It smells like spring outside. Fragrant ume blossoms brighten the once bare branches of the plum trees. The bright pink and white flowers are a welcome bright contrast to the black bark. Their scent is so intoxicating and wonderful. I remember this time last year. We had spent a weekend out walking around enjoying the late February blossoms, having no idea that in a few days we would experience 3.11. In hindsight, I’m glad such a beautiful memory was made before such a sad one. The stark contrast of the two experiences reminds me of how quickly life changes. And how holding on to the memories of happy moments helps us cope when life seems grim.
The plum blossoms are blooming now in Tokyo, but there is still a bit of winter chill in the air. I’m still craving soups and warm drinks to keep me warm, but I’m looking for ways to add a little spring into my recipes. You may remember last week when I posted a recipe for ginger honey. Today’s recipe uses that honey to make a delicious, comforting mug of warm milk. There is a restaurant that we go to with Callie the dog (yes, they allow dogs inside the restaurant) and I almost always order this drink. It is called Ginger Honey Milk Tea…or something similar…and it is divine. The spicy ginger adds a welcome brightness to the honey and the creamy milk. There is nothing like it coupled with their house made crumpets.
I decided to add a little extra flavor with what will probably be the last yuzu of the season by adding the zest to the milk. You could just as easily use lemon or orange instead. There is no real “recipe” to post, but here’s the basic idea: simply put milk in a saucepan with the citrus zest and heat until steaming (don’t boil!) and add the honey. You can add extra raw ginger with the citrus zest for an extra kick, which I really like. Just pour the milk through a strainer into a mug, breath deeply, and enjoy. At the end of a long day, after Riley has gone to sleep, this ginger honey milk tea with yuzu is the perfect way to wind down. I just know you’ll love it.
These days, my happy memories are being filled with the little smiling face below. Babies have the amazing ability to show us pure joy in moments like these.