10 Days of Good Stuff is a collection of nourishing recipes, thoughtful stories, wise people, and self-care strategies to help us navigate the holiday season, and the tail end of an insane 2016, with a little more grace and calm.
Hello, friends. Welcome to Day 1 of 10 Days of Good Stuff! On Thanksgiving day, I settled into the welcome ritual of cooking and NPR-listening. After such a crazy, unsettled year that has reverberated through my community, our country, and the whole damn world, all those feel-good news stories really got to me. While I’m certainly not the first to ask this, I have to wonder: why is good news not news? Why are the stories of people being kind, witnessing wonder, and supporting each other cast off as less serious, and less legitimate? I needed those stories that day, to be reminded that on a day-to-day level, most of us are civil, kind, and generous.
That was the genesis for this. Thanksgiving day, listening to a beautiful story about visiting with a beloved uncle in Vermont to witness the snow geese, processing after-effects of the election, and the war in Syria, and a sense that we could really use some more good stuff right now.
Let’s start with care – both for ourselves and for those in our lives. I LOVE Fire Cider, and it’s a great and easy gift. It is a potent concoction of ginger, turmeric, jalapeños, lemon, horseradish, garlic, and onion, steeped in apple cider vinegar for anywhere from a couple weeks to many months. It is taken as a daily tonic to ward off colds and flu during winter. But guess what – it is also pretty amazing on freshly shucked oysters. That is how I accidentally stumbled on this stuff: looking for a different kind of vinegar to make mignonette.
While it is recommended that it sit for at least 2-4 weeks, you could easily gift a 16-ounce mason jar of this with the spices still mixed in and advise those you give it to to strain when ready. Or just scoop out daily sips as needed and don’t worry about straining! Sometimes that’s how things play out in my kitchen.
NOTES! After a year of making and drinking this daily, I have discovered a few things:
1) Instead of straining, I take 1 tablespoon out daily. (More if I’m feeling run down.) When the vinegar is low, I add another bottle of vinegar. Sometimes I refill a couple times before making a new batch. It works well.
2) Recently, I tried blitzing the remaining mix when the vinegar was low, and voila, you have fire cider concentrate, which is a little bit more travel-friendly. I tucked the mix into a 2-ounce jar and it made it through airport security. Take that, TSA.
1/2 cup diced, fresh horseradish root
1/2 cup diced, fresh ginger
1/2 cup diced, fresh turmeric root
1/2 cup diced onion
1 head garlic cloves, smashed and diced
2-4 jalapeños or similar hot chile, sliced crosswise (in my batch, I also used Red Cherry Peppers)
1 lemon, sliced
1 lime or clementine, sliced
16-24 ounces raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, enough to cover.
1.5 liter jar, or 4 pint jars for gifting
In the large jar, add the horseradish, ginger, turmeric, onion, garlic, jalapeños, lemon, lime. Fill the jar with apple cider, leaving about 1 inch of space at the top. Let it sit for at least two weeks before straining. Some people like to let it sit for months! Taste as you go and strain when you’re happy with it. (Please read the notes above! I no longer strain, but simply add more vinegar. It has worked out well and saves time/ingredients.) Once strained, you may add honey if you wish.