It has been unbearably hot and muggy here over the last few days. If you’re living with the same conditions, I recommend waiting for the humidity to lift before attempting to air dry any significant quantity of herbs. However, the other night Davin picked too much thyme for a meal and spontaneously constructed this contraption as a way to ensure that the herbs were able to get air on all sides and avoid going moldy.
It’s just a paper bag clipped to the rope that raises and lowers the kitchen blinds by a close pin. It isn’t fancy, but I was impressed by his ingenuity.
This morning I was over at a friend’s, and she had set up a similar contraption to dry large quantities of lavender. Her’s was a clothesline strung across the kitchen with each bunch of lavender in its own paperbag to catch the flowers that would otherwise fall and drop onto her head and into meals at the table. She also used clothespins to hold the bags on the line.
Lara was randomly selected as the most recent book giveaway, Backyard Medicine: Harvest and Make Your Own Herbal Remedies by Julie Bruton-Seal and Matthew Seal. I’ve decided to extend this giveaway to one person on the newsletter list. I’ll be randomly choosing a winner on the morning of Monday, July 22, so you have until then to sign up. Please note that you are in the draw if you are already receiving the weekly newsletter.
Last night we enjoyed dinner at The Black Skirt, a Sicilian/Calabrian Italian restaurant here in Toronto. Before the meal, we were served slices of Italian loaf, as is the custom in most Italian restaurants. But where most restaurants tend to provide a plate of good quality olive oil for dipping, The Black Skirt offered something a little unusual, an oily and aromatic, bruschetta-meets-pesto sauce called ammoghiu.
I have a bit of an obsession with salt. I went through a phase tasting every kind of salt I could find, and I still get excited when I come across new types in specialty food stores. Last summer we happened upon a store called The Meadow in New York’s West Village that carries over 100 types of salt and I know this sounds a bit twee and hyperbolic, but I was pretty overtaken by the thrill of a wall of exotic salt from all over the world.
I live smack dab inside an urban forest of linden aka lime (Tilia) and at no time is that more obvious than mid-June-July when the trees are dripping with blooms. Their sticky sweet, floral scent is so strong, my bet is that even if you have never noticed the trees, chances are good that you are familiar with their smell.
Did you know that linden flowers make a sweet and delicious honey-like herbal tisane? The tea, made from dried flowers is popular in Europe, but virtually unheard of here in North America. It has soporific properties, meaning that it makes you sleepy, and is often used as a nighttime drink to calm and relax after a busy day.