Aren't you lucky? You get to watch me perform my latest kitchen experiment in real time. Not much is ready to harvest in our garden yet besides rhubarb and mint, so I'm taking my impatience far afield and going foraging. We were treated to the deluxe version of foraging a couple of weeks ago at a little ramp festival in the woods with the best local ingredients prepared by some chefs who really knew what to do with them. My humble contribution was some Golden Treasure syrup I had made from late-summer yellow tomatoes and herbs from our garden--rosemary, some basil when it starts to flower and take on an anise flavor, and the season's first apples. My friend Ben made a mouth-watering sweet-tart sauce for barbequed local pork by pureeing some of my rhubarb together with this syrup, and it was completely amazing.
This got me thinking about infused syrups, taking inventory of what's in season now. Spring has busted out so quickly that I'm afraid if I blink I'll miss something unique and then be forced to wait another year to cook up some obscure recipe. Last year I wanted to try violet jelly but was preoccupied by the garden. I've always loved the fragrance and taste of honeysuckle, too; pulling the sweet stamens out and eating them was a favorite pastime when I was a kid.
The violets are all over our lawn, so it was easy to collect them. They're not very fragrant, though, so how can they make a perfumed syrup? Guess I'll find out soon enough. This week I've been seeing honeysuckle bushes in bloom wherever I go, tempted to pull over when I'm driving and sniff them to my heart's content. Today I picked a huge jarful of blossoms that turned out to be only 1.5 ounces, half of what I needed for the recipe I'm using. No matter, I'm forging ahead!
Step 1: Make a kind of flower tea by pouring boiling water over the flowers and letting them steep overnight.
I promise to post the results whether this succeeds or fails.