First of all I just wanted to give a very warm thank you for your enthusiasm for this space. I feel the love of every new sign up, every like, comment, and question. It is an absolute honor to share stories, recipes and photos with you and I find myself giddy to come to this space to spend time with all of you. I’m able to do this work because of this community, so thank you, from the depths of my heart, for being here.
Before we get to the recipe I wanted to share a few things that have been inspiring me or simply making me smile, think differently and/or appreciate life more fully.
I just finished the novel, This Tender Land. It’s a stunning and heartbreaking account of four young, anchorless kids on an adventure along the Mississippi during the Great Depression. It’s beautifully written, achingly sad in parts and yet full of love.
I’m rereading Braiding Sweetgrass for the third time. I’ve read it every year since I was first introduced to this book. I’ve mentioned it before but I’m always changed by it. One of my favorite quotes from the book: “Knowing that you love the earth changes you, activates you to defend and protect and celebrate. But when you feel that the earth loves you in return, that feeling transforms the relationship from a one-way street into a sacred bond.” I’ve experienced this first hand and come back to this idea again and again.
Church of the Wild is a newly released book by my friend and guide, Victoria Loorz. Over the past year I’ve been involved in a program through Seminary of the Wild. Deepening my relationship with my wholeness through nature. It’s been an absolutely life changing experience for many reasons. In this stunning book, Victoria shares her own journey in finding the sacred in nature.
I’m not necessarily known for my music taste. It’s a wide range from Pop to Enya, Americana to Agnes Obel. It’s eclectic and widely based on my mood. I have a playlist called Grey for when I want to sing at the top of my lungs while sobbing. But trust me, Stay Gentle, a new ballad from Brandi Carlile, needs to be on repeat. I’ve already told my family and friends that I want this played at my funeral. I had to stop writing this just now so I could listen to it again. I fall more in love with the words each time I listen.
A few weeks ago Krista Tippett interviewed Finding the Mother Tree author, Suzanne Simard. Suzanne was also featured in the incredible documentary, Fantastic Fungi. In her work as a forest ecologist she has proven that trees communicate. Using science and soul Suzanne talks about the trees in life shifting ways reminding us all that we have more in common with the natural beings than not.
The new Ottolenghi book, Shelf Love, just arrived and I want to make everything. The Sweet Spiced Mushroom and Rice Pilaf is first on the list.
I’m so thrilled for my friend Aran on the release of her new book, Cannelle Et Vanille Bakes Simple. I’ve already made a few things and have so many more recipes marked, like the Spiced Sweet Potato Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.
And finally, these Salted Rose Shortbread cookies (recipe below). Originally I made these for a private dinner to accompany a wild chamomile panna cotta that may not have had enough gelatin added (oops!). I thought the “soft-set” cream may seem more intentional with a tender cookie for dipping. Since then I’ve been asked to make these cookies again and again. We have found that they are the perfect friend to a cup of tea or coffee. The recipe as written makes a very soft and tender shortbread. I’ve played around with the recipe quite a bit and have also added more flour to make them more crumbly and dense with a bit of a snap when you bite. If that is your preference add more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Shortbread is a forgiving friend thanks to the generous amount of butter. Speaking of butter, if you can, use the good stuff (hello, Kerrygold). Since there are so few ingredients and so much butter, the quality really makes a difference.
I’d LOVE to hear what’s been inspiring and / or making you smile these days.
Also, if you’re enjoying this newsletter (yay!) and think someone else might too, it would mean so much to me if you could share it.
*Some of the links above are affiliate links which help support the work I do. But please, of course, feel free to support your local businesses. Thanks!
Salted Rose Shortbread
1 cup (2 sticks, 228 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup (90 g) powdered sugar
1 teaspoon rose water
2 cups (275 g) all purpose flour
3 tablespoons Rose Sugar & Salt
Add the butter and powdered sugar to a medium bowl (or you can use an electric mixer). Cream the butter and sugar until well combined and just lightened. Add the rose water and mix to combine.
Stir in the flour and a pinch of salt. Once just combined add the soft dough to a piece of parchment paper roughly the size of a sheet pan (12x18). Flour your hands lightly then roughly shape the dough into a 1 1/2 - 2 inch thick log. Sprinkle the Rose Sugar & Salt on the parchment then roll the cookie log in the sugar and salt to cover the outside of the dough.
Wrap the parchment around the dough then twist up the ends pushing the dough together to tighten and shape the log, like a giant Tootsie roll.
Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
When you’re ready to bake preheat the oven to 350*F.
Slice the cookies about 1/4 inch thick (if you slice them thicker they will be even more soft and tender but will take longer to bake). They don’t spread much so just leave about 1 inch between the cookies.
Bake for 12 minutes or until just golden around the edges.
Let cool on the tray for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely or honestly, just put them on a plate, make yourself a cup of coffee or tea then turn it into a sweet, quiet moment with your warm cookie.
The cookies will keep for up to a week or you bake some now then leave dough in the fridge or freezer for when the need or want for cookies arise.
Rose Sugar & Salt
1/4 cup dried rose petals*
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon sea salt
Crumble the roses until finely ground, either using your hands, a mortar and pestle or a food processor. In a small bowl combine the roses, sugar and salt. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
You’ll notice that you will have leftovers of this. Trust me, this isn’t an oversight on my part but rather a bonus. The original purpose of this sweet, floral salt was to rim the glass of a rose scented Tequila Sunrise. I’ve since sprinkled it on pies, tarts, cookies, and have rimmed many cocktail glasses with it.
*Organic dried rose petals are readily found online. This is one of my favorite spots for herbs and spices: