A little Sugar Pill

So much going on as I prep for the Christmas in Seattle show (you are going to come say hello right?) that I almost forgot to share with you all the news!  We have opened an account with the most darling shop near by called Sugar Pill.  They specialize in finishing salts, amazing fancy chocolate, gourmet delicacies, bitters, and now shrubs!  And the proprietress is a trained herbalist with a huge apothecary.  We are so very excited to be part of this amazing place and hope you’ll stop in to say hello to the Sugar Pill team.

Sugar Pill is located at 900 E. Pine St. Seattle, WA 98122.  Check out their web site for hours, but most days they open at 11am and close between 5pm and 8pm.  Look for our shrubs on the shelves in the next few weeks.  Just in time for holiday gifting!

Vanilla Pear

I just wanted to let you know how awesome the new pear flavor is. Sweet, lush D’anjou pears, whole vanilla beans, and just enough vinegar to give it a zing.

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I love that it’s winter white in color,  and just look at all those specks of vanilla bean! Make sure you come visit me at the Christmas in Seattle show November 14-16 at the convention center.

Cranberry crazy

So excited about my fruit purchases today. D’anjou pears for the Vanilla Pear shrub we’ll be premiering at the Christmas in Seattle show in a few weeks. And cranberries for the Spiced Cranberry shrub just look at these!

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Huge berries with so much color and flavor. We’re going to blend these with Cabernet Sauvignon wine vinegar and mulling spices. It’s going to taste like the best cranberry chutney. I can’t wait to see you at the show!

New show coming up

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Super excited to announce that The Shrubbery will be vending at the Christmas in Seattle show on November 14, 15, and 16. This show crams the convention center with all kinds of amazing vendors selling unique handmade goods and tasty gourmet food.

We will also be debuting our winter line. Pear Ginger, Vanilla  Pear, and a special limited edition Cranberry Spice. We’ll also have a 4 ounce stocking stuffer size, only available for the holidays. These are perfect for office Secret Santa gifts or as a way to try out many different flavors.

Can’t wait to see you there!

Getting to know you

Had an opportunity to hang out with my amazing friend Friday from Friday Afternoon Tea at the Northwest Tea Festival this weekend.  If you like really good tea, with nerdy themes (like Firefly characters and RPG classes and Battle Star Galactica) you should check out her stuff.  I also got a chance to get some of my shrubs into your hands, and it was AMAZING to meet everyone.

I think my favorite part of vending events is watching people’s reactions to tasting a shrub for the first time, and getting to nerd out with them about my process.  We talk about food and drinks, how to use my shrubs, and things we love about cooking.  And sometimes we come up with something truly special, as happened this weekend.

We paired some of Friday’s tea with my Peach Brown Sugar shrub and magic happened!  This is perfect for these early autumn days when the weather can’t decide if it wants to be warm and sunny or cold and drizzly.

Northwest Tea Punch
Makes about 1 gallon Punch

12 Cups Water, use filtered drinking water anytime you make tea
1/4 cup full bodies black tea, I love Friday’s Cylon’s for Breakfast
1-2 cups Peach Brown Sugar depending on how sweet and peachy you want your tea
Ice
Optional, a shot or two of bourbon per glass

  • Cut a square of cheesecloth and pile the tea in the center. Bring the corners up and together and tie with some kitchen twin to make a large tea bag.
  • Bring the water to the boil, add the tea bag, and turn the heat off. Let steep for 5 minutes or more, depending on how dark you like your tea.
  • Remove the tea bag and allow the tea to cool to room temperature.
  • Mix in the shrub, tasting as you go, until you reach a balance you like.
  • Fill a glass with ice. If using the bourbon, add a generous shot, and pour it over the ice.
  • Add the tea punch. Garnish with an orange slice if you’re feeling fancy.
  • The rest of the tea will last in the fridge for 3-4 days, but I usually drink this much faster.

Falling for shrub

Fall is here, which is great because it’s my favorite season.  Pears are starting to be seen in the markets and I’m formulating my next round of flavors for The Shrubbery.  I’m envisioning Pears with Vanilla and Proseco vinegar, Pears with Sherry vinegar, and Cranberry with Port wine vinegar and mulling spices (it’ll taste just like Christmas).

We’re in talks with a few new bars to be on their menus and I’ll make sure you know where to find us.  But today I wanted to talk about non-drink/non-alcoholic ways to use shrubs.

If you’re like me, you’re a busy person and dinner is something you have to throw together in 30 or so minutes but you still want it to taste like something that took much longer.  Shrubs are perfect for this, since they make stunning pan sauces.  Try this:

Duck with Spiced Plum Sauce Feeds 4

2 duck breasts, total weight about 1.5-2 pounds
salt
pepper
1/2 cup Cabernet Sauvignon wine, or other rich red wine
1/2 cup Spiced Plum Shrub

If you’ve never cooked duck before, take a deep breath and relax.  It’s actually really easy. About 10-15 minutes before you want to cook, take a sharp knife and cut the skin into a cross hatch pattern.  Don’t cut all the way through the fat layer into the meat.  Then put the duck breasts on a plate and generously salt both sides.  Let it hang out 10 or so minutes.

Heat your oven to 400 degrees.

Heat a heavy bottom pan to medium and add the duck breasts skin side down.  You want to start rendering out the fat so the skin gets nice and crispy.  After about 5 or 6 minutes the skin will be a lovely shade of golden brown.  Go ahead and flip the breasts over and put the whole thing into the oven for another 8-10 minutes.  The breasts will be medium, which is (IMO) the best way to cook them.

Take the breasts out of the pan and set aside to rest.  This lets the juices settle back into the meat so they don’t all run out when you cut it for serving.  Drain off most of the fat from the pan (if you quarter and boil a few Yukon gold potatoes you can slice them and fry them in the fat for a side dish) but leave all the brown bits.  

Put the pan back over medium heat and add the wine to deglaze the pan, making sure to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom.  Once the wine is starting to reduce, add the shrub and keep cooking until it’s nice and syrupy and reduced by at least 1/3.

Slice the duck across the grain into thickish slices.  Put 1/4 of the slices on a plate and pour some sauce on top.  Add any sides, like steamed veggies or potatoes fried in duck fat, and you have dinner.  Feel fancy!