#cocktailoftheweekend #mocktailoftheweekend #liqueurofthemonth and
#treatofthecentury! But more about that in a minute. First a little background.
Recently I asked my Edgehill Herb Farm helpers to gather some Laurus nobilis, bay laurel, branches for me while they pruned several of my giant bushes growing along the easternmost edge of my property.
Another instance of a gardening twofer, the plants get properly cared for and I get lots of plant material to cook and craft with all at the same time. The resulting pile of branches they brought me was enormous!
At first I thought I would make a few wreaths for sprucing (to mix plant metaphors) up my house but the weather is so hot and the branches so thick that wreath making was not going to be enjoyable or easy. Instead I adjusted and made five huge swags, which were easy and fun.
With the premium leaves, a hundred or so, I made a gallon of Bay Laurel Leaf Liqueur called Laurino. The unique recipe comes from a book called Sicilian Home Cooking by Wanda and Giovanna Tornabene, Knopf, Borzoi Books, a division of Random House, 2001
And still, the pile of bay leaves left after crafting liqueurs and porch decorating was un-dented as if I hadn’t done a thing, so I found a huge old basket, one from a housewarming gift that I received when I moved out on my own after college, from my parents house into a studio apartment. It’s brittle with age since that was over 35 years ago and the basket was already old when I got it.
Unbelievably, it now looks like I intended this sweet bay basket decoration all along.
When Bay was the herb of the year in 2009 I wrote a submission to the herb of the year book but due to international travel on my part my submission was never received nor made it into the book.
A big reason that I love being an herbal blogger is that it allows me to share my knowledge and love of growing and using Sweet Bay anyway – now, almost 10 years later!
And, as luck would have it, I am submitting an article to the upcoming 2019 International Herb Association’s (IHA) Herb of the Year (HOY) book on Anise Hyssop, Agastache foeniculum, and I won’t let international travel stop me this time!
So, this week’s #cocktailoftheweekend #mocktailoftheweekend and #liqueurofthemonth are all about the noble herb.
The ’09 IHA HOY Bay book has a wonderful bay martini recipe in it from Nancy Momsen that I have perfected and is this weeks #cocktailoftheweekend
The mocktail is freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice, iced and served in a beautiful chilled tumbler and garnished with a sprig of fresh bay leaves.
And to make the Liqueur, called, Laurino
Bay Laurel Leaf Liqueur – makes one gallon
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
50 – 75 fresh bay leaves plus another 25 for the syrup
2 large cinnamon sticks
1.5 to 2 – 750 milliliter bottles 80 proof vodka
Peeled zest of one large lemon, I used a Pink Lemonade Lemon
In a medium saucepan, heat the water and sugar and 25 bay leaves and bring almost to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool completely.
In a gallon wide-mouthed jar with a tight-fitting lid put the 75 bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, lemon zest and sugar water including the other bay leaves and fill the jar to the top with vodka. Close the jar tightly and shake the ingredients. Put a tag on the liqueur with the date made and ingredients and store in a cool dark place, shaking the mixture often.
After 10 days (or more) strain the liquid through a cheesecloth into a clean bowl. Using a funnel, transfer the liquid to a pretty bottle or several pretty bottles. Close the jars with corks or lids, label each and store in the refrigerator. Serve well chilled.
After I was done filming FB live last night and I sat down on my porch to relax with a bay martini cocktail, a glass of Laurino and grapefruit mocktail to enjoy with snacks. While watching the sunset I had an idea and I poured the liqueur into the grapefruit juice (resoundingly rendering it no longer a mocktail) but turning it into an incredibly delicious cocktail that I will be serving again and again! I’ve named it the
Juice of two to three pink grapefruits depending on the size and a jigger of Bay Laurel Leaf Liqueur. Garnish with a bay leaf. You are welcome!
Which brings me to the treat of the century!
Julie Bell, of bellacinary.com, gifted me with a jar of her incredibly delicious Three-day Spiced Pickled Figs. The recipe and instructions are on her and her husband, Scott Fisher’s, Bella Culinary Adventures blog. Go there for this treat of the century and so much more! And to see me taste these figs for the first time ever on a Facebook live video, as well as watch me make the bay martini cocktail of the weekend, and taste the Laurino liqueur (of the month) that I made last month, along with the grapefruit mocktail, you can visit my Karen England’s Edgehill Herb Farm Shop Facebook Page and watch my Friday Night Live videos like last night’s bay leaf extravaganza!
Last night on camera I tasted a whole pickled fig on some goat cheese and a spiffy (my name for artisan) cracker which was a huge bite, I have a big mouth and for this treat it came in handy, but it made me realize that for serving them as an appetizer with drinks, one pickled fig can be quartered and used to make four of these snacks. Since I ate all the goat cheese last night today I’m enjoying this nibble with some grass-fed cheddar and (spoiler alert if you haven’t seen me eating it the first time yet) . . .
. . . it’s the best treat ever!