Monday, July 19, 2010

Books, baking, and a continued harvest

 Sweet Annie and Italian oregano drying on the yellow pantry

I was asked what sweet Annie is and my answer... the most delightfully fragrant herb I know, that often stirs up memories which bring tears to my eyes (quite often used for wreaths).  A favorite family outing was a trip to The Feast of the Hunter's Moon each Autumn.  It was one of my favorite days of the entire year, especially when both kids lived at home and we were still a family of four.

We would park the car at one of the locations where a fleet of shuttle buses drove people out to the location of the Feast and back all day.  As one of my annual souvenirs, I would purchase a fresh sweet Annie wreath or swag to hang in my home... the aroma at times a little overwhelming on the bus ride back to the car but just perfect in a room or on the front door.

Throughout the year, I would often rub my fingers on the sweet Annie when walking by... memories of dulcimer music, hot cider, and cool smoke filled afternoons mixing with the fragrance of the herb (smoke as in lots and lots of wood fires).

I let my Sweet Annie go to seed last year (not smart if you want to bring it inside as it loses the seeds everywhere).  However, it reseeded itself where it had been growing, too.  Thus... the surprise of the herb growing this spring even though I had not planted it.

I'm drying the sweet Annie and Italian oregano in the kitchen since I don't plan on using them for anything but decoration.  The lemon verbena (and a few other herbs) are drying in the postage-stamp size bathroom off the family room that is rarely used (and often dark).  This is the same room where I use the shower as a pantry for nonfood items (an idea stolen borrowed from Manuela).  These herbs will all be used for cooking or tea so I want them to retain quality... thus, the dark-ish room.

 As for the harvest... the above picture shows us the results of time in the garden this morning.  Lots and lots of green beans were picked, two yellow tomatoes (which really are more of an orange color), parsley to use in a recipe, thyme to dry, and two different mints to use as tea.  My Roma and the heirloom tomatoes are beginning to see a touch of red!

 The first real "artwork" we bought as a married couple...

After months of reading English novels, I have been enjoying light stories (except for the aforementioned sinus infection month of June).  I have finished Brunstetter's Merry Heart and started the second in the series (Brides of Lancaster County) during a rest this morning. Since all four books are in one volume, it will be easy to read one after the other.

Finding a new recipe is much akin to striking gold in this family.  At the end of each Wanda Brunstetter book is a recipe found in the reading of the story... in this case, a peanut butter chocolate chunk cookie (I used chocolate chips).  When I finished the book, I realized I had all the ingredients so immediately went to the kitchen to do some baking.

Oh, my... they are a delicious combination of peanut butter and chocolate.  I tried them out on my picky cautious eater and waited for his opinion... definitely two thumbs up... especially with a large glass of cold milk.  I wonder if these will bring him home from campus on weekends?  :)

The recipe will make its' way to the recipe blog soon.  I have many recipes to post when I get time.  I need to sit down for an afternoon at the desktop computer and get the recipes posted... someday... when the siren song of the garden is not calling.  But I do plan to post the promised peek-a-boo stew and the cookie recipe soon.


tina said...

I saw "Merry Hearts" at the library the other day, but have several books going at the present: could you give a review please?

Sharon said...

Oh Brenda...this post filled me with longing to go visit Apple Hill in the hills outside of my hometown of Sacramento,CA.Each Autumn they held an apple harvest festival and there were vendors of all kinds selling apple themed foods and gifts.There were shuttle buses there as well to take people around,etc.A wonderful place to escape the often still warm temps. down in Sacramento.Thanks so much for reminding me of such a happy place and time.:)~Sharon

Terra said...

I am interested in Sweet Annie and hadn't heard of it before. Your garden bounty looks delicious on the kitchen counter. I have some garden goodies too, Chinese sugar peas are very abundant right now.

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

A lot of people are allergic to Sweet Annie, or develop this allergy from exposure. I remember a wreath making workshop with the herb society I belonged to and how we made the wreath bases from Sweet Annie and everyone was sneezing their heads off the whole time! But we had so much fun!

Morning's Minion said...

I'm preparing a post which references "sweet Annie" so it was good to read your remarks regarding it. I once inadvertantly started a whole plantation of it when a few plants went to seed in my Vermont garden.