i finally feel like summer is hitting its stride. there are berries and peaches everywhere, technicolor-red dirty girl early girls are finally here, and eggplant is incredible (i am in love with the lovely imperial black beauty from riverdog, an heirloom variety that's kind of ribbed like costoluto tomatoes).

today i finished up a couple of lemon verbena projects--making syrup for sodas and lemon verbena liqueur for the bar (and bottling and corking them both. i got to use the oh-so-exciting corking machine). the syrup turned out nicely--i'm really happy with it. it'll be so cool to have homemade soda on the menu (i also have a hankering to make ginger ale and root beer). the liqueur is martian green--witness below:

we're not exactly sure what we'll do with the liquor, but it's actually pretty nice on its own. i was really surprised at how much of the chlorophyll got sucked out of the lemon verbena leaves by the alcohol. it was crazy stuff, though--97% pure alcohol (which i think is actually illegal in california) that our friend who has a local vodka company traded us. i had to dilute it 8 or 9 times. i wasn't really into tasting the stuff after the first few sips, but the cooks were all over it, volunteering left and right. i think a couple of them might have gotten tipsy before dinner even started. i'm kind of lemon verbena-ed out, to tell you the truth. until friday, anyway, when we'll get another box of it and it'll be time to figure out more ways to make money out of weeds.