Think Outside the pot! Creative ways to plant and give herb plants as gifts. And some vinaigrettes, herbed nut mix and a few other nifty-gifty recipes you can make to give as well.
Jan Norris is the editor of the just-released quarterly magazine, Florida Food & Farm. As a journalist, she's worked as food editor at the Palm Beach Post, and freelancer for the Sun-Sentinel, The Coastal Star, Florida Weekly Newspapers, and Florida Travel and Life magazine, among others. She's a fifth-generation Floridian who loves her state - quirky bits and all. She dabbles in a backyard garden with mixed success.
Jan Norris is the editor of the just-released quarterly magazine, Florida Food & Farm. As a journalist, she’s worked as food editor at The Palm Beach Post, and freelancer for the Sun Sentinel, the Coastal Star and Florida Weekly newspapers and Florida Travel & Life magazine, among others. She’s a fifth-generation Floridian who loves her state - quirky bits and all. She dabbles in a backyard garden with mixed success.
Program: Herbs in Hand and Mouth! Think outside the pot! Creative ways to plant and give herb plants as gifts. And some vinaigrettes, herbed nut mix and a few other nifty-gifty recipes you can make to give as well.
Our annual Potluck began with a rearrangement of the Begonia Potluck setting. We have a long-standing and so useful agreement with them and the Palm Beach Cooperative Extension that on Begonia’s evening, they set up and decorate, then the following evening, EHS come along, uses their decorations and, at the end, returns the Auditorium’s tables and chairs to lecture hall style. This time the greenery had faded and the table covers “used,” so Ingrid Menz rearranged and redecorated, coming up with EHS’s lavender table covers and a gorgeous splash of tropical holiday color from bunches of pink, green and red copper leaf plant, while Donnie Brown packaged EHS’s gift to our members, jars of preserves made by Roland Gaudet’s sister, Linda King, in little bags with red and green ribbons. Now the Auditorium was ready to party!
Thirty some members, many with a family member, brought their favorite Holiday dishes – for eight cooks, it was cranberry sauce!! Each was home made, and each equally delicious; the most unusual, and most traditional, in the Old Florida sense, was Brenda Skaggs’ roselle sauce. Roselle (Hibiscus sabdaffria) was known as Florida cranberry to Palm Beach County’s pioneers, cranberry sharp and sweet, these caylexes from roselle’s hibiscus-like flowers ripen here (and grow well here) just in time for Christmas tasting.
Marci Green roasted and carved, dividing up white and dark meat, three turkeys; Ingrid Menz brought in a Honey-Baked Ham, Donnie made fruit punch and Leslie Rigg did an excellent Allspice tea punch for EHS’s contribution to the feast.
While waiting for those stuck in rainy traffic, we started with the appetizers and goodly number of healthy salads, and then with a full crowd, fell upon the vegetables, mashed potatoes and gravy and the carnivore treats.
As everyone was settling in to perhaps another trip to the enticing desert table, Alison Smith, Glenford Smith’s daughter, continued their family’s tradition of a Christmas carol recitation, her voice was so pure and clear, and the audience so impressed and appreciative (and she loved Leslie’s Allspice tea and got the recipe).
Tea served at the Holiday Dinner by Leslie Rigg. I bought the Hot Cider Honeybush from Tea’s Etc. In addition to apple chunks and apple peel, the tea contained cinnamon, licorice root and chamomile. What is most special about this drink is that it is NOT a tea – Honeybush is a close cousin to Rooibos and only grows in a small section of South Africa. Honeybush has a honey, nectar-like aroma with a balanced, natural flavor; it is great hot or iced and is refreshingly simple. When I plan to serve tea iced, I make it strong so that the ice does not water it down too much.
The evening closed down with our annual Holiday Free Raffle, run by Marci and Donnie. First was an unusual holiday wreath of woven green coconut fonts, made and donated by Marcus Alphage, our Coconut Art and Craft friend, then came the exquisite, delicate angels fashioned out of dried herbs and flowers, found at Mrs. Mango’s Herb Shop in Rockledge and donated by Meg Vandereedt and finally three of the best Christmas like rosemary shrubs we’ve seen in years found by Ingrid. Then everyone got their jar of preserves to be taken home, and in a whip and a flash, the tables got stripped and pushed back into place, garbage taken out, leftovers distributed and all of us left with a smile on our faces.
Heartfelt thanks go to all for your generous contributions to the evening and your help. It couldn’t have been a nicer evening and now we have a whole new year of EHS doings to look forward to.
Although, the weather turned cooler for the Plant Sale on Nov 1 and 2nd, it was a spectacular weekend. There was sunshine and not a raincloud to be seen. Our volunteers were ready for the crowd on Saturday morning. It was busy. The Basils and Catnip hanging baskets sold out very quickly. The luncheon for Saturday that everyone looks forward to, was delicious. Donnie brought her fabulous sandwiches. Kathleen, Kitty, Meg, Marci, Pam, Ginny also contributed tasty tidbits. On Sunday, Mary served us coffee in the morning. It kept us charged all day. Brenda’s Lemon Verbena disappeared in no time. I enjoyed two slices. At the end of the two days, we were able to add $984 to our bank account to keep EHS moving forward with great programs in the coming year.
Our Herb Garden (now the Garden of Well Being) is in the process of being rejuvenated. There are lots of young plants replacing the ones that just could not pull through the summer. Some of them were no surprise, such as sweet Basil, Thai Basil, lemon Basil, all the different Sages and then our lavenders and geraniums. Joel Crippen, our horticulturist at the Mounts, who manages our Herb Garden suggested that we plant the Basils in nice pots off the ground to keep them alive longer.
A few years ago, Donnie came with lots of packets of Nasturtiums. She opened them up, dumped the whole package in the palm of her hand and just spread them all over the beds in the Herb Garden. The seeds with the help of Mother Nature opened up and we had Nasturtium mania in every color in every bed there was. It was awesome. Remembering that, I spread seeds in the beds two weeks ago and they are slowly coming up. How exciting. I know that Donnie has seeds and I challenge her throw them into the beds so we can have a double spectacle.
There are lots of visitors that come through the garden and they enjoy the diversity of plants in such a small area. I volunteer in the garden on Thursday mornings, and enjoy talking to visitors, answering questions if I can or guiding them to the answer.
Right now is the best time to go outside and work in your garden. It’s cooler and not so humid. I am working on planting a “tomato patch.” I have lots of Everglades tomato seedlings, that self seeded from my previous two plants, to experiment with.
See you at the November meeting, Tuesday, November 25. The Tasting Table is everything pumpkin and fall spices. Then on December 9th is the Holiday Potluck Dinner not to be missed.