this past days and will continue as stubborn arctic wave is striking central, eastern to south part of this country. Farther south in Florida, farmers are racing to save their crops from this unusual cold weather for that area. Their crops are valuable supplies for this country. I hope they don't suffer any significant damage.
I always feel miserable in winter. I can't focus on what I am doing while my body is below my comfortable temperature standard. If I could cuddle on a cozy couch in front of fire place while drinking hot chocolate for the whole winter, that would be.......BORING!!! Haha...
Hubby's parent always get us several sachets of instant ginger. "For winter supply", they said. Yesterday, I made ronde / tang yuen, and used that instant ginger so I didn't have to make ginger drink from scratch.
Ingredients: Glutinous rice flour
Food coloring (optional)
Dash of salt
Crush peanut using food processor. Mix peanut with sugar and a little water until the mixture is pliable. The amount of sugar depends on how sweet one wants the peanut filling to be. The salt is just to make the taste richer.
Make several 1cm-diameter balls.
Mix water, glutinous rice, and drops of food coloring in a container until the dough is shiny and doesn't stick to the container. If the dough is too soft (can't stand by its own), add more flour.
Make as many 1.5 cm-diameter balls as peanut balls. Using pointy finger, poke a ball to make a hole. Put one peanut ball, close the dough ball. Roll with hand to make a perfect round ball. Do the same with the rest.
Cook the balls in boiling water until floating. Serve with hot ginger drink, agar-agar, and peanut.