I broke my foot a few months back. I had to practice what they call “non-weight bearing” – in other words, you are not allowed to use your foot or put any weight on it at all. I learned really quickly that I used my foot and leg a lot more than I previously thought. I had a recipe-based article (on DIY Vermouth) for Edible Marin due and a photoshoot for said article a few weeks later… that was the last recipe project I did, until now.
I figured that if I can’t come up with some easy-to-recreate recipes and ideas for the millions of people stuck at home right now, what freaking good is this passion of mine? Yes, my stuff is often loaded with fresh herbs which isn’t totally accessible. And, yes, I tend to have some ideas that most think are too weird for them. But, I always do a good job. After teaching cooking for 20 years, you get good at showing people that they can re-create many marvelous dishes in their own homes, under almost any circumstances, regardless of budget or access to herbs.
I am one of the lucky people that hasn’t lost their job. For my main living, I work in organic produce, and we continue to work tirelessly to get fresh organic fruit to stores all over the country. So, my posts here won’t be super plentiful, but they will exist, as I too need to find solace where I can… and I find it in the kitchen and with herbs. I have also worked at home for many years now, so I might even be able to lend a few suggestions for those whose lives COVID-19 has disrupted.
My first recipe for this crazy time was born from a personal problem – one which I saw many people talking about online. Dry skin. My problem with dry skin came from my foot that had been wrapped up for almost 3 months. The foot sat in a boot for several months, then went through surgery and had a screw inserted into the bone. It wasn’t able to touch water for over two weeks. Afterwards, the foot was grotesque-looking and dry. Online, my friends lamented over getting dry hands from washing them so often. Out in the garden, I noticed my jasmine blooming and thought about how much I love the smell and how much I wanted it on my body. So, I thought I would make a sugar scrub to soften my feet, and that this recipe would be useful so others could soften their hands.
Many typical pantry items moonlight as fundamental ingredients for any scrub, and you don’t need to use so much to do a good job. Sugar (the coarser the better) and some sort of good for the skin oil will do the trick – try olive oil, warmed coconut oil, almond oil or jojoba oil (if you are one of those kitchen and body craft nerds like me that keep that on hand). I’ve also used sesame, pumpkin seed, and even peanut oil in some of my bath and body endeavors in the past. They all get the job done. However, it’s essential that you don’t use highly processed oils – usually titled vegetable and canola oil. Although there are healthy types of non-processed canola, they are not easy or cheap to come by.
Honestly, the herbs and essential oils are nice, but if you don’t have them, you can still achieve desired softening results. They key is to be crafty. Finely chopped stems from fresh mint or cilantro still impart the herbaceous freshness, and, if you don’t have a garden like I do, you don’t have to waste any usable herbs. Fragrant flower petals work well, also; roses, lilacs and plumeria are some of my favorites. The scent helps make the experience joyful, while oil and sugar get the job done. Both joy and practicality are important at times like this. Don’t underestimate joy during times of uncertainty and fear. I added a few pumps of a rose body oil that smells heavenly.
Jasmine Sugar Scrub
Makes 1 cup
You can store this scrub in a jar for a few weeks. Simply wet your hands and/or feet and then scrub in about 1 tablespoon of scrub into each hand or foot, one at a time making sure you scrub gently but thoroughly and get every crack and crevice. Keep the scrub on your hands for about two minutes before rinsing off with warm water. Gently dry your hands and smother them with a thick lotion or body butter. I like to put a hot cloth over my hands while I wait the 2 minutes before I rinse off the scrub.
I had lots of fresh, blooming Jasmine on hand but I added some fresh lavender leaves and marshmallow mint to give it a fresher and earthier feel.
The scrub will keep for a few months in jar.
1 cup turbinado sugar
½ cup finely chopped jasmine flowers (or any fresh herbs and flowers)
¼ cup olive oil
A few drops of essential oil or about 1 teaspoon of a scented body oil
Mix together the sugar and herbs. Add the oils and mix together, making sure all the oil blends into the sugar until a coarse, sugary paste forms.