Job one was to get some color back in the apartment, so when I saw this bouquet at the farmers market, I simply couldn't resist. Despite the vaguely garish easter egg vibe of the arrangement, I felt quite strongly that it belonged in my (rather tarnished) mint julep cup on my bathroom sink.
Not more than an hour after I had put the blooms in water they began to open, exuberantly it seemed.
Perhaps the tulips are as excited for spring as I am?
Later in the afternoon it was off to one of my absolute favorite stores in New York, SOS Chefs. I had taken stock of my spice cabinet and found it wanting, so felt it was an appropriate excuse to make my way to Avenue B for a bit of shopping.
I left the treasure trove of a store with a shopping bag full of goodies...
...spices of course, but I could not resist this amber colored chestnut honey
nor this satchel of fragrant chai.
I've been consistently fascinated by the black facial soap that Atef, the owner, has shown me on occasion, both due to the unusual appearance of it and the fact that her own skin (on which on she tells me she smears the dark gunge) is remarkably luminous. I finally caved and purchased a jar.
I hope that I don't one day mistake it for molasses or some other sweet and lovely foodstuff.
Although Atef was not in the day I visited, her male counterpart was just as warm and generous as she and insisted that I take home a mixture of lemon verbena and saffron with me to make some tea.
Deep in the recesses of my brain I recalled hearing somewhere that it is not uncommon to add saffron to tea in the middle east and north Africa, but it had seemed a terribly indulgent idea given the high price of saffron when I heard it initially. But this is a different type of saffron than I am used to, with shorter fibers, a lighter flavor and lighter color (and a smaller price tag).
I realized after accepting this generous gift that I had been sold a bunch of the same type of saffron when I was in Istanbul years ago. When I got it home and attempted to use it as one might use normal saffron, I was disappointed. No brilliant color, the taste was too light to detect...I had been ripped off! I tossed the bag in the trash in disgust. Now I realize I was just expecting the wrong thing from my stash. In food, it must be added early, and simmered at some length to release the delicate flavor.
But I had never even thought to try it in tea, a situation I remedied quickly.
I've always loved lemon verbena in tea, especially in combination with Earl Grey tea, but the saffron added a wonderful softness,
perfect for a late afternoon or pre-bedtime tisane. I for one plan to indulge in one as often as possible!