The Sparrow & The Juniper Tea
This tea is like a sparrow in a juniper tree, singing through the frigid wind and cold of winter. Piney and resinous herbs like juniper berries and rosemary complement the sweet earthiness of sage and gotu kola. Black tea smoked over a pine fire (lapsang souchong) adds a touch of sweetness, warmth, and coziness.
This tea blend is sure to warm and invigorate the senses and is vibrant enough to occasionally replace the morning coffee before school or work. Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) is an herb that can improve energy and enhance brain function. Sage and rosemary, too, have been used traditionally to improve memory.
Make Your Tea
1.5 tbsp. Sage
1.5 tbsp. Gotu Kola
1 tbsp. Juniper Berries
1 tbsp. Lapsang Souchong
1/2 tbsp. Rosemary (fresh)
Coarsely grind the juniper berries in a coffee grinder. Pluck the needles off the rosemary stem. In a bowl, blend all of the ingredients until evenly mixed.
To prepare your tea: Use 2 teaspoons of tea per 8 oz. of boiling water. I made my tea directly in my cup with a basket infuser. Make sure to cover your cup with a plate or lid as it steeps. Steep for 5 minutes, and then strain.
Juniper Cranberry Sauce + Goat Cheese
According to plant lore, plucking juniper berries in a dream is an indicator of prosperity. While I don't have a juniper bush to pluck berries, I have been dreaming a lot about juniper.
This fresh cranberry sauce gets an intriguing twist with juniper berries, peppercorns, and cloves. It goes so well with a rich buttery goat cheese, and is also delicious with savory dishes.
It's delightful spread on warm toast and enjoyed with hot tea: a perfect cold-weather antidote.
Make Your Cranberry Sauce
Combine 3 cups of fresh cranberries, 1 cup of water, 1/2 a cup of sugar, and a teaspoon of freshly ground juniper berries, a dash of ground black peppercorn, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground clove. Cook all together in a saucepan, until the cranberries pop and soften. Finish it off with a squeeze of lemon, and then allow to cool before serving.
Make Your Goat Cheese Spread
Mix together 8 oz. young goat cheese (like Caprichio de Cabra), with 1 oz. cream cheese, and 2 tbsp. of butter until soft and fluffy. Mix in a 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla extract + a teaspoon of coarsely ground white pepper. This goat cheese spread can be served alongside the cranberry sauce, or layered together in a jar! Spread it on crunchy crackers or toasted bread, and don't forget the tea!