Tuesday, March 29, 2016

New Apartment - Wish List!

Intern Molly Sams  is moving into her first post-college home. As a guest blogger today, she shares her apartment wish list. It is a great gift giving list for any twenty-something on your list.

1. The Best-Selling Roastmary has to be #1 on the list.
I have started using Roastmary here and there and quickly fell in love. As many of you know, this spice blend is perfect for any meat, veggies, and is even tasty in sauces and pasta. I personally use it in dipping sauce most regularly. It has enough kick that it's delicious with crusty, warm bread. I know I cannot have my first kitchen without it.

While we all have Pinterest, the recipes, plans, and crafts in all the scrapbooks will be unique to the fudge-filled cake or DIY crème brulee we’ve all seen online. There are hundreds of wonderful light and hearty recipes within the scrapbook pages and will help me bring herbie goodness into every facet of my home.
3. Pot Herbs

Pot herbs will be perfect for the soups and stews that I plan on making so I have lunches and dinners made ahead of time. To make sure they do not get too blasé, pot herbs will add some much needed spice and will hopefully inspire me to become more daring in my culinary experimentation.
      4. African Market Baskets (for Central Market)
   I only live a few blocks away from a phenomenal farmer’s market in Lancaster. It has everything from fresh produce to locally butchered meat. I cannot wait to buy all the goodies at market to try out new recipes and dishes. Because I’m sure I will want more than a few radishes here and a jug of milk there I want to get a few market baskets that will help me bring all the deliciousness
      home. The market baskets are super sturdy and easy to carry since they have leather handles.

I only have carpeting in the upstairs bedrooms but I want to make sure when I move in that I start with a fresh slate. The house we rent was built before the 1970s and I’m sure the floors can talk. So to give them new life I’m going to vacuum them with carpet stuff (lavender, of course) so they stay fresh even after move in day.

6.   Blue Lady and French Caramel Flavored Teas

I fell in love with the French Caramel black tea from just the scent of it before I ever tasted it. It is a great tea to mix with as it is a good base tea that does not overpower the other flavors and it, of course, smells amazing. Blue lady is a nice delicate black tea that I love and cannot wait to wake up to a tea of that on Saturday and Sunday mornings as opposed to my regular black coffee.

7.  Garlic and Chive Brew Bread

The brew breads are really simple to make and perfect for when my house warming party or when I need fresh bread to go with my perfectly seasoned stew for lunch. I unfortunately have a serious addiction to bread but I think if I can convert my taste buds to Garlic and Chive Brew Bread I think I can cut down on my bread intake and enjoy the slices I create even more.

     8. Potpourri

I’ve noticed that potpourri has been making a bit of a comeback in the herb world. Luckily for me, The Rosemary House has some adorable mixes full of color and scent that I know will be the envy of many of my friends. Now if I can just find a good basket to put it in…

     9. Spices (all of them!)
Along with the pot herbs and brew bread I cannot wait to try my hand at spicing my own dishes. I have worked with my mother at The Essential Herbal Magazine along with Susanna and I have seen what amazing meals you can create with spices. While I’m sure I’ll end up running through Susanna’s spice drawers like some sort of spice hoarding troll I cannot wait to work with Ceylon cinnamon and turmeric.

    10. Plants (all the plants! For the container garden)

Speaking of a hoarding troll, this will be the first garden that is just mine and I am so excited to put a bunch of herbs all around my little plot of land. Unfortunately I am not allowed to plant in the yard but it does mean I can hew my container garden skills (or complete lack thereof). With plenty of lavender, rosemary, parsley and whatever else I can get my hands on I am excited to begin my own herbal collection.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

In Bloom in the garden - Bloodroot

One of the Spring ephemerals which grows on the edge of the woods in part shade, blood root is unique because it flowers first and leafs out second. You need to keep an eye on the bloodroot patch as it will bloom one sunny spring day and only stay in bloom for a day or two so it is very easy to miss!
This pretty little patch of bloodroot is tucked in the back corner of our goosefoot shaped garden.
Like the name suggests the roots drip a red substance that looks like blood. The roots have been used in the past to dye wool or fabric. It is also used as an escharotic or skin eating plant. Don't be afraid as it only eats unhealthy skin such as cancerous skin ailments. 
Sadly, bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis is one of our native plants that are being overgrown in the woods by other invasive species. It is also being overharvested as some promote it as a plant to eat skin tags and warts. 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Easter Greetings!

Easter decorations have popped up here and there, family preparations are underway, dandelion greens gathered and bunny cakes made. The first of faraway family members rolled in Thursday afternoon while long distance travel for others, traveling from NY and NC, is on the agenda Friday. Let the family celebrations begin!
Wishing all a joyous and peaceful Easter!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Royal Touch

This beautiful hardcover cookbook (a souvenir from our journey to England last summer) features Simply Stunning Home Cooking from a Former Royal Chef. Written by Carolyn Robb, a former personal chef to TRH The Prince and Princess of Wales and TRH Prince William and Prince Harry and published in 2015, it is a glorious compilation of foods and delicacies fit for a king, but with easy to follow instructions you'll be eager to prepare and serve to family and friends. 

