We’re currently visiting friends at their bungalow in upstate NY, the weekend has been a flurry of feasts and gatherings.
One of the neighbors cooked up a spectacular lunch to celebrate his wife’s birthday. There were two pasta dishes (tomato meat sauce tortiglioni with peas and cheese, sweet sausage and broccoli rabe conchiglie rigati), chicken marsala, chicken parmigiana, garden salad with fresh greens and cucumber, and a hearty dish of spicy sausage braised with fresh tomato, peppers, and onion. Wine and conversation flowed, and there was no time for pictures. The perfect luncheon party.
Walking just across the green back to our friends’ place, feeling happily full, I remembered that there were herbs in the garden, ready for picking.
With the continuous rain these past few weeks, the fennel quickly grew stems heavy with fragrant fronds. The lemon balm’s bright scent beckoned. Perfect combination for a digestive and calming tisane.
I fixed myself up a pint-sized glass, picking the fronds and leaves off the tougher stems.
The smaller jars are perfect for those who appreciate smaller sips of such brews.
As the afternoon sun shines through the windows, the steeped herbs dance in the light, revealing its beautiful peridot dues. It’s delightful to enjoy something so soothing to the body and eyes. Maybe next time I’ll just let them sit in cold water overnight, for some flavored water, or even make a herb syrup to add to some seltzer.
Fennel – Lemon Balm Tisane
This is less of a recipe and more of a guideline. The ratio of herbs to water, lemon balm to fennel, is entirely up to you.
For a pint glass I used roughly one small handful each of lemon balm leaves and fennel fronds.
Just pour hot boiling water over the herbs and let steep. For a stronger brew you can let it sit overnight.
I imagine that a squeeze of lemon and a drizzling of honey would brighten and deepen the flavors, but I enjoyed mine straight.