Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dandelion Cordial

picture from marthastewart.com



Recipe from marthastewart.com




  • Yield Makes 4 cups






  • serves 6 to 8

    Ingredients

    • 1 lemon
    • 1 1/2 cups water
    • 3 cups dandelion blossoms (yellow and white parts only)
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 3 cups vodka

    Directions

    1. Using a vegetable peeler, remove zest from lemon, and cut into matchstick-size strips. Reserve lemon for another use.
    2. Bring water and blossoms to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 10 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve, pressing solids. Discard blossoms.
    3. Add sugar. Stir to dissolve, returning to pan and warming over low heat if necessary. Add lemon zest and vodka. Pour into a resealable jar, and seal tightly.
    4. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks, stirring or shaking every few days. Serve cold, stirring well just before pouring.

    From mid-Spring to mid-Summer little specks of gold grace the naturally carpeted ground of Paradise Basin.  Can you guess what they are?  Yup!  That's right, dandelions.  For awhile now I've heard about both dandelion wine and cordials and so I finally decided to give it a try. 

    I think it took me about an hour to gather the three cups of dandelions.  While picking these flowers I was crouched on the ground like a frog ready to make a leap.  About every other second or so I was needed elsewhere (the kids) and so I'd run back and forth to the frog jump position to nitpick the dandelions until I had the required  three cups.

    I quickly discovered that vodka was needed to make the cordials and I didn't have any on hand.  Later that day I went to the grocery store to buy the vodka.  I did my usual shopping and while at the checkstand I realized that I had forgotten the vodka!  Nobody was behind me and so I asked if I could grab two items (she was still ringing me up).  So I ran as fast as I could to grab the vodka.  They were having a sale on the larger bottle so I purchased that one and then it occurred to me that I was running low on Pull-Ups and so I grabbed a pack of those on my way back. 

    Upon returning the checker was still ringing up my groceries so I felt relieved that nobody was waiting.  I set down the vodka and diapers and they just looked at me in a funny way.  They stopped chatting amongst each other and it got quiet.  I said, " Oh, yeah I'm making a dandelion cordial.  So you need vodka for that."  Then the checker smiled and looked at me in a confused sort-of-way and said, " why are you making that?".  I just shrugged my shoulders and smiled. 

    I'm not a huge fan of hard alcohol, thus I was a little shocked when three cups of vodka was needed for the cordial.  But then that's what makes a cordial, isn't it?  Well, I'm not so sure, actually.  Follow me, let's jump in the Magic Mixer (come on we need to have some fun) and find out what exactly a "cordial" is.  Since I'm taking the time to make this mysterious drink I think it deserves a proper introduction.

    Okay, we have arrived in the land of Wikipedia.  Aren't these old bottles cool?


    Old apothecary bottles of the kind once used for cordials.
    above picture from wikipedia.org


    Now that we've arrived in the wonderful land of Wikipedia we now have all the information that we need.  It says that cordials have a European origin and that they were created during the Renaissance. Cordials are made up of alcohol and include a blend of herbs and spices that can be used for recreational and or medicinal use.  I guess during this time it was not uncommon for people to add pearls, gold and other precious items in order to revive their spirt.  Some cordials were even used as an aphrodisiac, while others were used to calm the stomach after excessive eating (these were called Surfeit Waters).  Pretty interesting, isn't it?  I think so too!  Now that we've arrived back in the kitchen, I hope you get inspired to make some cordials too.  Think of all the choices!  Peppermint, blackberry, licorice, etc.  There is much room for creativity here.  Have fun!
      


    Photo Gallery


    After picking the dandelions, I brought them inside and left them on the countertop for a few hours. Oops.  It's probably best to use dandelions immediately after picking.  Oh, well.  We are going to be boiling them so I think it will be OK.
    The lemon peel...
    The water and blossoms were brought to a boil, simmered and left to stand for ten minutes.
    Next, I ran the mixture through my chinois.
    At this point, it looks very similar to vegetable broth with a floatie in it.  I think I accidentally dropped a lemon peel inside.    
    The lemon peel is now added to the mix.
    These bottles were run through my dishwasher before they were bottled with the ingredients.  My chosen bottles are not air tight so they will be stored indefinitely in the refrigerator.  That's it for now.  See you in two weeks!


    Well, two weeks has gone by.  Now let's see how this dandelion cordial tastes, shall we?  I poured you a glass too.
     

    Wow!  That was strong!  I got a quick bite of a lemony-herb flavor with a very,very long vodka finish.  It's not totally gross, it just has a strong alcohol flavor.  This is definitely a drink that's meant to be sipped very,very slowly while conversing (so you don't focus too much on the alcohol).  It's good though- just strong. 

    After counting down the days until the dandelion cordial would arrive, it did feel very satisfying to finally pop open the bottle.  The next cordial that I'd like to try would be chocolate mint. I do have some chocolate mint in the garden that is growing rather quickly. Mmmm...now that would make the vodka more appealing.  As  with anything though, it's all a matter of preference. 


    ~Cheers!~


    Morgan's Minute

    Life is humorous,cruel,loving,mundane,exciting,ugly and beautiful (you can fill in more here) all under one sun, one sky.  On occasion, it seems like the more we attempt to do something, the harder it becomes to complete.  Sometimes it just gets harder to attain the goal, make the sale, finish the race, complete the project, clean the house (that was my favorite),etc.  Can you relate?  I'd like to think that somebody out there can or that means that I'm the only one struggling with my Everyday Living,  LOL.

    When we get sick, you can forget doing anything.  Goals, races, projects all don't matter and our health now takes center stage.  Over the past week or so, I've become deeply aware of the blessing of good health.  Without our health, we are stuck in the basic realm of survival, which means that we are obviously not our perky selves, doing the usual things that make us perky-not fun.  That said, I am tremendously thrilled that my bout with the stomach flu is over (and I am even more thrilled that we were dealing with a common virus).  Yes, it ran its course inside the body of every family member.  Not fun!  Beating this virus was our family goal and everything went into making snacks and meals from water, plain crackers, sports drinks,etc.  That was what was on our menu.  

    I guess it's of no surprise that I was finally bitten by the bug after being barfed on, and after serving four terms in frontline battle duty as I nursed my family back to health.  While I was sick, I pined for a chance to play again in the kitchen and for a chance to run my sewing machine again.  I just wanted to feel better though, plain and simple.  But it was at this low point that I realized something interesting (I had time on my hands).  Health IS everything.  It IS all we need (relatively speaking of course).  Think about it.  Two people (both sick) most likely are wanting the same exact thing-to feel better!  A person living in Beverly Hills that is terribly sick with the flu wants to feel better.  A person living on Skid Row in LA with the same virus is after the same thing too which is better health.  Even when we think we are very different from another human being we should remind ourselves that we both like having our health-that is one commonality.   

    Often it takes a tiny wake up call for us to realize that when we have something like good health, then we have the one most important gift of all.  Whether or not we decide to unwrap the package and uncover the contents, well that's up to us.  It feels like Christmas here and I plan on unwrapping lots of gifts.  How about you? 

    In Health,


        Morgan



    

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