Archives for category: Encountering Herbs in Travel

Enjoy this beautiful, delicious and simple Spring Fennel Puree/Soup created by local Phoenix, Arizona Chef Sasha Levine

Fennel Puree/Soup

fennel puree

Ingredients: 1/2 medium onion – julienned (cut into long thin strips) 1 stalk green garlic – sliced 8 fennel roots – peeled & sliced 2 baby fennel – sliced 1 Tablespoon butter 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil Salt & pepper Splash of cream, squeeze of lemon Directions:

Saute onions and green garlic in the butter & extra virgin olive oil – season with salt.  Cook until soft & slightly translucent.  Add fennel root & fennel, cook down until tender.  Add water or chicken stock & cover.  Simmer 5 minutes covered.  Add fresh cracked pepper, a splash of cream, & a squeeze of lemon.  Puree until silky.  Garnish with fennel & chopped fennel tops.  Great with fish & pork.


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The Schools and Virtues of Tea

“The tea-plant, a native to southern China, was known from very early time to Chinese botany and medicine…and was highly praised for possessing the virtues of relieving fatigue, delighting the soul, strengthening the will, and repairing the eyesight.” 

“The Taoists claimed it as an important ingredient of the elixir of  immortality.”

“The Buddhists used it extensively to prevent drowsiness during their long hours of meditation.”  

In Japan, “[t]he beverage grew to be an excuse for the worship of the purity and refinement, a sacred function at which the host and guest joined to produce for the occasion and the utmost beatitude of the mundane.”

“The tea-room was an oasis in the oasis in the dreary waste of existence where weary travelers could meet to drink from the common spring…”

Quotations from Okakura Kakuzo’s The Book of Tea

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July in Toronto is in full bloom with Yarrow, Hibiscus, Echinacea, and Roses

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Reaching out of front yard gardens, the fragrance beckoning us to explore the inner most essence of Rose.  

The tilted, yellow, conical-crown is arrayed with pink-purple petals and boasts the most outrageously powerful immunity booster known to Grannies the world over; Echinacea. 

The amazing variety of hibiscus multiplies as we wonder down shady streets.  Soft blooms of white with pink centers, pale-orange with crimson, soft blue violet turning white toward the center with yellow stamens. 

But the most fragrant, quintessentially summer flower is the humble yarrow.  Yarrow grows wild in every ditch in North America: pink, white, lavender, yellow, all with the feather-like leaf from which its name arises.  

All the great medicine traditions from the ancient Chinese to the Native American used yarrow. A perfect nighttime tea for toning the liver or quieting a fever, waiting to be plucked from our own backyards.

These photos and notes are from a journey to visit friends and family in Canada.  We hope you enjoyed this saunter with us – and may be inspired to learn of the subtle herbal qualities of plants all around you. 🙂

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