Well, it seems Spring is going to take its sweet time arriving this year. And I’m okay with that. We are still undecided if we are going to start a garden. The truth is, when your day job is growing and harvesting plants, sometimes the last thing you want to do is take care of more plants at home. (My severely malnourished and wilting houseplants will attest to this).
Plus, I know myself too well—gardening gives me anxiety. That last year in California, Brian and I grew most of what we ate on a 1/2-acre plot behind my house. Each morning, while sipping tea and watching the sun come over the hills, my eyes would drift over the garden. The plants that needed my attention weighed on me. I would try to blur my eyes away from all the tomatoes that needed picking and canning. The zucchini swelling an inch every few hours—yeesh, please slow down! The basil that needed to be whirred in a food processor with olive oil before even more of those purple flowers popped out. The tomatillos, well, hell, how are you supposed to deal with those? (I tried freezing and it worked ok, but it did steal some of their zing). Seeing all the excess produce just reminded me daily of how much I needed to do.
I determined that 3 canning sessions is about all I have in me. The kitchen gets hot, your fingers get burnt, and scraping tomato skins out of my white sink is less than pleasant. I think I might take my grandma’s stance and embrace store-bought.
Anyway, we need some more time to think about it. We are only two people, and we would be served well by a few tomato plants and one squash plant. But, if you’re going to grow some, you may as well grow many and save the excess.
Speaking of excess, a few weeks back, the weatherman kept threatening snow. Each time he did so, I rushed to the store to buy milk and eggs. You too? I ended up with a few too many half-gallons of milk in our fridge, and so I put them to use the best way I knew how: milk punch.
Milk punch spiked with Bourbon is a great New Orleans invention. It’s light, spicy and uplifting. If you have the patience, freeze it for a few hours before serving. Break up the iciness with an iced tea spoon and enjoy.
This unique drink deserves a spot in your party repertoire. Classic milk punch is scented with vanilla and nutmeg. It’s lovely, but the ginger lover in me wanted a bright, spicy lemon version.
- 1½ cups milk
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 slices of fresh ginger
- 1 strip of lemon rind (pith removed)
- 1 small cinnamon stick, broken in half
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2-3 tablespoons Bourbon
- In a small sauce pan, combine all ingredients except vanilla and Bourbon. Bring to a gentle simmer over low heat and stir a few times.
- Cover the pot and remove it from the heat. Let sit for 30 minutes.
- Stir in the vanilla and Bourbon. Taste and see if you want to add more Bourbon.
- Strain the mixture into two serving glasses and chill before serving.