Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Herbs are...







Herbs are not flamboyant plants
like marigolds or zinnias...…..
They are quiet plants,
filled with inner beauty,
whose charms must be discovered.



Bertha Reppert in her book
Herbs with Confidence

Monday, March 18, 2019

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day!

We celebrated St. Patrick's Day with a festive Afternoon Tea in Sweet Remembrances. The tea began with a Traditional Farmhouse Creamy Coleslaw topped with freshly snipped spring onion, parsley, and basil. Spring is right around the corner and anticipation for fresh herbs from the culinary garden peaks right about now! 




The sandwich platter included a variety of Irish related menu options. Sadly, no photograph of the sandwich plate was taken. These are the cucumber shamrock sandwiches, sprinkled with dill.
Miniature Toasted Reubens
Petite Stuffed Potatoes
Shamrock Cucumber Sandwich with Boursin Cheese
Artichoke Chicken Salad on Buttermilk Bread
Roast Beef with Orange Horseradish Cream on Puff Pastry
Heirloom Brown Bread with Irish Butter 3-Leaf Clover

Wishing you
A green, growing garden,
A good cup of tea,

A day touched by sunshine
And warm memories.

Traditional Irish Buttermilk Scone
Irish Soda Bread with Caraway Seeds
Sweet Cream and Jelly
Fresh Orange and Kiwi Slices

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.

Enchanted Chocolate Mint Truffle
Decorated Shamrock Sugar Cookie
Saint Brendan’s Irish Cream Liqueur & Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

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

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Teh Hitam Seduh - Classic Black Tea

Special thanks to a family member that takes frequent trips to Indonesia for this colorful red tin of Classic Black Tea, or Teh Hitam Seduh. Inside the sturdy red box was a foil bag lined red tin that holds a rich black tea comprised of long wiry tea leaves. The box, in both English and Bahasa Indonesia, the official language of Indonesia, offers a serving suggestion that includes adding 1 - 2 teaspoons of the tea into a tea vessel with a brewing time of 1 - 2 minutes. As with all brewing suggestions, it is merely a guideline. It is Nancy's preference to brew black tea for 5 minutes, and she found this to be 'just right'.

The tea produced an elegant cup of amber brew void of any bitterness or astringency. It is not overly strong, yet offers a delightful way to begin the day! The elegance of the tea leaf is most notable in the wet leaf as it has opened and unfurled during the steeping process. Time to brew another pot of Teh Hitam Seduh!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Tea Pot Cakes!

Jubilee Cake Studio Design
Conveniently scheduled during Angelica's spring break was a tea pot cake decorating class at the local cake shop, Jubilee Cake Studio where the slogan is we bake, you decorate. We snatched up the last three available seats, and found ourselves entertained with this easy and tasty craft project. This array of utensils was placed in front of each seat. Easy to follow directions were offered to roll out the fondant to create a large circle that would cover the petite cake. Once we had our circle, individual cakes were provided, and we covered them with the firm white fondant icing.


After the cake was completely covered and smooth, we made the handle and the spout followed by the lid surrounded by a ring of little candy beads. The roses and leaves which both required special tools then became the focus of the class. You could make as many roses and leaves as you desired, placing them on the cake with additional buttercream icing 'glue'.
How pleased we are with the finished cakes!
          Pretty pink boxes are provided to safely transport your creation.
On display in the tea room, cakes by: 
Nancy, Angelica (on the pedestal), and Cedar (with a turtle)

Sunday, March 10, 2019

PA Tea Festival Sponsors

Tea Time Magazine, Tea by Two, Tea for All, The Essential Herbal, International Tea Sippers Society, Garden Talk, and the Mid Atlantic Tea Business Association have joined together to sponsor the PA Tea Festival for 2019, scheduled to take place on Friday, September 27th and Saturday, September 28th in the herb gardens of The Rosemary House and Sweet Remembrances. We are pleased that these businesses have united to sponsor the PA Tea Festival. Preparations are in full swing to present another tea festival with a wide variety of speakers and vendors. We have speakers traveling from CA, TN, and OH to participate this year, and a range of vendors from the tri-state area. The PA Tea Festival website will be updated as soon as details are finalized. Tickets for the festival and the unique specialty tea tastings will be available mid-July.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Chai Chocolate

Our local chocolatier Cocoa Creek Chocolates has recently launched a whole new line of chocolates featuring our town, their hometown collection. They sure are sweet on Mechanicsburg!  All of the terrific family neighborhoods, first-rate schools, parks, historic sites and cultural events, Mechanicsburg is home to some of the nicest, happiest people around which has totally inspired the chocolatiers to create a yummy box of perfectly crafted and delicious chocolates. Mechanicsburg, our hometown is a uniquely special place to live and work.  The Borough's crown jewel is its vibrant, colorful downtown -- which famously transforms into a street fair for Jubilee Days, sponsors a busy community events calendar including the annual Art Walk & Wine Tasting event, and hosts the renowned "Wrench Drop" on New Year's Eve. For the rest of the year, it's a bustling center of commerce and a lively social scene where friends meet to shop, share a cup of coffee, enjoy a beauty fix, and revel in the quintessential small-town experience.  This collection of chocolates is their love letter to the Borough of Mechanicsburg, and the businesses and people that make it unforgettable.  The chocolates and the business they represent include:

Ice Cream Sundae Truffle - ganache made with premium vanilla ice cream & white chocolate in a dark chocolate shell represents Eckels Ice Cream Fountain.

