I have not always been a girl who wanted to be firmly rooted in the West. As a little girl, at about age 5, I developed a character of sorts. Sometimes I walked around with a full blown New York accent and would be referred to only as “the little girl from the big apple”. I was convinced that I had been born in the wrong place. People asked my mom if I was from New York. I begged my parents to move. It was a little embarrassing.
And then. Then I grew out of it. And I loved my West and only wanted to move deeper into it. I am the rare breed that loves the vast openness of the plains to the East of the Rockies. Sprawling grass and hill for miles laid out like golden fabric billowing in the wind. I love the strong jut of the Tetons and the lazy lull of the Rockies. I love how lush the Sonoran Desert is during the spring and how sunsets look in the dusty Southwestern air. I love the draws of Wyoming where the desert and the plains come together and make these vibrant crevices of life. I love all of the West and it all feels like home, even if I do play favorites sometimes.
This website is my love letter to the West, both its physical attributes and those things that it stands for.
But now, Headed Out West is going back East. In the coming week the man and I will pack up the car, the cat, and the kitchen and embark on an adventure that will end in upstate New York where I will learn to be a butcher. And not just any butcher. As always, I’m focusing on sustainability and the humane treatment of your food before it gets to your plate. A lot of the story will unfold in coming posts and I hope that my knowledge can be passed directly to you. It’s important to learn about, know about, and love meat. And this will, in some ways, be our journey together. In the mean time, though, expect craziness, pictures from the road, and even more recipes.
So, with that out of the way. I want to show you something. Something… that’s, well, sort of spectacular. I never knew how easy it was to crystallize ginger until a couple of months ago. But this isn’t any crystallized ginger. This is crystallized ginger with chai spice. So easy. I honestly have no idea what you’re going to do with it but I know that you are going to love it.
This is where this all starts. With chai spices.
You could also just use a couple of your favorite chai tea bags.
Crystallized ginger starts with a potato peeler and ends with these pretty cubes.
Boil it for two hours with some sugar and agave nectar.
It’s going to be one part sticky, sugary syrup for ginger beer; one part almost candied ginger.
Spread it over a baking sheet and cover it in sugar and you have it. The best crystallized ginger you’ve ever eaten.
Now you can put it in cookies and bundt cakes and drinks. Or you could just keep eating the pieces one by one.
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 6-8 crushed cardamom pods
- ½ tbsp cloves
- or 3 chai tea bags
- 2 cups diced ginger
- 1 cup sugar + 1 cup more sugar for crystallizing
- ½ cup agave nectar
- 6 cups water
- Peel and dice ginger until there is roughly two cups.
- About 4-6 roots should make this possible.
- In 6 cups of water dissolve sugar and agave nectar.
- Put in diced ginger and bring to a boil.
- Simmer for 1.5-2 hours or until ginger is tender and liquid is a little more watery than honey.
- Strain ginger syrup from ginger pieces.
- Spread the pieces on a cookie sheet and cover with ¾ cup - 1 cup sugar, making sure each piece is completely coated.
- Let stand over night.