Last week we discussed the wonders and variety of uses for gelatin, but for the many folks who do not include animal products in their diet, the plant world offers a wonderful alternative. Agar is an edible jelly derived from a red algae called gelidium amansii that is found in the shallow waters of many Asian countries including Japan, China and the Korean Peninsula. Continue »
Scented geranium leaves that work for culinary and aromatherapy.
One of my favourite herbal plants is a scented rose geranium, which gives off a delicious scent of rose when the leaves are crushed. The houseplants we commonly call geraniums are actually Pelargoniums in botanical-speak. They are tender perennials, originating in South Africa. But no matter the name, the rose geranium is one of my Must Have plants. While it’s not a flowering specimen—the flowers are insignificant—rose geranium is more than worth it to grow for the scent alone.
In nature, there are some plants and flowers that have complex aromas and flavors. Probably the best example of this is wine grapes. Just think of all the words to describe your favorite wines: berry, chocolate, citrus, oaky, grassy. The list is almost endless. In the world of herbs, scented geraniums are similar.
I use it as a ‘walk by” form of aromatherapy, grabbing a leaf and burying my nose in it, for a shot of wondrous olfactory bliss. This is the kind of thing you need in November, or any winter day, really. The scent is similar to the Attar of Rose scent, a true rose fragrance.
We just got our first snowfall and with that thoughts quickly turned towards soups, stews and pot roasts. When preparing these cold weather classics it’s always a good idea to have a batch of beef or chicken stock on hand, and a well-stocked freezer (see what I did there?) will have a couple litres at least of each. A good stock differs from broth in that broth is typically a liquid that meat has been cooked in, whereas stock is a more flavourful, complex and nutritious, made from simmering the butchered bones, cartilage, and connective tissues along with whatever meat is on the bones, usually for a number of hours. These compounds dissolve during the lengthy simmering process into gelatin and it is this component that makes a stock luxurious, shimmering and smooth when liquid and a savoury jelly when cold. Continue »
Fiesta Farms will be donating ingredients to a fundraising dinner to help Syrian refugees. Inna Gertsberg is one of the organizers, along with Sang Kim and Lara Zahabi, I spoke with her about the event and how everyone can get involved. This post is illustrated with images of traditional Syrian dishes that should be mouthwatering enough to encourage you to buy a ticket to this incredible dinner. Continue »