Death by Chocolate Truffle - bittersweet dark chocolate ganache enrobed in dark chocolate,
is the flavor of who else but the funeral home.

Champagne Truffle - milk chocolate ganache infused with champagne, enrobed in dark chocolate featured flavor of Taylored for You Bridal Boutique

Lemony Felony Truffle - white chocolate ganache spiked with limoncello & fresh basil, enrobed in white chocolate when you need a law office in Mechanicsburg let your chocolate flavor lead the way. 

Our amazing Ritter's Hardware Store has of course.
Nuts & Bolts Cluster - Crunchy peanuts, pecans and cashews covered in creamy milk chocolate


The local coffee shop is included with their
Capital Joe's Espresso Truffle - dark chocolate ganache infused with espresso, covered with dark chocolate, dusted with espresso powder


AND,
The Rosemary House is included!!!  Our own hand blended Chai is used to create this:
Chai Tea Truffle - milk chocolate ganache infused with Rosemary House blend of chai tea, enrobed in milk chocolate







The box includes a write up of each business that is featured and here is ours:
Currently celebrating 50 years in the community, The Rosemary House offers a stunning array of herbs and spices, for uses ranging from culinary (seasoning) to fragrance (potpourri, soaps, perfumes) to healing (tonics, oils and extracts).  Owner Susanna Reppert Brill, a sixth-generation herbalist, grew up working alongside her mother (who founded the business), absorbing her encyclopedic knowledge of herbs and plants.  After graduating from Mechanicsburg High School and earning a degree in Public Policy at Penn State, Susanna returned and took over The Rosemary House.  To augment her already strong folk herbalist background, Susanna completed a two-year program in herbal therapeutics, along with study of anatomy, physiology and clinical training, allowing her to provide comprehensive advice to her customers.  Her husband and business co-owner David Brill is also a trained clinical herbalist and offers consultations aimed at holistic healing.  After almost four decades, the couple's passion for their work is evident in the store's eclectic merchandise, the beautiful adjoining garden, and the flourishing calendar of events including herbal education, tea parties, the wildly popular annual Fairy Festival, and hosting the Pennsylvania Tea Festival. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Fat Tuesday! Fastnachts. PA German Tradition

Once a year, on the Tuesday before Lent, known as Fat Tuesday, traditionally the Pennsylvania Dutch woman would make fastnachts to use up all the fat and lard in the house. Fastnacht is translated from German to mean 'night before the fast'. You might also see it spelled faschnacht, fosnot, fosnaught, fausnaught.
Churches in the area and even supermarkets have been making these little fat cakes as fast as they can to meet the demand for this heavily fried delicious little doughnut like staple. You can find them plain, sugared, or dusted with confectioner's sugar. Here in Central PA, we are fortunate to be the recipients of some homemade fastnachts shared with us by family friends.
You can find many recipes on the Internet, made with either baking powder or mashed potatoes. Follow this Wikipedia link to find a few variations on the traditional recipe. However you enjoy your fastnachts, we suggest a piping hot mug of tea to accompany this special once-a-year treat.
Special thanks to Matt H. for sharing his recipe with us: (and an even bigger thanks for sharing the already deep fried fastnachts with us this morning!)
Fastnachts
2½ cups hot mashed potatoes 
1 cup milk
3 beaten eggs
2 Tablespoons melted butter
2 cups sugar
5 cups flour
2 Tablespoons baking powder 
(Note: I used King Arthur self rising flour and omitted the baking powder)

Mix everything together except flour. Mix flour in slowly (one cup or so at a time).
Divide the dough in half or thirds. Roll to 1/4 to ½ inch thick. Cut with a donut cutter or use a knife to cut into triangular shaped pieces. Deep fry in hot fat or oil (between 325 and 350 degrees--use a thermometer-- keep a lid for the pan handy in case it catches fire, and keep water far away from hot oil) until done. 
Coat with powdered sugar, if desired, by shaking in a paper bag filled with a generous amount of confectioners sugar.
(This post is a reprise from 2015. The recipe still stands as tried and true! Thanks again, Matt!)

Friday, March 1, 2019

March!

March brings breezes loud and shrill,
Stirs the dancing daffodil
~Sara Coleridge (1802 - 1852)