Tag Archives: herb

Memorial Day Feast…Good Enough for Any Special Occasion

We had company this weekend, so I planned this special dinner, but it never worked out to make it (it’s fairly heavy and takes about 4 hours to make). So, when our friends (and mentors) from church texted me on Sunday night, I asked if they had anything planned for Memorial Day. We ended up having a delicious dinner and played a game of Dominion while eating dessert and sipping coffee. What a fun night! Here’s the menu:

They brought a salad and blackberry cobbler with vanilla ice cream and we made the following dishes, along with coffee and iced tea:

I forgot to take a picture the night of, but here’s a picture of the leftovers with some steamed broccoli and fruit salad:

Bryan told me I could make this dish anytime I want (actually he told me about six times over the next three days). That’s a definite win… (*scurries to write down recipe*). And we had plenty of leftovers for several meals. So rich and delicious!

Note: It did take a while to make, but most of that time is inactive time, so you can do something else while it simmers away on the stove for three hours. When the ribs have 30 minutes left, start your risotto recipe and finish it  while your sauce reduces (you may want to add a little cornstarch to thicken the sauce after it’s reduced for a while; put 2 Tbsp. of cornstarch in a small ball and stir in 1/4 c. of the hot broth until it’s smooth, then add the cornstarch mixture back into the sauce pot). While your sauce is reducing, start the carrot dish (takes about 15 minutes total).

Bon Appetit!

Book Review: The Herb Book, A Complete Guide to Growing and Using Herbs by Jennie Harding

256 pages. Absolutely beautiful! This book gives a wonderful history of herbs, guide to soil sampling and growing herbs, a full display of recipes using herbs. It also gives many examples of herbs used medicinally or to improve your healthy lifestyle, which herbs affect which body system, and how to make herbal waters and herb-infused essential oils. The last section of the book is an alphabetical list of herbs with pictures, which part to use, and how, culinary and medicinal uses.

Unfortunately, I can’t find this book anywhere online. However, the author has another book with a very similar ISBN, called The Herb Bible: A Complete Guide to Growing and Using Herbs. Since the second half of the title is the same as the book I reviewed, my assumption is that it’s just an updated version. I got my copy at T.J. Maxx for $5. Amazon has The Herb Bible available for $8. It’s also available in Spanish!

Bee Balm and Lemon Balm (Mar. 23, 2010)

Last year I noticed that we had some very tall, beautiful looking flowers in our wildflower garden. The previous homeowners had planted them, so I had no idea what they were. So, I did a little research. I found out it’s called bee balm. Here’s a picture of the flower:

I found some more information about bee balm at http://www.altnature.com/gallery/beebalm.htm. It’s sometimes listed as Eastern Beebalm, Bergamot, Wild Oswego Tea, Horsemint, or Monarda.

There’s a similar plant, but in a different family, called Lemon Balm, or Mellissa Officinalis. I had this as a medicinal tea while I was in Europe on a mission trip one summer. When I introduced myself to one of the teens in Latvia, her first comment was, “Oh, like the tea.” At that point, I had to try it! It’s known for calming the stomach. And it works! I love it! And I’m having a hard time finding it in the grocery stores, even natural stores.

But Mellissa and Monarda are two different plants, so I’ll have to find seeds for Mellissa. They have similar calming affects on humans. Most commonly, they are used in teas. You can use the flower and the leaves, fresh or dried, to make your tea. I think I’ll be using my dehydrator when these flowers bloom again. Here’s a link on how to make lemon balm tea at herbalmedicine.suite101.com.

One more site that you might find interesting is http://www.organicgardening.com/. I signed up for their newsletter, and they included a “Wacky Garden Helpers” pdf. Check it out here: http://www.organicgardening.com/pdf/WackyGardenDL.PDF.