Spruce tip shortbread cookies make a great holiday treat. There’s no reason not to make these cookies year ’round, but I think there’s something especially wintery about evergreens, don’t you? You’ll be surprised by the bright, almost lemony flavor spruce tips add to this cookie. It’s the perfect counterbalance to the rich, buttery shortbread. Many evergreens have edible parts, including pine, spruce, fir, and hemlock. If spruce doesn’t grow near you, substitute one of these other evergreens. Read more
Do you ever play the game: What would you eat if you got lost in the woods?
For many years I only used the soft, young tips of spruce branches for cooking, but recently I tried some mature, first year branches, harvested on a snowy December walk. I kept the branches in the freezer, waiting for a special occasion, and pulled them out last week to use in spruce tip ice cream. Their flavor is different from that of the tips. It contains more of the quintessential “spruce” fragrance. It’s slightly resinous, sweet, and woodsy, and I love what it brings to this dessert. I recommend using a combination of young tips and first year needles for the best possible flavor. Read more
I am not a tea drinker. I have nothing against it, but coffee is my go-to, hot beverage. But yesterday afternoon my thoughts turned to chai, maybe because it’s been cold and we got a late snow, maybe because I was in need of something warm and comforting, or maybe just because it was tea time. Once I realized that chai masala simply means tea blend, that opened up a world of possibilities. Freed from the recipes based on tropical spices, I came up with my own, foraged chai masala. It’s freakin’ amazing.