If summer had a feeling, it’d be
the tickly grass on your hands,
the warm sun on your face, a
cool breeze through your hair,
the sweet fragrant blooms
romancing your nose…
As I stood at the kitchen counter chopping vegetables and cursing the heat of early summer, I heard the rushed stomping of little feet up the landing stairs outside. The door flew open and banged into the wall behind it. I looked over toward the doorway, to eyes full of amazement. “Mama, mama look!!!” and she threw her hands into the air. Floating softly in the hot air of the kitchen were cottonwood seeds. The fluffy white, nearly transparent seeds bobbed up and down as she huffed and puffed eagerly at them.
“Huuuu, fuuuu” she noisily breathed. “Huuuu, fuuu” over and over. Her cheeks filling up with air and then all at once deflated while specks of spit, illuminated by the sunlight, went flying toward the dancing seeds.
“It’s snowing!!” She shrieked and danced in circles around the kitchen as white fluff slowly fell to the floor and then swished around her feet.
I laughed at her while she chased them across the floor, trying to grab them. It was as though those little seeds were trying to escape her grasp, fleeing like a kitten or puppy from a menacing child’s reach. She’d reach and miss. Slip on the cool floor tile, and get back up and try again.
I watched her as the onions I had been chopping sat with the knife half through a slice. As water beads slowly rolled off the side of my glass of sweet iced tea and made a ring shaped puddle on the counter. I watched and recalled my own childhood, when in the dusky light of day my brother and I would run through the street of our trailer park neighborhood; arms fully extended, stirring up the cottonwood seeds. We’d weave around each other, laugh and imagine we were planes flying above everyone and everything.
As I came out of my memory and watched my daughter chasing seeds, balling them up in her hand and throwing them over and over into the air, I couldn’t help but smile, because for a fraction of a second, I was no longer just an adult with a lost imagination. I was a kid again, I was giggling innocently and looking at the world through rose colored glasses, and it was indeed, snowing in June.
A few days ago my cupkeiki and I made a little jar of rose water. I’d never thought to do something such as this, and wondered if it was even a thing. We were happy to discover that it is, and there are lots of recipes that call for it, many of which are in Indian cuisine.
Here are our steps:
1. We collected 1 cup fresh, fragrant rose petals and rinsed them. The roses came from our yard and are free of pesticide spray (it’s important to not use rose petals that have been sprayed with chemicals).
2. We boiled about 2 Cups water on the stove top. Then we turned the burner for the water off and steeped the rose petals for 20 min.
3. We strained the petals out and reserved them in a bowl. We then turned the burner back to high and reduced the water to less than 1 Cup.
4. Once the water was reduced, we turned the burner back off and put the rose petals back in the water for another 20 minutes.
5. After 20 minutes we strained the petals out and put the water in a jar with a lid and stored it in the fridge.
I tested it out on a homemade Cardamom Panna Cotta. I made a simple syrup of 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar and about 1 Tbs. Rose water. Heat the sugar and water until sugar is dissolved, cool and store in a jar.
The Cardamom Panna Cotta was topped with just a thin layer of rose syrup and pistachio nuts, chopped up.
For the Panna Cotta:
1 package gelatin (I use Knorr brand)
3 Tbs. Cold water
1 C. Heavy Cream
1 C. Whole Milk
1/4 C. Sugar (unrefined)
A pinch of salt
2 tsp. Ground Cardamom
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
~ Rose syrup and crushed pistachio meat for topping. ~
Whisk in a small bowl, gelatin and cold water together. Let sit for 5-10 minutes to bloom/activate.
In a medium sized sauce pan heat cream, milk, sugar, salt and cardamom over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture is at a low simmer. Add gelatin and whisk constantly for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat, add vanilla. Pour into ramekins or dessert glasses and chill for 3-4 hours or until set. Before serving add a little rose syrup (about 1 Tbs. Or enough to cover the custard top) and crushed pistachios.