Pines have played a significant role throughout our history for their wide range of utilities: pine pitch sealed vessels to make them waterproof, pine needle baskets were woven, pine sap was mixed with honey and chewed like gum, and even soap could be fashioned from pine tar.
Seeds lie in wait in the dry dirt of the chaparral ecosystem, sometimes for more than 100 years. They hold within a secret, a key to rebirth adapted to the nature of their surroundings: many of these seeds germinate in fire. Phoenix-like, the foliage and plants of the chaparral has evolved beautifully to the regions where it grows. These Mediterranean-like climates allow for evergreen scrub brush landscapes dominated by species of stalwart plants and herbs that stabilize otherwise barren hillsides and provide shelter for the fauna in their midst. I recently had the chance to witness firsthand how this remarkable ecosystem regrows with the energy the wildfires bring, forces we tend to see as only frightening and destructive. It wasn’t...
With warm, beautiful summer upon us, all kinds of seasonal confections--from strawberry shortcake to ice pops--are shared at garden parties and picnics. A simple but elegant adornment for honey cakes and vanilla ice cream, sugared violets make summer indulgences even more delightful. Sugaring violets is an easy project, and especially enjoyable with friends or little ones.
Persian spice, or advieh (literally 'spice' in Farsi), is a blend I fell in love with years ago and started incorporating into food that we cooked at home. It's fragrant, warm and complex but also comforting. There's only one catch - it's not the easiest spice to find in my experience, even at specialty shops. Luckily, it isn't hard to make if you can source a few of the important ingredients.