I have been interested in and learning about herbal remedies for the past 30 years. While in the past my learning has come reading countless books and attending workshop and classes I found a few years ago an online resource that I’ve found to be excellent. Maybe you’ve heard of them, Learning Herbs.
John and Kimberly Gallagher have created the only herbal online resource of its kind. There is a strong focus on both kids and adults learning how to identify herbs in your own backyard and surrounding areas, what they’re good for, how to process and harvest herbs, and ways herbs are used (in detail too).
The Learning Herbs website is abundantly full of free and paid lessons, educational products (I love their herbal Board game called Wildcraft – which I will write about in a future blog post), an Herbal Medicine Making Kit, they even have a herb ‘mentoring’ membership site (called Herb Mentor) which is filled with all kinds of content, fantastic how-to video’s, and much more. How I wish this was available when I was a kid (or even as a young adult), I would have devoured everything!
Of particular note for parents of budding herbal remedy maker’s, Learning Herbs even has a special section of interest for kids who want to learn about herbs, it’s called Herb Fairies. In particular what I like most is the way the Gallagher’s approach learning, through ‘cooperation’ – a skill-set that has been making some ground in recent years which I am delighted to find occurring. This is particularly true in the Wildcraft board game that teaches edible and medicinal plants, which by the way is great fun for kids and adults!
My personal feeling about everything that Learning Herbs has available is this, no matter what your age or herbal skill level is there is a lot of terrific information to take your herbal remedy making to the next level. I am a member of their herb mentor membership site and I’m loving it! I also enjoy their webinars and other things they offer. I am also an affiliate of what Learning Herbs offers, I personally utilize and enjoy what they offer and enjoy representing the best of what I find.
Also known as: Rubus fruticosus, Black Berry, Bramble, Dewberry, Goutberry, Rubi Fruticosi Folium, Rubi Fruticosi Radix, Rubus affinis, Rubus plicatus, Thimbleberry.
Blackberries are sweet darkly colored fruits that grow on bushy vines in small clusters known as drupelets. In Britain, the same plant is usually called bramble, because of its prickly thorns. The plant is also known as cloudberry (in northern Europe) and dewberry (in the American South). Blackberry brambles can become quite invasive if left to their own devices.
Many earth based and Wiccan religions claim that blackberry leaves can help return evil to enemies that sent it, and may also help remove evil spirits from your home. Superstition in the United Kingdom holds that blackberries should not be picked after Michaelmass (September 29th) as the devil has claimed them, having left a mark on the leaves by urinating on them. There is some value behind this legend as after this date wetter and cooler weather often allows the fruit to become infected by various molds such as Botryotinia which give the fruit an unpleasant look and possible toxicity.
Blackberry leaves have been traditionally used in herbal medicine as an antimicrobial and for their healthful antioxidant properties. A laboratory study published in the “International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents” in July 2009, conducted by researchers from the University of Siena, Italy, confirmed the usefulness of blackberry leaves for these purposes. Blackberry leaf extract was demonstrated to be effective against Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria associated with causing stomach ulcers. The study identified blackberry leaves as an effective alternative to antibiotics often prescribed to fight H. pylori.
Young blackberry leaves have high levels of antioxidants, or oxygen radical absorbance capacity, according to a study conducted by the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service and published in the “Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry” in February 2000. The USDA study found that the leaves of blackberry and raspberry, the portion of the plant used in tea, were higher in antioxidant compounds than the berries of either fruit.
In this video, herbalist and storyteller Doug Elliott shares the wisdom of Appalachia in performing “Blackberry Boogie” at the three-day RootStalk Herb Festival established by Mountain Rose Herbs
Using Blackberry Leaf as an Herb
Commission E, the German regulatory agency for herbs, has approved blackberry leaf tea for relieving non-specific acute diarrhea. Tannins in the leaves can alleviate this problem, according to Flora Health.
The Commission E advises taking 4.5g of blackberry leaves daily as a tea or other internal supplement.
