Spiced Ghee

Years ago my friend Laura showed me how to make spiced ghee and I have been forever grateful.  Every time I need to add some flavor to Anything its what I reach for.

Ghee is a rich, aromatic clarified butter.  It is a great substitute for butter for anyone who has problems digesting milk proteins.  (GF/CF people, I am talking to you)  An added bonus is that ghee is packed with the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K as well as aids in digestion.  Spiced ghee will also take on some of the healing properties of the herbs and spices used.

As I said, you can replace it for butter in any recipe but the uses are almost endless.  Use ghee to saute veggies and meat.  Make aromatic sauces with it.  Warm it up and use it to make a quick vinaigrette.  Rub it on chicken before you roast it.  It is amazing on sweet potatoes and squash.  Use it to season quinoa or rice.  It makes a lovely side dish with zucchini, kale and onions.  If you want a quick exotic homemade gift, try whipping equal parts raw honey and spiced ghee for the Best honey butter ever.  What ever you add it to is going to have a rich Indian undertone that is sure to please.

Doesn't that look great?   Spiced ghee takes a little time to make but don't worry it is really easy and well worth it.  Are you ready to give it a try?

2 C. unsalted butter  (use the best you can find)
1/2 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
fresh ginger, grated  -Laura says to use ginger the same size as your thumb. (I think thats about 2 T.)
1/2 t. turmeric
2 whole cardamom pods, crushed
1 cinnamon stick, 3 inches
1/8 t. freshly grated nutmeg.

Melt butter and bring to a boil in a heavy pan over medium heat. When the butter begins to foam, add the remaining ingredients and simmer on low for 1 hour without stirring.  The water in the butter will boil off and the milk solids will sink to the bottom of the pan.  Do not allow the solids to burn. (light brown is ok.) Carefully strain the clear liquid through a sieve lined with damp cheesecloth, leaving the solids in the bottom of the pan if you're able to.  Strain the liquid 2 more times.  Pour into a scalded glass jar and cover.  This delicious condiment is highly seasoned and completely shelf stable when covered.  It will keep at room temperature for 3 months and in the refrigerator for 6 to 8 months.  ... but it will never last that long! 
Enjoy this one.


Rose love beads!

Outside my house there is a giant cliff rose bush.  It is about 8 feet high and maybe 11 feet long.  Every year it blooms only once.  For about 3 weeks the sweet smell infuses everything.  The cool breeze brings it in the house in the night and it makes me so happy.

I have had quite a few  women tell me about "love beads"  made from rose petals.  Apparently, way back before they had air conditioners and deodorant they had to get creative about smell here in the desert.   Everyone says the exact same thing about the beads....   They are "ugly" little black beads that smell like roses when you wear them on the skin.  When I ask how they are made I am always told some story about stirring  them up by the light of the full moon and bathing in the liquid.....  everyone was a little sketchy on the exact details.

So, imagine my delight when I purchased a book on homemade oils and incense and there in the back was the recipe for Rose love beads.  Sure enough, it says the beads are "ugly and black" so I am thinking it is the same recipe I have been hearing rumors about.

1 part Rose geranium leaves
3 parts  Rose petals
distilled water or rose water if you want more smell.

Remove any white stem ends from the petals.  It says to infuse the petals with your intention to be love and attract love into your life.  (got it?)  Cover the petals with water or rose water in a Non-metallic pan.  I used my canning pot and it worked out great.  Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.  **Ensure that the mixture doesn't actually boil.  Turn off the heat and let soak till the next day.

This is what it looks like after the first simmer.  I kept mine outside just so it didn't get in the way during my actual cooking of food. 

Repeat simmering for 30 minutes each day for 3 more days.  Add water as needed.   At first it doesn't smell that much but every day it gets stronger and stronger until it almost knocks you over when you open the lid.

On the last day squeeze out all the water until you have a fragrant mess.  The mixture should be dry enough to hold its shape.  Strain the water and save for a nice rosy hydrosol for refreshing hair and skin.  (or moonlight bathing if you wish)  Form into small round beads with your hands.  Push a wire or needle through each one while it is still wet to form holes for stringing.  Let dry for a week or so, moving them around to ensure even drying.

I just strung mine right on  a string to begin with.  They shrunk in size by at least half.  When I do this again next year I am going to run the mix through the blender after I squeeze the water out.  I hope that will make a "prettier" bead.  I also learned that the mixture is very astringent.  The skin on my fingers dried out and peeled off.  Gloves are a good idea!

String on a red ribbon for attracting passion and a pink ribbon for lasting love.  Wear these for love, add to sachets,place in your purses, drawers and so on.  When worn on the body they release the most delicious scent.

....at least I like it.  When I made my sister smell the concoction she said "Oh!!! It smells like grandma's closet!".   So, if you're not into rose, it may make a nice gift for grandma.