Saturday, May 27, 2017

Herbs Make the Difference!

Flashback - 1988 - Colorado - did you spot the bumper sticker on the door?
"Herbs Make the Difference" from The Rosemary House.
Photo shared by longtime Rosemary House friend Ginny Reid. Thanks Gin!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Edward Hand Medical Heritage Foundation

As part of our recent Traveling Herb Seminar we visited the Edward Hand Medical Heritage Foundation. This important resource is dedicated to preserving the history of the healing arts in Lancaster County, PA.

There are over 10,000 artifacts including books, pictures and assorted items all which are cataloged and used to create exhibits and displays which are loaned out to hospitals or available to view online via their virtual museum as well. 

While the EHMHF focuses on the rich healing arts of  Lancaster County, our interest was related to the many herbs that were used for healing in the 18th and 19th Century.

Many in our group felt that they had actually sat in this dentist chair!

Our tour was enriched by the knowledge of these retired physicians. Dr. Barton Halpern (L) presented an informative presentation on herbs and  Dr. Nikitas Zervanos (R) was our escort and host during the tour. Both remained on hand to discuss the collection as did the administrative assistant, Hannah Lerew. It was a very informative stop and a lovely way to round out our 18th Century Immersion Tour.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Rock Ford Plantation

The next stop on our 18th Century Immersion tour was Rock Ford Plantation.  This was a gentleman's farm and was the home of Edward Hand, an adjutant general to George Washington in the American Revolution. 

We were able to tour the four square vegetable and herb gardens, walk the grounds and enjoy a self-guided tour of the elegant Georgian-style mansion built circa 1794.
Rock Ford gave us an idea of refined country living pre-1800, with elegant rooms furnished with an amazing collection of period furniture.  

 After our stop at Rock Ford Plantation, it was a quick hop back on the bus, and a short sprint to the Garden of the Five Senses which is located in the same area, Lancaster County Central Park.

This garden featured running water, fragrant herbs and trees, plants you can touch and plants you shouldn't touch. They certainly had something for all 5 senses. This was a quick little stop for us en route to our next 18th Century stop.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Colonial Plantation, Ridley Creek State Park

Our recent Traveling Herb Seminar was an immersion into the 18th Century.  We began our day at The Colonial Plantation in Ridley Creek State Park. Maury and Barbara presented a talk on traditional farming techniques of the 18th Century.

This is a working farm so there were a variety of animals for us to visit with.

 We spent some time in the herb and vegetable garden. These hoop houses were made of paper.  The herb garden surrounded the vegetables in the beds that were raised up by a stone wall.  

We toured the grounds and the barns, learning about the life style of this working farm.

The original farm house was abandoned in the 1950's and became a Bicentennial Project to restore.  Fortunately, it was used by tenant farmers so for those many years it was never renovated inside.

 Our morning continued with a tour indoors in the Farmhouse, Springhouse learning about the daily living of the Quakers that built this beautiful farm.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Herbs and Flowers for Anniversaries

In celebration of their 50th Anniversary, our parents compiled this list of flowers and their symbolic meanings by gleaning through their collection of Victorian Language of Flowers dictionaries and through their many years of marriage!
Bertha & Byron Reppert, May 19, 1945

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Coriander Cream Dip with Apples

Coriander Cream Dip
1- 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. light cream
1/4 c. honey
1 tsp. crushed coriander seed

Mix all ingredients together. Let flavors blend overnight. Serve with fresh apple slices.

Celebrating the 2017 Herb of the Year Cilantro/Coriander at our annual Garden Tour and Tasting Party. One plant, three ways to enjoy it. We served Lemon Coriander Bars with ground coriander, Coriander Cream Dip and apples. The coriander seeds were crushed using a mortar and pestle. And, fresh Cilantro in the Herb of the Year Salsa. It was a tasty night! Lemon Herb Tea was the beverage of choice among most attendees, although Peaches and Ginger was also available.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Lemon Coriander Bars

Celebrating National Herb Week with the 2017 Herb of the Year Coriander/Cilantro. We served Lemon Coriander Bars as a dessert using ground coriander seed.

Lemon Coriander Bars
1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. powdered sugar
1 c. flour
2 Tbsp. lemon juice 
grated zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs, beaten
1 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground coriander seed
Combine butter, flour, and sugar. Mix well until small crumbs form. Press into bottom of 8-inch square pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. In same bowl, prepare filling. Combine remaining ingredients, pour on baked crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Cool and cut into bars.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

2017 Herb of the Year Salsa

Herb of the Year Salsa
2 large tomatoes, diced
1/4 c. onion, diced
1/2 c. cilantro, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. jalapeno, minced
1 Tbsp. lime juice
Combine all ingredients, and allow flavors to blend. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Coriander/Cilantro Herb of the Year 2017

The herb of the year for 2017 is Cilantro/Coriander. Two different flavors on the same plant. It is like a BOGO - buy one, get one free. The leaf of the herb is called  Cilantro and is sometimes referred to as Mexican Parsley. It is the very distinctive taste found in fresh made salsa. It seems to be one of those flavors that you either love or hate. 
The seeds of the annual cilantro plant are referred to as Coriander. Coriander, either ground or seeds, is commonly used in baking and frequently found in Middle Eastern and Indian dishes. It has almost a spicy/lemony flavor.

As part of National Herb Week (which is the week leading up to Mother's Day) Susanna hosts a seeing-tasting-touching garden tour where we discuss the herbs in our garden. Following the tour, guests enjoy a sampling of some refreshments featuring the Herb of the Year prepared by Nancy. Depending upon the weather, either hot tea or iced tea is served. This year, a pleasant evening for a garden tour, once inside the tea room we enjoyed hot tea.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Fairy Cakes

Much to our delight, a fellow vendor in the 'Rainbow Court' area of the Spoutwood Faerie Festival makes and creates these fabulous Fairy Cakes that she graciously shares with neighboring vendors. What a true labor of love to make these tasty little gems, each more beautiful and more creative than the previous design. 
In addition to the intricate details of each cupcake from tiny mushrooms to even tinier lady bugs, although difficult to see in the photos, they are sprinkled with fairy glitter which causes them to sparkle and shine in the light.

Petite little flags silently announce the flavor of each homemade cupcake, making the decision of which one to eat first even more difficult! Which would you choose? And do you select your favorite Fairy Cake by flavor (as did Angelica) or by design?

Angelica's Favorite

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Nepal Tea Golden Needles

At a recent meeting for the Mid-Atlantic Tea Business Association, we received Swag Bags that contained an amazing variety of tea samples. One of the samples was this Golden Needles, a limited edition from MATBA member Nishchal Banskota of Nepal Tea. With the brewing instructions conveniently placed on the package, and a lazy rainy morning, I proceeded to brew these beautiful long thin tea leaves at a temperature of 195 degrees for 5 minutes.

Upon opening the sample pack, there was a hint of chocolate fragrance with the leaves. After brewing and tasting the tea, I was immediately drawn to the complex layer of flavors. Even though originally smelling chocolate tones, there seemed to be delicate floral undertones to this full bodied tea. As the tea cooled, the floral undertones became faint, and the chocolate flavor surfaced. Overall, the tea was quite smooth with no astringency. It yielded a perfect cup of tea that ended much too quickly!
Nischal will be offering a variety of his teas from Nepal to purchase when he joins us for the Pennsylvania Tea Festival in late September. Nepal Tea is a proud sponsor of the Tea Festival. We look forward to his contributions to the festival as a vendor and a speaker.