Sunday, August 19, 2018

Something(s) About Basil

The mouth-watering aroma and taste in Italian dishes is usually what we associate with basil, but the popular round-leaved, emerald-hued "sweet" basil is just the beginning.  Green Lettuce Leaf or purple "Ruffles" can be mixed into salads with delicious results.  Purple, Opal, or Cinnamon basils make a tasty ruby-red vinegar easily bySome simply filling a jar loosely with their leaves, and covering for a week with rice wine vinegar. 
Strain and bottle for use all during the year.  Lemon and Lime basils are divine with chicken or fish, and the spicy Globe basil is a pleasure for indoor gardeners, growing well on sunny windowsills.  Greek Columnar basil is carefree to grow, as it never bolts or flowers. Thai basil, African Blue basil, Licorice, Holy basil...
 there are so many to love!

The name of this herb may be derived from the mythical reptilian creature, the basilisk, that was capable of striking one dead with a mere glance. 
In superstitious medieval times, it was spurned and dreaded because it was believed that basil plants drew scorpions with their scent and the act of smelling basil would draw the creatures right into the brain.

It's not all bad, though! In Italy, basil symbolizes love, and a man may present a would-be lover with a sprig. In the Greek language, basilus means "royal", and is considered by many to be "the king of herbs".  In the language of flowers, basil means "best wishes".  Nowadays, it is one of the most popular herbs in the world.
Pesto is one of the simplest and most elegant of summer meals and the recipe is very forgiving, allowing one to use handfuls to measure.  While the pasta cooks, gather a good handful of fresh basil leaves.  Toss them together with a clove of crushed garlic, a handful of good Parmesan cheese, another handful of walnuts or pine nuts, and enough olive oil to moisten well.  Process to a slightly chunky, green paste (pesto means paste). 

Serve over piping hot pasta, alone or with shrimp or chicken.  Some crusty bread, a little white wine, and in 15 minutes, you have a luscious culinary masterpiece.  Be sure to make plenty of pesto during the summer and freeze it in meal-sized portions for a delicious green reminder of summer gardens in the dark months of winter.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

September/October 2018 Essential Herbal #101

Our latest issue is in the mail, and the pdf edition will be emailed to subscribers on the 20th.  We just love this beautiful bunch of nasturtiums on the cover!  They help us hang on to the growing season a little bit longer.  There are some wonderful articles in this issue.  Many of combine medicine and food, and there are so many interesting things to try.  We hope you'll enjoy it.  Here's the table of contents.
Not a subscriber?  CLICK HERE

Table of Contents

Cover Artist, Anne Butera
     Some of the last blooms in the autumnal culinary garden grace our cover.

Field Notes from the Editor,
Tina Sams
     Lighting the herbal fire in a child.  This issue has everything, but it’s particularly helpful in  making food be your medicine.

Autumn Canning, Rebekah Bailey
     4 not-so-typical things to jazz up the pantry shelves

Herbal Condiments, Marcy Lautanen-Raleigh
     Salsa, chutneys, relishes, and sauces to bring pizazz to the table

A Story of Spearmint, Isabella Bergum
     A brief tale of how spearmint traveled to West Virginia

“Brain” Mousse, Maryanne Schwartz
     No brains were injured in the making of this skin cream, it just looks that way.

The Moon Garden, Barbara Steele
     The pure delight of night-blooming or pale silvery plants in the night

The Plight of the Bumblebee, Kathy Musser
     As an herb farmer, Kathy has seen a change in how people plant their gardens, and it’s a good thing.

DIY Botanical Cocktails, Jackie Johnson
     How to put together a botanical cocktail bar for a large group

Making Fresh Horseradish, J B Shaffer
     Try some fresh horseradish.  Learn about the plant/root, and prepare it as a condiment.

Peruvian Maca, Marita Orr
     All about the adaptogenic root Maca

Peppers, Anyone? Marci Tsohonis
     Info on peppers and how to work with them.  And LOTS of ways to use them.

Mad for Motherwort, Kristine Brown
     Motherwort has so much to offer us.  Kristine tells us all about it.
Autumn Harvest, Tina Sams
     Do you work with new herbs each year?  Be ready to study them in winter.

Nasturtiums,Tina Sams
     Nasturtiums as medicine and food. Yup – medicine!

Witching Herbs? Maryanne Schwartz
     Renaisance fair enchantments

Making a Medicinal Travel Bag, Molly Sam
     It really only takes a few things for most people.

Next deadline is September 1 for the November/December issue. 

