Monthly Archives: June 2008

Summer solstice

Here it is, the longest day of the year, and it still feels like January in my mind. How can the months fly by so fast?

I have been remiss in keeping my blog current—my excuse? Trying to finish the memoir I began seven years ago. I can now see the end of my project—and it is exhilarating!

I watched the horrifying floods in the Midwest and felt so sorry for the victims. Here, in Southern California, we have the opposite problem: not enough water. What a shame we can’t transfer the overflow in the Midwest to the parched fields of Texas or California.

It has been swelteringly hot in San Diego County. As I was sitting under the awning in our back yard, in my outdoor "living room" complete with couch—I sipped my favorite summer drink: Carbonated water (Pellegrino, Perrier, or any unflavored “fizzy” water) with a splash of rose syrup and a sprig of mint. It was so fragrant and cool—and North African! Rose syrup can usually be found in Middle Eastern markets and good liquor stores in the US.

On the subject of flowers—have you tried flavoring drinks with fragrant flower waters like orange blossom water (ma za’har), or rose water (ma’ward)? Moroccans are very fond of ma za’ar , while Tunisians favor geranium water, and Algerians , ma ward.

Try a splash of ma za’ahar in an icy orange drink made from fresh orange juice, water and a spoonful of sugar; or in a watermelon drink (place chunks of watermelon in a blender, and process until smooth). I promise you, you will be immediately transported to a sofa in the cool recesses of a kasbah!

If you find ma za’har’s delicate flavor to your liking, add a little to a salade de fruits: Cut up fresh fruit into ¼-inch dice, and toss with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a dash of orange blossom water. Garnish with a fresh (and edible!) rose petal or two: Voila—a simple and refreshing dessert fit for a Sultan or a Sultan’s wife!

My little book, Edible Flowers: A Kitchen Companion lists recipes for making your own violet syrup and rose petal ice cubes. It’s now out of print, but you might be able to locate one on a special book site.

Time to go out in the back yard and sip a fizzy rose water drink! Stay cool. A bientot,

 Kitty

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