Welcome to Hill Country Herbalist

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Today in the Garden: Havesting Mixed Lettuce and Tomatoes

It's a wonderful day when you can step outside, smell the fresh air of fall, and harvest goodies from the garden. I love farmer's markets, but there's nothing better than to "shop" around your very own garden and harvest fresh from the plant.

About a month a ago, I planted buttercrunch, red leaf, and oak leaf lettuce. When grown and harvested yourself, the lettuce takes on more flavor and bite. It's a bit more bitter and has better presence in salads. It's fun to toss with basil and dill(also growing in the garden) to really add dimension and character to a lettuce mix. Since lettuce grown in the garden is a bit more bitter than store bought lettuce, it should help kick up our digestive juices helping our digestion that much more.

The tomatoes I'm harvesting come from the Juliette heirloom tomato planted this past Spring. It seems the fruit coming off this plant is larger and more impressive than the fruit offered in Spring. I'm completely amazed how generous this plant is in offering its fruit. It is quite impressive! Please don't overlook next time you are shopping around for a tomato plant for your garden - if you see Juliette...grab it!

In this picture you can see the fury of blooms this plant has. It's ready to go at it, all over again, with yet another round of tomatoes. Incredible!

Try this simple recipe to spice up salads, sandwiches, or wraps:

Hill Country Salad Mix:
- a dozen Juliette tomatoes (quartered)
- 6 basil leaves
- 3 buttercrunch lettuce leaves
- 1/4 thinly sliced onion
- 1/4 cup fresh dill
- juice from one lime
- drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
- salt & pepper to taste

Ribbon cut basil leaves and lettuce. Rough chop dill. Thinly slice 1/4 of an onion. Toss with quartered tomatoes and add the juice of one lime - salt and pepper to taste. Excellent on top of wraps or served as a salad with fresh crumbled cheese.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Today in the Herbal Kitchen: Lotions!

I love bees wax. I attribute the success of my lotions to this magical wax. I'm almost through one of the first blocks I purchased earlier this spring. The act of shaving it and storing it is therapeutic. It gives me time to appreciate and respect our bee friends, for without them - our existence would be threatened.

Today, I made a cocoa rose body butter. The base scent is chocolate with hints of rose and tangerine. I think this is a very special lotion and look forward to hearing the feedback I'll be getting on this one.

I also made a calendula and raspberry leaf lotion featuring eyebright extract and neem oil. This lotion specifically targets the sensitive skin under our eyes, throat and chest. This is my favorite anti-aging cream.

I know it's been a while since I blogged - I've been quite busy in the herbal kitchen and garden coming up with new recipes to feed our bodies through our skin. I'll leave you with a picture of Basil - seen here smelling the leaves from the herb Texas Betony (Stachys coccinea).

Stachys is perennial herb that loves full sun and attracts hummingbirds and butterflies with it's vibrant red throated flowers. It is a great herb to sip in teas, mostly used to calm our central nervous system. It is said to feed our central nervous system while having a calming action. It's associated with helping people with nervous tension.