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Zucchini recipes

In the nick of time, too

Herbed Zucchini
2 C. zucchini, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 medium green pepper, chopped
1 T. olive oil
1 T. fresh basil, snipped fine
1/2 t. salt
dash of pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium tomato, peeled (if desired) and cubed

Combine all ingredients except tomatoes in 2 qt. casserole.  Cover.
Microwave on high 4 - 5 minutes.  Stir in tomatoes.  Cover.  Microwave
on high 1 - 2-1/2 minutes.
Our family enjoys this easy summer dish either presented as a side dish,or served
on top of spaghetti noodles.
Nancy Reppert

Zucchini Bread

Preheat oven to 350 F

Combine dry ingredients:
3 C flour
2 t cinnamon
½ t nutmeg
1 t baking soda
½ t baking powder
½ t salt

Combine separately in a large bowl:
2 C sugar
2 C shredded zucchini
½ C vegetable oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 t vanilla
2 t molasses
One pinch or two of lemon zest
1 C of chopped nuts (optional)
Mix dry ingredients into the second bowl of wet ingredients and stir until combined, fold in the nuts.  The recipe makes two 8x4 loaves, grease the loaf pans and pour in the batter.
Bake in 350F oven for 50-60 minutes, until a knife inserted near the center, comes out clean.  Let the loaves cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then remove loaves to a cooling rack.   Enjoy!
Stephanie Gipperich

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Mix these ingredients together by hand :

2 C Sugar 2 eggs
¼ t baking powder
1 C vegetable Oil
1 t salt 1 t baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
¼ c cocoa

add and mix well by hand (to avoid a mushy texture):

3 ½ C firmly packed shredded zucchini
2 ¾ C flour
1/2 C dried sweet cherries
1 C pecans
1 C chocolate chips
1 C shredded coconut

Pour into 3 small (8 x 3 7/8 x 2 3/8) floured and greased loaf pans.
Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.

T.E.H Staff

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Think she was trying to tell me something?

Growing Up HERBIE

Molly Sams
Jan/Feb 2007 TEH and By the Hearth compilation
             Now, before you start writing nasty letters, e-mails, and such to my mother about her awful daughter, let me explain why I wrote this article.

              For as long as I can remember I’ve had flash backs about having to stop on the side of a highway and risk my life to grab a small unknown herb, wildflower, or berry for my mom. I’ve also remembered the days where instead of using regular medicines to cure my cold mom used “crazy voodoo magic”. This article is simply to show things you should avoid doing to spare your child from embarrassment and possibly permanent emotional and physical scarring even if you’re addicted to doing strange, sometimes smelly things in the kitchen with herbs from your garden.

One of the things you may want  to avoid doing is giving your child licorice root for their sore throats. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been asked by my classmates “Why are you chewing on a twig?” or “Doesn’t that taste bad?” and I have many a silly nickname like, “hippie” or “tree-hugger” but every now and then “tree-eater” will come up. 

In fact, medicinal herbs and young children just don’t mix well at all.  Once they get to be about eleven or twelve they will be fine with taking tinctures and what not but until then good luck trying to get them to drink it. I can’t count the wrestling matches mom and I had to get me to take anything (even “normal” medicine) and it usually ended up all over me instead of in my stomach.

Another thing is going to herb festivals. I don’t have anything against them now and actually kind of like them so maybe other children (more girls than boys probably) will too, and if you go to one I’d suggest bringing your teenager. It gives you both a good time to bond and they may learn a lot from you or maybe you learn a lot about them. If you have a little one its risky bringing them because if they don’t have something to entertain them I promise you they’ll complain the entire time. But if you bring them you can teach them a lot. Show them stuff that smells, taste, or feels cool. I remember when I was a wee one I really liked lamb’s ear for example.

Probably one of the most important things to remember is please do not use your child as a guinea pig. Your children love you very much and will do a lot for you but I know I speak for a lot of kids when I ask you not to put lavender oil on us to cure our sunburns. Another awful thing to test is how your homemade lotions, perfumes, soaps, and other neat stuff work. I’m very, very proud of my mom and all the nifty stuff she makes and its never happened to me yet, knock on wood, but some may have irritating and possibly painful reactions to some of the concoctions.

Finally, yes, I know I told you more of what to avoid then what to do with your children when it comes to herbs so I guess I should tell you some good stuff about having an herb crazy mother.
Please, if you want to show your kid how awesome herbs are and how much they can do, have them help or work with you on stuff. You can do a lot, go on a hike, or make some soap or something with them. If cooking is more your thing, you two can make some herbal tea or something crazy in the kitchen and have everyone eat it. You can always have a totally organic and spiced up dinner or maybe have a party where you can all have friends over and decorate with herbs, make food with herbs, and maybe make a little gift bag with herbal bath stuff or other neat body stuff.
That’s it for now. I hope you’ll enjoy and get ideas from this!