The photography is stunning throughout the entire book. Hard not to drool over each colorful picture. The presentation is exceptional, as one would expect for a royal household. Each chapter has enticing photographs of recipes featured in the chapter. From Magnificent Morsels, through Beautiful Beginnings, Little Bites, and Sweet Temptations, there's something here sure to please everyone.

Tucked here and there throughout the book are sweet little sketches, some depicting fresh herbs, others feature the British flag. Little bits of royal memorabilia are also included, a Christmas card from Diana with her two sons, or a hand written note from Charles. It's a little scrapbook tucked within the pages of a cookbook. What a fun book! It is available through Amazon in case you're wondering, and slightly used copies are available at a reasonable price.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Irish Soda Bread Scones

With one last nod to St. Patrick's Day, we had a request to share the recipe for Irish Soda Bread Scones that were served at our tea this past week. After receiving permission from Bruce Richardson of Elmwood Inn Fine Teas, we're happy to be able to share this recipe. Bruce and his wife Shelley owned and operated the Elmwood Inn Tea Room in Kentucky for many years before closing in 1990. During the time they owned the tea room, they wrote several cookbooks that feature the tea fare that was served in their Inn. This recipe is from A Year of Teas at the Elmwood Inn. Although they no longer own the tea room, they have a beautiful gift shop related to all things tea in Danville, KY which I was able to visit in 2014 and shared that experience in this blog post. Do visit if you are ever in the area.

Irish Soda Bread Scones
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 Tbsp. light brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp. caraway seed
6 Tbsp. butter
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 egg
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
1/2 c. golden raisins
1 Tbsp. cream
1 Tbsp. sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a large baking sheet. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, brown sugar, and caraway seed. With a pastry blender, cut in butter, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs Add raisins and nuts. Whisk buttermilk and egg together, then add to flour mixture. Mix together until a soft ball of dough forms. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently, turning five or six times. Roll dough out with a floured rolling pin to 1/2 inch thickness. using a round biscuit cutter, cut scones out and place on baking sheet. lightly brush the tops with cream and sprinkle with sugar. bake 10 - 12 minutes or until light brown. Proudly serve forth.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Herbed Spinach Bread

Our St. Patrick's Day celebration in the tea room yesterday included an evening tea followed by a lively presentation by Matthew Dodd that included songs and stories of Ireland. It was a festive evening! The tea menu included green bread - a herbed Spinach bread topped with our Rosemary House French Style Cheese Spread and garnished with a tomato half.
Green of Leaf and Green of Sod Herbed Spinach Bread
1-1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. mixed herbs, dried (I used an Italian blend)
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. oil
green food coloring
zest of one lemon
2 eggs, lightly beaten
10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and well drained
1/2 c. chopped almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour an 8" x 4" loaf pan. Mix dried ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and herbs). Set aside. Blend sugar and oil with food coloring and lemon zest. Add eggs, beating them into mixture. Add dried ingredients along with chopped spinach and almonds. Mix until combined. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 50 minutes to an hour, until bread tests done with toothpick. Cool on wire rack. 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

May you always have walls for the winds,

a roof for the rain,

tea beside the fire,

laughter to cheer you,

those you love near you,

and all your heart might desire.

-an Irish blessing

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Pineapple & Kiwi Tea Sandwiches

Here's a fun tea sandwich we like to serve this time of year - the touch of green is perfect for a St. Patty's Day tea or a special spring time tea. It's simple enough, cut rounds of white bread. Spread with a blended mixture of 8 oz. cream cheese and a well drained 8 oz. can of crushed pineapple. If you don't want to mix your own crushed pineapple topping, purchase a tub of premixed pineapple cream cheese found in the deli case, that works just as well. Top with sliced pieces of Kiwi fruit. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Flashback Friday!

This 1971 Rosemary House advertisement appeared in the Patrons pages of 'The Artisan', the Mechanicsburg Area High School Yearbook. The small print under the photo reads 'The Rosemary House has the finest articles and gifts.' The shop was 3 years old at the time, and Nancy, 17 was a soon-to-be proud high school graduate.

While this promotional photo appeared in a local newspaper in 1974. Nancy, shown here watering the little front stoop herb garden, back in the day when there was hardly any traffic on our now very busy street.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Shamrocks galore!

We're thinking about the luck of the Irish around here, and using shamrocks as garnishes on our tea time treats. Mint Frosted Brownies are a popular dessert in the month of March. We  make a double batch of the minty filling in order to pipe a little shamrock on the top of the chocolate glaze.
You can find the recipe for the Brownies here. Just be sure to double the green frosting if you plan on topping the brownie with a shamrock!

Monday, March 7, 2016

March Blessings

For each petal on the shamrock
This brings a wish your way -
Good health, good luck, and happiness
For today and every day.
~Author Unknown