University of Maryland Medical Center lists a standard dosage of blackberry leaf tea for relieving diarrhea as 1 heaping teaspoon of dried leaves per cup of hot water, and drinking 1/2 cup per hour, and the UMMC recommends talking to a doctor before taking blackberry leaf for treating diarrhea, because certain types of diarrhea can be worsened with herbal treatment.
Both blackberry leaf and sage leaf have long been used in traditional medicine to address a number of illnesses and digestive disorders. Combining the benefits as well as the pleasing flavors of both these leaves into blackberry sage tea creates a delicious beverage with the antioxidant and healing benefits of both blackberry and sage.
Both sage and blackberry leaf are used in traditional medicine for the treatment of gastric distress, including diarrhea and stomach bloating and discomfort. Blackberry leaf is astringent and helps dry up the intestinal membranes to fight diarrhea, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Sage promotes bile flow that aids in the digestion of fats, according to the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension. Sage is also an anti-spasmodic, and helps to prevent the formation of intestinal gas.
Thornless blackberry fruit and leaves have antioxidant properties, according to a study published in the February 2000 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. The study found that blackberry leaves had higher oxygen radical absorbance capacity than the fruit.
How to Make Blackberry Leaf Tea
There are two ways to extract the medicinal properties of herbs or plants to make tea, infusion or decoction.
When using leaves of blackberry you will want to use the infusion method.
Blackberry Leaf Tea is prepared by adding 2 teaspoons of dried leaves to a cup of boiling water, cover and let steep for 8 minutes then strain.
In order to achieve a greater medicinal effect a decoction can be prepared by using about a handful of dried blackberry leaves in a quart of water. Boil until half of the water boils off. According to medical research, it is recommended to take about 2 to 3 small cups every day. Many say that Blackberry leaf tea has no side effects and it is tea you can drink daily. I would like to add that it is a safe herb for those who are not sensitive to tannins, fortunately most people are not over-sensitive.
Blackberry leaf tea as a compress for wounds and skin rashes: it is recommended to make a compress for treating skin irritations and wounds. The best way is to make a decoction (see above) with the blackberry leaves then soak a cotton cloth in the liquid. Wring out the cloth then lay it over the affected skin area. Cover with a plastic wrap for about 30 minutes. This process can be done several times a day.
Additional Herbal Uses for Blackberry Leaves
Chewing fresh blackberry leaves releases tannins and vitamin C which can soothe and heal canker sores and inflamed gums.
Anthocyanocides contained in blackberry leaves act as powerful antioxidants that are essential for reversing cell damage resulting from free radicals which makes drinking the tea a very useful herb for wellness.
Blackberry leaf tea also helpful in regulating both heavy and light menstrual flow as well as intestinal inflammation since its leaves contains the astringent tannins. It is advisable to blend 2 oz of blackberry leaf tea with 1 oz of peppermint leaves in order to get the most effective relief.
Minor sore throat pain: blackberry leaf tea is recommended for those individuals suffering from sore throat pain as it acts as an anti- inflammatory for both throat and mouth normally caused by cold. Using the decoction method is best because it has a thicker consistency. Honey can be used to sweeten the bitter taste then simply use it as a mouthwash or as a gargle. When symptoms of sore throat are first observed, it is highly recommended to take this tea to prevent increased severity of the condition. Two to three cups of blackberry leaf tea daily is recommended to provide the effect.
Blackberry leaf is also approved in Germany for treating mild inflammation of the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat. This makes it beneficial for relieving sore throat, mouth sores and gum inflammation. For these purposes, it can be used as a gargle, mouthwash or tea.
Tannins, gallic acid, villosin, starch, and calcium oxalate.
Tea Steeping Time Reduces the Bitter Tannin Flavor
Tannins tend to have a ‘bitter’ flavor when the tea is steeped for too long. Therefore, it is recommended for ‘normal’ drinking of the tea that the steeping time not exceed 6 minutes.
Try a test yourself… take two individual cups of hot water and add to it the same amount of Blackberry leaf. Steep one of the cups for 5 minutes and the other for 15 minutes. Taste. Do you taste the difference?
Washes, compresses, and baths. Can be taken internally as a tea, capsule or extract. Leaf is slightly sweet and may be sprinkled on food.
The properties of tannins should always be kept in mind while applying extracts from tannin-rich plants for medicinal purpose. Tannin is basically an astringent that means that it tauten the pores and pulls out liquids from plants. In plants, tannins are large astringents molecules that easily attaches with proteins. To find the truth about these properties of tannins you may try a few small experiments. If you put tannin on your skin, you will witness it to shrink and if you apply if on your face you will notice wrinkles appearing. At the same time, tannins help to draw out all irritants from the skin. These properties impart medicinal qualities to tannin which is applied on the skin to pull out poisons from bee stings or poison oak bringing in instant relief.
The other remedial values of tannins include application on burns to heal the injury and on cuts to stop bleeding. Tannin’s ability to form a strong ‘leather’ resistance on the exposed tissues helps in protecting the wounds from being affected further. While it stops infection from above, internally tannin continues to heal the wound.
In case of third degree burns using strong tannin sources will not only prevent septicemia, but also help to save life. This traditional method has been practiced by most medicos in all countries. On the other hand, when a tannin-rich solution is poured on the flesh, it generates a sealing ‘eschar’ that often helps in growing new skin albeit temporarily. This technique requires repeated washing of the wound with tannins and this helps to eliminate the bacteria too. Hence, tannins are also said to have antiseptic properties. Interestingly, this practice is still followed in the primary health care centers in China and is also recommended as a first-aid treatment at places where emergency medical services are still inadequate or faulty.
Tannins can also be effective in curbing hemorrhages as well as restrict bare swellings. While tannins are proved haemostatics, they are also beneficial when applied on mucosal coating in mouth. Hence, herbs possessing tannins are widely used as mouthwashes, eyewashes, snuff and even as vaginal douches and also treat rectal disorders.
Tannins sour the mucus secretions and contract or squeeze the membranes of the stomach and other digestive parts in such a manner that secretions from the cells are restricted. Tannins’ anti-inflammatory effect helps to control or curb indications of gastritis, enteritis, oesophagitis and irritating bowel disorders. This action is possible by involving lymph stasis and neutralizing the autolytic enzymes.
Conventionally, tannins have also been used to cure diarrhea. Diarrhea can be caused by the irritation of the enteritis or the small intestine and is the reason for many deaths worldwide. Although diarrhea initially affects the large bowel, but a reflex action origination higher up aims at eliminating the disturbing material in the system as early as possible. Diarrhea many be considered to be a healthy action as it helps to remove the unwanted or disturbing substance from the system, but if it prolongs, it may lead to dehydration and nausea often resulting to death. Thus, in order to control the fierceness of diarrhea, application of an effective astringent medicine is recommended. An effective astringent does not stop the flow of the disturbing substance in the stomach, but helps in controlling the irritation in the small intestine.
Blackberry tea contains tannins, plant substances that can have negative effects. Blackberry tea contains hydrolysable tannins such as gallotannins and ellagitannins, which can have toxic effects on the liver in large quantities. Do not drink blackberry tea if you suffer from any type of liver disease without talking to your medical practitioner. Signs of liver damage include yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes, upper right quadrant abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and fatigue.
Tannins can also interfere with absorption of calcium and iron. Taking blackberry tea with milk helps to neutralize its effect on calcium and iron absorption. Adding lemon, which contains vitamin C, also helps to increase iron absorption. Don’t drink blackberry tea at the same time as meals. Low calcium levels could lead to bone disorders such as osteoporosis; low iron levels can cause anemia. Signs of anemia include pallor, weakness, low energy levels and shortness of breath on exertion.
In smaller to ‘normal’ amounts Blackberry leaf tea has no negative warnings and is thought of as a very safe herb to use with the exception of those who are very sensitive to tannins.
Likewise, those who experience shortness of breath and/or nausea after having a Tamiflu shot, this is due to the Tamiflu vaccine being very high in tannins.
This recipe is from Vital Choice Seafood, the only place we get fresh seafood. In this recipe, Halibut or Cod can be used. We personally prefer Alaskan Halibut because it has a delicate, melt-in-your-mouth tender texture and has a mildly sweet flavor. One thing we enjoy most is the lack of fishy smell and taste from all the fish we get at Vital Choice, they are superior to all others we’ve tried. Our favorite pick is their Wild Pacific Seafood Medley (yes, it includes the Alaskan Halibut).
Tip: This recipe works well with cod or halibut, and with most any dried fruit.
Prep Time 10 min / Cooking Time 10 min
Cherry-Balsamic Halibut Recipe
1/4 cup dried organic tart cherries (we get these are Vital Choice too, amazing quality!)
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion
1/4 cup organic white balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons toasted pine nuts
4 Alaskan cod or halibut fillets (4 to 6 oz each), thawed
Sea salt and organic pepper, to taste
Combine dried fruit, onion, and balsamic vinegar in a small microwaveable bowl. Cover and microwave on medium setting for 1 minute. (Or, heat ingredients in a small saucepan until very warm but not hot, and no more.) Remove from microwave (or saucepan) and stir in pine nuts; let sit, covered, while fish is cooking.
Fill a 12-inch skillet with water to a depth of 1-inch and bring to a boil. Rinse fish under cold water; place fillets in steamer basket. Season with salt and pepper.
Turn off heat. Place steamer basket into skillet; return liquid to a boil. Cover loosely and cook 4 to 5 minutes. Cook just until fish is opaque throughout. Remove fillets to serving plates; top with fruit.
Serve with a spinach salad, rice pilaf, or whole wheat couscous.
A well-known Nurse’s Health Study found that women who ate fish once per week cut their risk of stroke by 22 percent, while those who ate fish five or more times per week cut their risk by 52 percent. Studies have also shown that 3 g per day of fish oil containing both EPA and DHA is cardioprotective because it makes platelets more slippery and decreases cellular inflammation. The evidence that the omega-3 fats in wild cold water fish are heart healthy is so compelling that the American Heart Association now recommends that all adults consume fish at least twice per week. Fatty cold-water fish such as wild Alaskan salmon contains the most omega-3 fats.
The benefits of eating fresh wild fish have been confirmed over and over again, and they continue to make headlines. A recent review of 97 clinical studies on the effects of lipid-lowering agents (statins, fibrates, resins, niacin, and fish oils) showed that fish oils provided the greatest reductions in total mortality and cardiac morbidity. See Top 8 Delicious Heart Healthy Foods.
Iso, H., et. al., 2001. Intake of fish and omega-3 fatty acids and risk of stroke in women, JAMA, 285(3):304–12.
Leaf, A., et al., 1988. Cardiovascular effect of n-3 fatty acids. NEJM, 318(9), 549–557; von Schaky, C., et al., 1999. The effect of dietary omega-3 fatty acids in coronary atherosclerosis: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Ann Internal Medicine, 130 (7), 554–562.
Studer, M., et. al., 2005. Effect of different antilipidemic agents and diets on mortality: a systematic review, Arch Intern Med, 165(7):725–30.
Wow! Vital Choice Seafood is having a sale during February, save 15 percent – be sure to use the code HAPPYHEART12 when checking out to save 15% off your order of; seafood, salmon sausage and burgers, oils and vinegar, soups and meal kits, nuts and dried fruits, wild berries and vegetables! And they even have Salmon Skin dog chew treats!
We discovered Vital Choice Seafood about six years ago and I’m glad we did! Many years prior to then I had stopped buying seafood because the quality was so bad, in my mind, there’s nothing worse than low quality food – and there’s so much of it around today! There are also many studies (delay dementia and preserve memory) on the benefits of wild seafood which gives us more reason to include it in our diets Needless to say, we’ve been buying all of our seafood from Vital Choice ever since. We usually get the sampler called ‘Wild Pacific Seafood Medley’ (#FSA002), this sampler includes: Sockeye Salmon, King Salmon, Sockeye Burger, Hot-Smoked Sockeye, Pacific Albacore Tuna, Alaska Halibut, Smoked Sablefish, Wild Organic Blueberries (everything is fresh frozen, not canned).
This is the same seafood company that both Christiane Northrup, M.D. and Dr. Andrew Weil recommend buying your seafood from – I agree with them entirely!
Below is one of our favorite recipes and links to others… Bon Appetit!
Pasta/Bean Soup with Smoked Sablefish (or Salmon)
The combined cook and prep time is about 30 minutes
3 tablespoons organic extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon organic cayenne pepper (we like fresh grated)
Leaves from one sprig fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon chopped organic rosemary)
Heat a large saucepan to medium, and add the oil, garlic, cayenne, rosemary leaves, and onion. Sauté onion about 8 minutes (do not burn). Add the beans and broth, bring to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes.
Transfer half of the soup to a blender or food processor. Pulse until the soup is chunky smooth, return to the saucepan and stir well.
Add the pasta and return the soup to a simmer.
Break the Sablefish (or Salmon) into bite-size chunks, discarding any bones. Add the fish to the soup and simmer until the pasta is cooked and the fish is heated through, about 5 minutes.
Fresh Sablefish is one of our favorites, its amazing rich flavor (not fishy!) stems from the ample body fat that Sablefish accumulate to survive frigid, deep-water environments.
Sablefish is very high in omega-3s, with each 4 oz portion averaging a whopping 1.6 grams—more than most wild Salmon!
The “oven-ready” 4-oz portions are NOT cooked fully by the smoking process. They will cook through in 6-7 minutes using medium-high heat. No nitrites or artificial additives or preservatives. Certified sustainably harvested
Alaskan Sablefish (Black Cod)
Alaskan Sablefish is highly prized overseas, and the vast majority of the harvest is exported, making it a relative rarity in domestic markets. These fillets are lean, low-calorie fillet portions, firm and fully moist, with a large flake. The delicate, slightly sweet flavor of Pacific cod harmonizes with a wide array of sauces, seasonings and recipes. Strict official oversight combines with this species’ natural fecundity to keep Alaska’s certified-sustainable Pacific cod fishery an abundant resource.
We have found the best fresh wild fish to come from Vital Choice Seafood, we have enjoyed their wild caught fish for years. Never soggy or mushy, never fishy-smelling, we are proud to represent Vital Choice Seafood on our site – Bon Appetit!
Sablefish with Shallot Vinaigrette and Herb Salad
6 (4 oz each) Alaskan Sablefish fillets (smoked or regular)
Vinaigrette ingredients for Sablefish and Herb Salad
6 tablespoons organic extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup minced shallots
2 TBSP fresh organic lemon juice
1 TBSP organic balsamic vinegar
1 TBSP mellow white miso
2 teaspoons (packed) grated organic lemon peel
Sea salt and organic black pepper to taste
Herb salad ingredients
2 cups each Italian parsley, basil, dill, and arugula or nasturtiums
1 cup mesclun salad mix or arugula
Blend vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl. Mix Herb Salad ingredients in a large bowl.
Sprinkle sablefish fillets with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook fish until just opaque in center, 3-4 minutes per side.
Arrange fish on plates and pour 1 tablespoon vinaigrette over each. Toss salad with remaining vinaigrette and serve with fish.
A kabob is simply pieces of meat (usually cut into 1 or 2 inch size pieces), vegetables or fruit threaded on skewers, which are then grilled or broiled. All pieces are cut about the same size before being put on the skewers, this helps them to cook evenly. You will need to keep an eye on kabobs while cooking because it doesn’t take long for them to cook, they’ll need to be rotated often. During cooking, you can brush the kabobs with any remaining marinade, you will have to discard any leftover marinade because it will not keep well due to its exposure to raw meat.
The Purposes and Value of Marinades
Marinades are nifty sauces that perform two functions:
They add tantalizing flavors, and
They tenderize grilled or broiled meats and chicken
Marinades are sauces in which meat is soaked to soften and flavor it. Marinades are marvelous for turning an ordinary steak or breast of chicken into an extraordinary flavorful meal.
Herbs and spices are combined with tenderizing ingredients such as lemon juice or vinegar to give the marinade its hearty and robust flavor.
Tenderizing tough cuts of meat is a different story. The role of the acid, in a marinade, is to “break-down” the long protein strands—the part of the meat that causes it to be tough.
A good marinade for tenderizing has an acidic base like vinegar. Some other good acidic bases are: fruit juice, milk, buttermilk and wine may also serve as a marinade’s base. A nice vinaigrette penetrates meat fibers particularly well, as in the recipe below.
The addition of olive oil in the marinade helps the acidic properties penetrate deeper into the meat making it even more tender.
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
1 small red or green bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small purple onion, sliced into 1-inch pieces
1 (8-ounce) package whole button mushrooms, or Portobella mushrooms cut into 1′ pieces
If using wooden skewers, soak in water to cover 30 minutes.
In a medium bowl, combine 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt and pepper. Place beef in a resealable plastic bag or large shallow dish. Pour balsamic mixture over steak, tossing gently. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours (up to 8 hours or overnight).
Preheat grill to medium-high heat (350F to 400F).
Remove beef from marinade and thread steak, bell peppers, onions and mushrooms alternately onto skewers, leaving a 1/4-inch between pieces. Drizzle kabobs with remaining 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar.
Grill kabobs, covered with grill lid, 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Serve immediately.
This chocolate truffle recipe is so easy and delicious. I’ve always found that using the best quality ingredients, particularly chocolate, makes a world of difference in the flavor, at the bottom of this post you’ll find links to get the best.
These chocolate truffles are a terrific treat to make for yourself, a host gift, a pot luck, holiday gifts, Valentine’s Day gifts, or any for special occasion.
You will need:
1 pack (12 oz.) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (see below links to buy excellent quality chocolate)
1/2 cup Bittersweet Chocolate Chips (see below links to buy excellent quality chocolate)
1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
5 TBSP Unsalted Sweet Cream Butter (softened)
1/4 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Raw Cocoa Powder or Cinnamon Powder (used for rolling/dusting your Truffles)
Optional Flavoring for your Chocolate Truffles (Lavender, Orange, Tangerine, or Peppermint)
Put 20-30 drops of your choice of Young Living Essential Oil – choose Lavender, Orange, Tangerine or Peppermint (the amount of essential oil can be adjusted to your taste preferences. I use and only recommend this bran of essential oil as it is food-grade, do not substitute for other brands because most are not edible!)
Combine semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolate together in a deep sided medium sized mixing bowl and set aside.
Heat whipping cream until almost boiling – Do not boil or scorch your cream! After cream is heated to very hot, slowly pour over semi-sweet and bittersweet chips. Let stand for a few minutes so chips will soften.
Once chocolate has melted, stir well until uniform and well blended.
In a small bowl, whip butter, and sugar.
Optional: Add your desired choice of Young Living Essential Oil. Tip: start by only using 20 drops of essential oil, you can add more later if you would like a stronger flavor.
Add butter / essential oil mixture to the chocolate chip / cream mixture and beat on medium speed using an electric hand mixer until sooth and creamy.
Taste to see if you want to add a few more drops of essential oil.
Set bowl into fridge for about 45 minutes to allow chocolate to firm up.
After chocolate has firmed, remove from fridge and form into small balls by using a melon baller or teaspoon. Place chocolate balls on a wax paper lined cookie sheet. To make chocolate balls more uniform, roll between palms and place back onto wax paper.
Dusting: Take each chocolate ball and roll into your small dish of cocoa powder or cinnamon powder.
Allow chocolate truffles to finish cooling.
Makes about 35 – 1 inch round yummy Chocolate truffles.
Where to get high quality chocolate ingredients for this recipe:
Curt and I love fresh fish! We also get all of our fresh fish from Vital Choice Seafood, they have the best quality we’ve found anywhere. This recipe contains two of our most favorite ingredients, thyme and sablefish! Sablefish is very high in omega-3s, each 4 oz portion averaging 1.6 grams—more than most wild Salmon!
