I've been trying to put together a really in depth Sakura Matsuri themed blog post for the upcoming season at Brooklyn Botanical Garden. So far, I've made a Sakura necklace, and created a Sakura cocktail. My Sakura Sugar Scrub might get scrapped as it just doesn't have enough scent, and I don't add fragrance oils or synthetics to my bath/body products. I still want to nail down a really cool sakura dessert. As I'm now in week 2 of unemployed land (though have had some very hopeful interviews which have left me uncharacteristically optimistic in the employment sector of my life), I do have time to try and work on these things. It is a little problematic as I haven't been able to get any Sakura Extract. The number of cherry blossom inspired recipes on pinterest has been really surprising! Also, how many people bemoan the lack of ability to get the ingredients in order to make any of these treats. Seems like most of them are only seasonal in Japan, and no international shipping.
I have a connection who has a connection who lives in Tokyo, and was able to find and mail me some Sakura Sugar, but they have not found any of the extract. I even tried going to a couple of really specialty Japanese markets here in and around NYC, including the uber-market Mitsuwa just across the river in New Jersey. No such luck. At Mitsuwa, I was able to buy sakura mochi and jellies from their dessert counter to try and see if I even liked the flavor, but no ingredients or flavorings to do it myself were for sale in the market. I asked once, they kind of laughed at me. Oh, and as for the flavor? Yes, I did like it very much! It's a little like orange blossom in that it does taste a bit like orange, but also very floral. That's the closest thing I can think of to compare it.
But, that's enough of that for now. In the meantime, I thought I'd share this favorite recipe. My Mom found it years ago in one of her Eating Well magazines, and quickly made it into regular spring/summer rotation: Strawberry Mango Margarita Fruit Salad
It's amazingly delicious, simple, and relatively quick! There's really not even much of a "recipe," really. Just chop up a ripe mango, chop up enough strawberries to make up the ratio of mango to strawberry you'd like (you can try and do 50/50 like me, or if you like strawberries a lot more, do like 75/25 or vice versa if you prefer mangoes). Mix with a Tbsp of regular sugar, (2 Tbsp at most to taste, if your fruit is a little green you'll need more than if it's very ripe). Add the zest and juice of one lime, and lastly, stir in 1 1/2 Tbsp of Tequila Blanco, and 1 1/2 Tbsp of Triple Sec (or your favorite orange liqueur - Mom always had Grand Mariner on hand). Stir stir stir. Eat. Lick the bowl.
Completely unrelated, except for lots of bright colors, is a new favorite shop I've been watching on etsy, called The Purple Balloon. They are based out of Greece, but international S&H on most items is about $4.00, so totally reasonable! Add to that that items start at just over $12 USD, and these pieces are beautiful and affordable!
The modern and colorful style of these pieces is due to a combination of skillful wire wrapping and treatments with brightly colored resins that produce effects like stained glass. The pieces are so fun and light, I'm going to have to include more than just one example. Here, at left, is a purple butterfly necklace, hovering over spring-green blades of grass.
And then there are these bangle bracelets, at right. The translucence of the resin allows for so much light to pass through that the colors come off as extra vibrant and alive! The open spaces and simple wire wrapped lines gives it a super-modern kind of feel as well.
Hopefully, these images will be enough for you to pop over and go look at the other 6 pages of goodies that fill her shop. There's quite a selection of earrings, in particular, for the most of you who have pierced ears. If I get one of these new jobs I'm interviewing for, I might have to see how hard it would be to change the hooks out to screw-backs. Highly recommend for some spring browsing!