Garden, Plant, Cook!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

12 Days of Christmas - 6th Day of Christmas

6th Day of Christmas — December 30th

Here in the Valley of the Sun, our growing climate is very similar to the lands of the Bible, so at this time of year it is only fitting that one of the 12 Days of Christmas garden sections should touch on some of the Biblical plants which can be grown in our desert gardens.


Did you know mint was an herb so valued it was tithed? Some other herbs of the Bible lands are: dill, hyssop (actually Syrian Oregano) and Sweet Bay.

Some of the biblical plants you can plant now are: Coriander (cilantro), mustard, chicory, sage, marjoram, violets (and pansies), and fig and pomegranate trees.

More plants of the Bible:

The "Pungent Lilies of the Bible," in use and cultivation since ancient times, garlic, onions and leeks) have been both food and medicine. The Children of Israel lament the onions, leeks and garlic missing from their desert diet after leaving Egypt. (Old Testament Numbers 11:5.)

"Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food," said Hippocrates. And, of course, current science has shown the many benefits (cardiac, digestion etc.) of these pungent lilies in the diet.

Learn more about these and other foods of the Bible Lands at the special tour hosted at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum this coming Sunday, January 4th.

January 4th — Plants-of-the-Bible Tour at 1:30 p.m. Boyce Thompson Arboretum Information: 520-689-2723

E-CARDS. Folks in my post of the 2nd Day of Christmas I gave a link for the wonderful cards of Jacquie Lawson. A fan forwarded the post on to a friend, Timothy Tu, and I have another wonderful e-card site for you to check out - consider a New Year's card for family and friends. A small membership fee (similar to Lawson's site) allows you to send unlimited cards through the year. Frederikke Tu's art work is delightful


If you are still having company and need some different ideas for snacking, try this version of hummus - a lighter excellent taste and good for you too! (Artichoke hearts are number 7 on the top 20 antioxidant lists.)


2 tablespoons sesame seed, ground (if you like you can toast the seeds lightly before grinding) OR substitute 2 tablespoons tahini*
2 cans garbanzo beans (15 oz.), drained
1 can artichoke hearts (not marinated) (13 3/4 oz.) liquid reserved (or frozen, cooked according to directions, reserving the cooking water)
1 teaspoon capers
Juice of one lemon
½ cup packed, fresh parsley, rinsed
½ teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely minced
1 clove fresh garlic, crushed and finely minced
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

In a processor pulse all ingredients, using liquid from artichokes to create the desired consistency. This tasty dish can be a dip or a spread. Serve in hollowed-out cucumber boats or cucumber cubes, mushroom caps, in a hollowed-out roll, with crackers or chips.

*Tahini is sesame seed butter. Using a dedicated coffee mill (I keep one never used for coffee for grinding herbs and making small amounts of nut or seed butters) it is easy to grind the sesame seeds (toasted or raw) to a paste consistency.

Old Time Radio:

Abbott and Costello

Bud and Lou got their start in the usual way - dumb luck. Actually, when they were barely out of their teens, Bud was working in the box office of a local vaudeville where Lou Costello was on the bill. After meeting, Bud told Lou that he really needed a straight man, and that he, Bud, was available. Lou said "Oh, yeah?" "Oh, yeah, and I'll prove it!" They continued on the circuit together. The rest is show-biz history. This episode has the boys trying to run a drug store. Listen Free.

Merry 6th Day of Christmas!

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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