I would feel horribly guilty if I didn't share this recipe. Because it will save your life, at least during heat waves. And you will love it anytime.
It's homemade ginger ale from the book "Roots" by Diane Morgan (the photo at the top is from the book).
But it's worth looking at again to see delicious things you can make with root vegetables. Then you'll no longer ignore them when shopping for produce.
"Roots" covers its roots in alphabetical order. You might hesitate at the first two sections, on Andean tubers and arrowhead, because you have no idea where to get Peruvian papas secas or canned ollucos, and arrowhead is even more rare.
Just move on to beets, carrots, celery root, ginger, jicama, parsnips, potatoes and other staples, then begin experimenting with the rest.
Not only is the ginger/spice balance excellent, but the cookies are rolled in turbinado sugar before baking so you get a pleasant crunchiness when you bite into them.
If you're not familiar with Indian cooking, however, you might buy the wrong thing. The recipe requires the seeds from black cardamom, a spice used in Indian stews and curries, not the familiar fragrant cardamom in small green or white pods.
Black cardamom seeds don't come in packages. You'll have to buy the whole spice, then pound a couple of pods and extract the seeds.
An Indian grocer went blank when I asked for "Punjabi spice mix," called for in an Indian potato chaat recipe. What Morgan may have meant was Punjabi chana masala or Punjabi garam masala, which you can find online as well as in Indian stores.
"I made myself an expert because I really wanted to study it," she said of her root work. In the photo, she's showing the section on arrowhead.
Her ginger ale in no way resembles what you buy in the supermarket. It is laden with freshly grated ginger and is less sweet than commercial ginger ale, making it a healthy way to quench thirst on hot days.
HOMEMADE GINGER ALE
From "Roots" by Diane Morgan
1/2 cup grated fresh ginger
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup water
4 cups club soda
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon pus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
4 lime wedges
To make ginger syrup, combine the ginger, brown sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes to completely dissolve the sugar and infuse the syrup.
Remove from the heat and let the ginger steep in the syrup until cool, about 30 minutes. Strain the syrup through a fine-mesh sieve placed over a container with a tight-fitting lid and then cover and refrigerate until well chilled. (The syrup will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.)
Fill four 16-ounce (2-cup) glasses two-thirds full of ice. Pour 1/4 cup of the syrup, 1 cup of the club soda, 1 tablespoon of the lime juice and 1 teaspoon of the lemon juice into each glass and stir to combine. Garnish each glass with a lime wedge and serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings.