Celebrate the Summer Solstice with Sun Infusions

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Sun infused tisane

Celebrate the Summer season with sun-steeped teas.  These light, bright and refreshing recipes are designed to nourish and hydrate our bodies throughout the year.

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Gathered botanicals

I formulated this equation as a framework on which to build a balanced blend.

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Selected plants to steep

  • 1 tsp. Base with earthy or woody constituents.
  • 2-3 tsp. Flavor with fruits and/or florals
  • 1-2 tsp. Green or White tea Leaves for antioxidant properties.

This is a mere suggestion I have found to work well for a full and satisfying, albeit therapeutic infusion.  When using fresh plants, be certain the plants have not been sprayed and are safe to drink.  Some florals are not intended for consumption and other aerial plant parts are toxic.  Stick with pre-packaged tea bags and commercial loose teas to get the feel for creating the perfect blend.  Eventually, this will become second nature as you spend more time with the plants themselves.  You will instinctively choose flavors and herbs that will address your needs, similar to why our bodies develop cravings.

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Various commercial teas and blends

I am a fan of “Traditional Medicinals” brand teas; herbal infusions naturally designed to address symptoms.

v  1 Madagascar Vanilla Red Rooibos

v  2 Black Cherry or Dark Berry

v  1 “Fusion red, white & blueberry tea

v  1 “Traditional Medicinals PMS” blend

v  2 Echinacea Elder by “Traditional Medicinals”

v  1-2 “Fusion red, white & blueberry”

v  2 Orange Spice

v  1 “Traditional Medicinals Think-Q Ginko”

v  1 white tea

v  1 Earl Grey (fermented black tea)  “Twinings” is known for safe, high quality

v  2 “Gypsy Cold Care” by “Traditional Medicinals”

v  1 white tea

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Cheerful florals for tisanes

Give botanical tisanes a try like these fresh growing flowers and herbs whilst it is summertime:

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Spicy Oregano

v  Lavender/Anise Hyssop and Rose Petals

v  Spearmint/Spicy oregano

v  Lemon Thyme/Lavender.

v  Hibiscus or Jasmine

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Anise biscuits & sugared lemon rind Compliments of Inn Walden

Potentiate the potion with dried plants and commercial blends to substantiate these fresh infusions.

Enjoy slow infusions extracted by the sun as well as a steeped, freshly brewed cup.  Be it the Summer or Winter solstice, stay safe and healthy all year long with home brewed infusions, regardless of your hemisphere.

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High Tea
Compliments of Inn Walden

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Botanical witch hazel extraction – traditional complexion renewal

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Botanical Witch Hazel Extraction
‘Biochemical Alchemy’ label

The witch hazel plant has quite a pedigree, offering healing properties as one of a number of its multiple uses.  I have been a fan of witch hazel for decades, housed in my medicine cabinet as a staple, and as a foundation for other preparations such as this “Botanical Complexion Topical”. 

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Dried florals and botanicals from my garden

Maintaining a growing garden leaves me susceptible to insect bites and nettle stings.  I also prefer glove-free gardening and often stick myself on rose thorns, subjecting my skin to oxalates emitted from tomato’s protective glandular trichomes in addition to other prickers and brambles.  Goddess only knows what microscopic goodies get under my finger nails and may be transmitted transdermally.  The bright afternoon sun aids in the synthesis of Vitamin D3 and feels so good on my face, but irritates the Rosacea condition I have also been treating for 20 years. Providentially, witch hazel aids all these conditions. 

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“Botanical Complexion Topical”

This latest incarnation of my botanical toner is suggestive of The Mountain Rose Blog‘s recent recipe.  I extracted a select combination of plant parts I have grown, dried, collected and prefer for fragrance and pH rebalancing.  Most of my food and preparations are intuitive blends I have practiced repeatedly over the years.  This forgiving process welcomes you to invent your own.

  1. Gather your chosen ingredients.  The current batch contains varietals of the following:
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    Measured herbal ingredients

Handful of rose petals

2 Tbsp. Rosemary

1 Tbsp. Comfrey Leaf

1 Tsp. Peppermint leaf

20 or so Lavender Wands

Small Sage bundle

1-2 Dried Persimmon slices

1-2 tsp. Lemon Thyme

1 tsp. Basil

6 gtt. (drops) Orange Extract if no fresh orange oil is available and…

86% double distilled Witch Hazel

*Overall amounts depend upon container size.

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Dried contents

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Liquid infusion in process

Put all ingredients into a glass jar.  Fill with witch hazel ensuring herbs are immersed, allowing room for expansion.  Add liquid extracts.  Seal with a tight lid and put in a temperate location out of direct light for a minimum of a fortnight.  Gently tilt jar daily mixing contents, returning to its undisturbed location.

  1. Strain extraction initially through a sieve.
  2. Allow contents to settle then re-strain through an unbleached coffee filter or fine cotton cloth.
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    Initial straining

  3. Transfer to a glass spritzer bottle or keep stored in sealed jar, applying to skin with a glass eyedropper, so as not to contaminate contents.  Keeps well and yields enough to be shared.  This fruity, refreshing toner regenerates dermal elasticity and stimulates the senses while promoting healing on a cellular level. 

    * The human body is in a constant state of flux so bear in mind that as individuals, we each have unique responses to products at different times.  Use with care.

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    Infused claret product

“Alsace-Mediterraneo” infused Veggie Quiche

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Full moon pie

It has been many moons since I have baked a quiche.  Not ever having been especially fond of cooking, quiches were easy, satisfying and the food du jour, soon becoming a staple in our early home together.  I actually phoned my now very-grown-daughter for tips preparing and baking quiche so as to ensure a successful outcome.   Recently logging onto the “Penzey’s Spice” Facebook group page inspired me with a photo of an asparagus quiche wafting across my screen.  I have been on a serious asparagus bender lately and wanting to take full advantage of this remarkable spring cleansing food, I am rejuvenated by modifying this quiche recipe.

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Artisanal recipes

Yes, I am promoting and consuming the creamy-cheesy-vegetable richness of this decadent delight with Crohn’s disease!  Whaaaaaa?  I know, right?  Well, there is a disclaimer.  When something is worth it, there is usually a disclaimer.  First and foremost: everything in moderation.  As I mentioned at the top of this manuscript, It has been many moons, precisely however many moons there are in a quarter of a century.

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Fresh basil

HOLY BASIL BATMAN the smell is absolutely intoxicating.  I can taste the air in anticipation of this practically illegal prescription.  The scent of the smoked Gouda melding with the tri-pepper blend and Herbes de Provence are enough to make me trip.  This is no flashback, my friend, this is a newly discovered way of eating what I want while being nutritionally beneficial AND taste beyond belief!  Now that I have tantalized your taste buds, I will share the culinary chemistry, outlining each wholesome ingredient working in concert with one another.

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“Proper food combining”

Proper food combining:  the theory behind this practice is what allows me to consume a multitude of foods while maintaining a healthful lifestyle with Crohn’s.   Quiche is mostly about all protein (meats) cheese and eggs. This is a crustless quiche recipe, therefore; the proteins are not neutralized by starches and breads creating an indigestible bolus that prohibits efficient absorption.

Quality matters:  The quality of all ingredients is essential to ensure freshness and patency.  Pasture raised eggs are the most wholesome and nutrient rich, making them more bioavailable.  Like eggs, dairy from local farms is not only fresh, but animal friendly, meaning the animal byproducts are NOT subjected to synthesized hormones and antibiotics that are dumped into the environment and ultimately consumed by everyone, clearly proving “less is more”.   Grass-fed organic cows produce milk that is unparalleled to anything most of us have ever experienced since WWII.  We still get a little wonky with respect to pasteurization in the U.S., however; if you are fortunate enough to know of those with Gentlemen (& Gentlewomen) farms, you may be privileged to enzyme intact foods which do not interfere with the digestive process.  For the rest of us who have compromised GI systems and conditions resulting from impaired digestion, there are digestive enzymes.  Never leave home without.

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Regional grated smoky cheeses

Breaking it down:  The cheese I chose is a sweet, smoked Gouda, melting like butter and broadening flavors with a familiar yet meatless smoky appeal.  Much of the lactic acid is removed during the curd washing process contributing to the characteristic mellow, sweetness.   Traditional cheeses like Lorraine, Emmenthaler, and Gruyere are of a similar quality and part of the globe from where quiche Lorraine originates.  Quiche consisted of meat, cream and egg, ironically featuring local cheeses following WWII.  This recipe is “Alsacienne” because it contains onions.  Onions have remarkable antimicrobial effects and grow readily.  Onions are a preferable vegetable to nightshades containing solanine, which interfere with enzymatic action causing inflammation.  While making French onion soup, I learned caramelizing  diced onion first enhances sweetness.  The heat breaks down the plant cellulose, softening both texture and flavor.  Onions are also a potent contrast to the powerful and pleasant chlorophyll filled asparagus.  This lively spring vegetable spearheads the season with its diuretic cleansing properties.  Lightly steamed prior to baking, asparagus continues to soften in the oven, allowing it to retain its nutritive value.  So far we have the necessary elements that make good food enjoyable; quality, consistency, texture and flavor.

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“Kitchen crusader” homegrown Herbes de Provence

Savory and herbs and everything nice:  There is a lot of leeway when preparing quiche.  I consume vegetables most so I prefer accompanying savory herbs.  This Alsacienne quiche lends itself to the savory “Herbes de Provence” blend, indigenous to the suggested area.  I grow and dry my own varieties of oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, lavender, marjoram, dill and tarragon, using fresh when abundant and dried from the season before.  I speak of these “kitchen crusader” herbs often having historical and geographical significance from my heritage and for my health!  Whether I enhance or substitute my own, I keep a bulk quantity of the incomparably fresh Penzey’s Herbes de Provence on hand.  Another must-have Penzey’s blend is “California Seasoned Pepper”.  This colorful pepper and herb combination brighten all vegetables as well as the pallet.

The table is set with a ‘d’Histoire et des Cultures de l’Alimentation’, the gastronomical backdrop behind this quiche.  Now I will serve this scrumptious recipe:

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“Crust-free Asparagus Quiche Alsacienne”

“Crust-Free Asparagus Quiche Alsacienne”

v  ½ lb. prepared fresh organic asparagus

v  1 small diced Spanish onion or equivalent in-season sweet Vidalia

v  5 beaten pasture raised eggs

v  8 oz. shredded smoked Gouda or 4 oz. of 2 cheeses each.

v  1/2 C. farm fresh milk & cream

v  1 Tbsp. Mediterranean sea salt capers

v  1Tbsp. Herbes de Provence

v  1 tsp. “Penzey’s California Seasoned Pepper” or tri-colored peppercorn blend

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Quiche ingredients

Bring eggs and measured dairy products to room temperature to ensure a puffy omelette-like consistency upon baking.  Gently steam asparagus spears.  Caramelize onion, if desired.  Beat eggs thoroughly, blending grated cheese(s) into the sunny mix.

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“Asparagus Quiche Alsacienne” process

Sprinkle in the herbs and spices of choice.  Line the bottom of a coated quiche dish or large pie plate with vegetables, dotting with the capers.  Pour the silky mixture over the prepared vegetable plate then bake in a preheated 375F oven for 35-40 minutes.

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Quiche is almost ready

Quiche is ready when your senses are imbued by the creamy custard and the surface bubbles with a soft, bronze coating.

I opted for the deep dish pie plate since the eggs rise in a souffle-like fashion.  I also add a dash of fresh ground nutmeg mace, suggesting a subtle sweetness and because it has become my traditional trademark!  Whatever you decide, make it your own and enjoy the process, the product and the gratification.

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Serving “Crust-free Asparagus Quiche Alsacienne”