Saturday, March 31, 2012

Oh no! You can see me....

Today was a very interesting day for me. A coming out of sorts. This blog so far has been a secret little thing I've been compiling until I felt I had enough content, and got enough guts to share it with the world Somehow today my little secret was found out and I was highlighted in an herbal blogroll by an herbalist and blogger I respect highly (see Rosalee de la ForĂȘt's blog Methow Valley Herbs).

On top of that, I was in the Washington Post today where I was interviewed about a new hydroponics store opening in DC that makes no attempts to hide it's intent to help people who wish to grow medical marijuana. I ended up being quoted about my enthusiasm about bat guano (blush). Of course that's what they had to quote... They had a great selection of organic potting mixes and soil amendments though.

All in all, after being in the public eye, at least a little bit, has been empowering! Bat guano and all.

Berry & Rose Elixir

This is a lovely centering elixir designed to lighten and nourish the heart.

In a quart jar combine:

2 parts (ounces) hawthorn berry - to center, nourish and strengthen the heart
1 part rose petals - to calm and soothe
1 part rose hips - to support the tissues
1 part goji berries - to support the adrenals
1 part elder berries - to strengthen and support the immune system
Brandy and honey to cover

I used 2 parts brandy and 1 part honey, and dried herbs. If using fresh roses or berries you will need to use a higher proportion of alcohol to make sure the elixir doesn't go off.

Throw everything into the blender and whir it around until all the berries are broken up. Don't do so far as to make a puree. Macerate for a month, shaking the jar as often as you think to. Strain and bottle. This elixir is thick and jam like and heavily scented with the magic of roses.

Cardamon Scented Lemon Polenta Muffins

Today was a bit overcast and there was a chill in the air. A perfect day for sweet baked goodness! I started out with the intent of making waffles, but my hubbie was doing dishes and there was no counter space for the waffle iron, so I turned on the oven instead.

These muffins were inspired by my friend Rebecca over at Cauldrons & Crockpots who makes a fabulous lemon polenta cake with lavender, who was in turn inspired by Nigella Lawson (credit where credit is due).

Makes 12 muffins
2 large eggs
1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup yellow corn grits
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4-1 cup buttermilk (just guessing how much I used here)
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
3 green cardamon pods: remove the cardamon pod's outer shells then roughly grind with a mortar and pestle.

Whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon juice and zest, and buttermilk. In another bowl combine the dry ingredients. Mix add the dry ingredients to the wet and quickly stir together without overmixing. If it seems too dry add a little more buttermilk. Gluten free batters do a little better when on the thinner side. Pour in the melted butter and stir to combine.

Generously butter muffin tins, or line with natural paper liners. Spoon the batter into the tins, filling each one to the top. Sprinkle with a little sugar. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F, until the tops are crisp and golden.

Let cool for a bit and enjoy on their own or slathered with butter or lemon curd. Oh how I wish I had lemon curd to go with these.

Many other herbs/spices would be delicious with these muffins if you want to try something different from cardamon: rosemary, lavender, ginger, etc... Crystallized ginger would be fabulous. Or blueberries!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Wild Places - Behind the Trader Joe's

Happy Spring!

Stellaria alsine
Erigeron pulchellus
Sanguinaria canadensis
Asarum canadense
Symplocarpus foetidus
Panax trifolium

Possibly Erythronium americanum