Has anybody heard of the “Toothache Plant” aka Szechuan Buttons? This spring-blooming annual flower is called the toothache plant because when you chew on the leaves or flowers particularly the young buds, contain a natural analgesic which numbs the tongue and gums.
Acmella oleracea, also known under its old names Spilanthes oleracea and Spilanthes acmella, is a flowering herb in the plant family Asteraceae, also known as toothache plant. It is native to the tropics of Brazil, and is grown as an ornamental (and occasionally as a medicinal) in various parts of the world. It grows quickly and sends up gold and red flower inflorescences with round yellow balls and a red “eye” on top. In addition to the unique flowers, Toothache plant has attractive bronzy, dark green foliage which is edible. This annual is used in salads because of its pepper like flavor, and is also chewed for toothache because of its anesthetic properties. The buttons usually are used raw, as a final touch to infuse drinks and sorbets.
For culinary purposes, a small amount of shredded fresh leaves add a unique flavor to salads. Cooked leaves lose their strong flavors and may be used as leafy greens. Both fresh and cooked leaves are used in dishes (such as stews like tacacá) in Belem and other parts of Northern Brazil, often combined with chillies and garlic to add flavor and vitamins to other foods.
Acmella Oleracea extract is reported to reduce muscle tension when applied topically, and as such it aids to decrease facial lines and wrinkles that are partially caused by tense or contracted facial muscles. Acmella Oleracea isn’t widely available just yet; but you can buy them at some fancy grocery stores.
4 oz condensed milk (I used fat-free)
1/2 cup Port
Splash of Cachaça (or vodka/cognac to substitute)
1 tablespoon chopped walnuts
1/3 cup crushed ice
2 Szechuan buttons
In a blender cup, combine condensed milk, Port, Cognac, walnuts, and ice and blend with an immersion blender. Pour into individual glasses and sprinkle Szechuan button petals over the top.
2 Szechuan Buttons
1-2/3 ounce Orange Flavor Vodka
1-2/3 ounce Ceren Vodka
1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
2/3 ounce Galliano
2/3 ounce Angostura bitters
2 ounces sour mix
1 12 ounce bottle Strawberry soda
2 Szechuan Buttons
1 package Smarties
1 package sugar cured green cherries
1 box Sweethearts
Fill 2 cocktail glasses with ice to chill,
fill large shaker 1/4 full with ice, pour vodkas, Grand Marnier
Galliano, Angostura Bitters, sour mix over ice, shake vigorously.
Remove ice from glasses, run a lime wedge around the rim of glasses and dip rim in sugar mixture, pour half of the cocktail mixture into glasses distributing liquid evenly, the top half of glass will be empty, fill 1/4 of the empty space with Strawberry Soda and other 1/4 with Tonic Water, drop 3 whole Sweet Tarts into each drink.
using a clean coffee grinder, pulse Smarties (about 10-12 pieces) until resembles course powder, pour into a saucer, cut entire head of 2 Szechuan buttons into fine pieces and add to Smarties sugar, toss gently to combine. Garnish drink with 2 Sun-Ripe green cherries and 1 whole Szechuan Button.