I want to believe that Spring is almost here, I really do. Except, it’s still so darn cold here in NYC. And the winds have been INSANE! What’s up Mother Nature? And where’s that dang Groundhog? I got something for him. Harumph!
I don’t mean to sound so grumpy it’s just that I get so excited when I see the sun shinning through my windows. Every day I’m hopeful that the bright sunshine will mean higher temperatures and a lighter jacket, but as soon as I step out of my house, the wind smacks me in the face and I’m running back inside to get my down coat. Plus, I gotta say, I’m tired of bundling up both of my kiddos like Randy from A Christmas Story every time I need to go to the corner store. Grrr…
I know that March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb but, I’m so over this winter. I’m a summer gal. Give me longer days and warm breezes over snowstorms and shoveling any day. I’ll even take the humid, sweaty, (sometimes stinky) NY summers over this never ending winter. Please, just GIVE ME HEAT!!!! Until then, I’m staying inside and sipping on two of my favorite hot drinks, both spiced with one of my favorite ingredients, Cardamom. Make these drinks for someone who needs a warm up and don’t tell them what’s in it. I bet they won’t be able to guess what your secret is.
What is Cardamom anyway?
Cardamom is the seed of a tropical fruit in the ginger family and it’s native to India and Southeast Asia. It comes in two varieties: Elettaria pods are light green while Amomum pods are larger and dark brown. It can be purchased pre-ground or in the whole pod form (which is my preference).
What does it taste like?
The flavor is a bit hard to describe because it’s so unique. It’s intensely aromatic, slightly sweet, floral, and spicy with citric elements. A little goes a long way especially with the smokier black variety. The green is more mild and my favorite type.
How do I use Cardamom?
Cardamom can be used to flavor everything from curry to coffee and is often used in Eastern, Arab, and some Scandinavian cuisines. It has a unique ability to enhance many types of food which is why it can be used in many dishes from sea food to sauces, meats, poultry, vegetables, and even baked goods.
Honey Milk with Cardamom
2 cups milk
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
2 whole green cardamom pods, crushed or 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1. Heat milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in honey and crushed cardamom pods and heat until bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan, do not boil. Remove from heat and pour milk into two mugs through a fine mesh strainer to remove cardamom pods. Enjoy.
Black Tea with Cardamom
2 whole green cardamom pods, crushed
2 tea bags (any black tea will do but I enjoy Ceylon or English Breakfast)
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups water
1. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, bring water to a boil. Reduce heat and place tea bags into the pan. Allow tea to steep for 1-2 minutes then stir in sugar and cardamom pods. Allow pods to steep for another minute, then turn heat off and pour tea into two mugs through a fine mesh strainer. Enjoy.