Mom’s note…
I thought it might be interesting to see how my daughter felt about her childhood experiences and told her not to hold back.  Perhaps I should have re-thought that, being as she IS heading towards 16. 

Additional note:  At 20, she realized how much she loved herbs and began studying them in earnest.  Still going strong at 27.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Marci's Cabbage Salsa

Because this gets such rave reviews, we're sharing this recipe from (Jul/Aug '18)  the current issue.
Many of you know Marci Tsohonis' writing in the magazine.  It is usually sumptuous soaps made with amazing, healing oils and herbs.  What you might not know is that she's also a master in the kitchen, whipping up all kinds of delicacies and delights.  Here is one of them:

Marci Tsohonis
I have always loved ANY kind of Mexican food.  I don't know how many Mexican restaurants I've been to in my life, all over the Pacific Northwest.  But I never tried Mexican Cabbage Salsa until we moved to the Wenatchee area.  At every Mexican restaurant here, the warm-up is hot Tortilla Chips, Tomato Salsa and Cabbage Salsa.  (Technically called Cabbage Salad, but the flavors scream Salsa)  I had to learn to make it because it is fabulous served with Tortilla Chips!  It is a staple at my house in the summertime.

First, go out to your garden or the Farmer's Market and grab a cabbage.  Cut away all the green leaves, wash,  and gut the tough center core.  Shred, either by hand or in a Food Processor.

Here are the other ingredients you'll need:

Pickled Jalapeno Nacho Rings & Juice (3-4 tbs. diced Jalapenos & 1/4 cup of the juice)
3-4 Tbs. diced red onion (or more)
1 clove garlic, smashed and diced
1 handful chopped Cilantro leaves
2 diced Roma Tomatoes
Salt & Pepper to taste
Juice of 3-5 fresh Limes (5 if very small)

Combine all ingredients together, adjusting to suit your taste, and refrigerate about 2 hours to allow flavors to blend.  Serve with warmed tortilla chips to your very favorite people!

Happy Summer!

Sunday, July 22, 2018

What's in those compilations?

We've had the three big books for quite a while now.

  In fact, it's getting to be time for another, but we have to work up the energy to put it together and rustle up the cash to print it.  In the meantime, I JUST figured out a way to share the indexes so you can see all the amazing content they hold.
The table of contents just don't do them justice.  To make these books, we completely deconstructed the magazines, then we repositioned all the information, creating meaningful chapters.  Monographs, medicine, teas, bath and body, and food, along with lore and history, make these books really wonderful.  So full of ideas for bringing herbs into your every day around the home.
Without further ado...

#1 Under the Sun
Our first compilation.  5 years (2002-2006) of Spring and Summer issues.

#2 By the Hearth
2002 - 2006 Fall and Winter issues

#3 Through the Seasons
In this case, we put all of the seasons together into over 400 pages of delight. 2007 -2011
Yes, the years on the cover are incorrect.

They are a great deal.  It's been said that the indexing alone is worth the money - just to be able to find things!  So have a look.  We're sure you'll be needing one, two - or for the very best deal, all three.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Mom's Clematis

For 12 years, I've tended the clematis that was my mother's.  She planted it here when she first moved in, and loved the deep, vibrant, violet flowers that climbed up a little lattice. 
Flowers growing outside were a big deal to Mom.  She wasn't good with plants.  We learned never to give her houseplants, and if we gave her bouquets for special occasions, we could be sure to find them perfectly (kind of) preserved, still in their vase weeks later.  She took an interest in plants when she moved up here, and some of her plants remain.  I really dislike "red hot pokers" but can't bring myself to tear them out. There were several things here that she loved, but the clematis was "her color."
When I got here, it barely bloomed.  3 or 4 blossoms a year for the last 11 years, and then this year something changed.  It started climbing, and I gave it some ribbon to find its way to the porch railing.  On it went, blooming all the way.  I appreciated every single flower.
As it got closer and closer to the date that the kids were to arrive from California, I told the clematis that they were coming; to hang on. 
It's about time for them to leave.  I went out on the porch for something and saw this one lone flower left.  No more buds, and the petals are barely hanging on.  It did its job.

If you knew how much these kids meant to Mom, you would be right there with me, knowing that the clematis flowers this year are from her, and she too stuck around to be with the kids.  I knew it when one of the petals drifted to the ground while I stood there looking at it.  

I'm not sure if the tears that filled my eyes were about the kids leaving, thinking about how proud she'd be of them, or the whole kit and kaboodle.  Dang flower.


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