I totally experimented today. Which reminds me, last week I ate a peach with Dijon mustard and I liked it.
But this experiment is more complex. It begins with the fact that I found freakin’ dried hibiscus flowers at the ghetto Latin grocery store. Win!
Yes, hibiscus. You know that Tazo Passion tea they sell at Starbucks (as well as the tea bags in grocery stores)? The main ingredient that makes it so wonderfully fruity and tart and lip-smackery is hibiscus flower. In Mexico it’s called flor de Jamaica, while in Jamaica, they call it sorrel. Hibiscus tea is consumed all over the world, actually; India, Cambodia, West Africa, Egypt, Sudan, Brazil, etc. Mostly places where climate is warm enough for the flowers to grow, I assume. I’m a HUGE fan of the stuff. Hibiscus tea is naturally caffeine-free, although very refreshing when iced, and when served hot, I find it energizing. It’s a natural diuretic, and is definitely a good addition to your diet when you need a detox. Lots of vitamin C too. And for people like me who have a hard time making themselves drink enough water, iced hibiscus tea is a nice alternative.
Because of its fruity tang, I often ponder over what I can create with hibiscus. Today, I decided to do a sweet and spicy reduction. I combined a quarter cup each of the flowers and sugar in a saucepan. Dashed in some cayenne pepper, ground cloves, coriander, cinnamon, basil, thyme, and black pepper.
Added a cup of water and set it to boil. I let that bubble until most of the liquid was evaporated and it had a syrupy consistency. I was tempted to use some wine in addition to the water, but decided to see what this would taste like as is. It came out nice. Sweet, spicy, not too much heat, and a floral hint. I do think it needs more tang, so maybe I’ll replace some of the water with lime juice next time. It smells kinda like barbecue sauce. ^_^
So that’s the first part of the experiment. The second part is inspired by all the watermelon and feta salads I’ve been seeing on other food blogs. I even tried to order it last night at a wine bar but they were taking it off the menu because not enough people ask for it. Sca-rumph. I wanna try cheese and watermeloooon.
So I did it myself. Jerks.
This is actually a watermelon and goat cheese salad, accompanied by tomatoes and drizzled with the hibiscus reduction. All the watermelon and feta salads I’ve seen are often dressed with lime, mint, basil, or cilantro. I had to be a little different. The goat cheese part is just because it was the only cheese in the fridge. And who doesn’t like goat cheese? C’mon.
The verdict? I was kinda whatever about the watermelon being in the mix, but otherwise totally loving the hibiscus with the goat cheese. Really liked it with the tomato. I think instead of watermelon, pineapple and/or strawberries would be awesome. Or various tomatoes. Or sweet potato! Aaaahhh… I’m so Mexican.