Prep Time 25 minutes; Cook Time 30 minutes; Serves 8
3 large red onions, peeled, halved, and sliced from root to tip
3/4 cup dry white wine or vermouth
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons coarsely chopped thyme leaves
1-1/2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
For the Crust
3/4 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs) or fresh bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 Tablespoon chopped thyme leaves
3 Tablespoons melted butter
Remove any bones that may remain in the fillets and cut the fish into 8 equal portions. Mix the soy sauce and sugar in a re-sealable plastic bag and add the fillets. Seal the bag and turn it several times to evenly distribute the marinade; refrigerate for at least 4 hours (24 hours maximum).
Meanwhile, make the braised red onions:
Cook the bacon in a large saucepan until it renders and begins to crisp. Pour off half the fat. Add the red onions to the pan along with the wine, soy sauce, thyme, brown sugar and vinegar.
Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid boils away and the onions are tender, about 15 minutes.
The onions can be refrigerated until you are ready to bake the fish.
Toss the panko or bread crumbs with the parsley, thyme and melted butter in a mixing bowl.
When ready to assemble, preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Reheat the braised onions in a saucepan and spread them out in a large shallow baking dish. Lift the fish fillets from the marinade and arrange them on top of the onions, skinned side down.
Top each fillet with an even coating of the crust mixture, gently patting it on with your fingertips.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or just until the fish flakes apart slightly when nudged with your finger and the interior is no longer translucent.
Turn the broiler to high and broil until the crust is golden brown. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Serve with mashed or roasted winter squash, or braised winter kale.
I’m not sure how I came up with this recipe years ago. All I remember is that we had some ground lamb and we felt like having meat loaf. I need to point out that the best flavor results come when grass-raised meat is used, we get ours from US Wellness Meats. Don’t let the simplicity of this recipe fool you, it’s amazing and is so tasty that it makes my mouth water just writing this!
You will need:
1 pound ground Lamb
1 cup homemade bread crumbs or crushed crackers
1/2 onion, diced
optional: 1 tomato, diced
Put egg into a large bowl with the bread crumbs, mix together well with a fork. Add onions and lamb, mix together (tip: I do not mix well because I don’t care for the texture when it is over-mixed). Add fresh tomato now if you like.
Pour the mixture in the bowl into a baking pan and form into a nice loaf shape.
Bake at 325*F for 50-55 minutes. Remove pan from oven and let rest for 5 minutes, slice, serve and enjoy!
Fun Fact: When we cook with grass-raised meats we do not drain off any of the fat. Grass-raised animals tend to be less fatty and because they are grass-rasied they are literally a different animal. Meaning that when animals are allowed to eat their ‘natural’ diet the nutritional content is vastly different than conventionally-raised and even organically-raised meats. Grass-raised animal meats go way beyond organic meats (see Organic Certification: is it all it’s cracked up to be?) and have a proper ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, these ARE good for us to eat! Many don’t realize that conventional meat and even organic meats; the animals never get to eat their natural diet, as such the meat we eat from them is extremely unbalanced and unhealthy. Thus, we happily eat the fat too, just the way Mother Nature intended us to eat!
• It takes roughly a millennium to build an inch or two of soil.
• It takes less than 40 years, on average, to strip an inch of soil by farming in ways that are more focused on current yield than on sustaining fertility.
• A third of America’s topsoil has eroded since 1776.
In the 1970s, the United States lost 4 billion tons of soil per year.
• Roughly a third of all farmland in the world has been degraded since World War II, with annual soil erosion worldwide equivalent to the loss of 12 million hectares of arable land, or 1 percent of total arable land.
• About a third of China’s 130 million hectares of farmland is seriously eroded, and Chinese crop yields fell by more than 10 percent from 1999 to 2003, despite increasing application of synthetic fertilizers.
The Gunnison Sage-Grouse is a spectacular but declining bird of the western sagebrush. It is restricted to seven isolated locations in Colorado and one tiny population in Utah. In early 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service placed it under consideration for listing under the Endangered Species Act. The males have an extravagant spring display in which they puff out their bodies, fan their tails into a starburst, and make low, gurgling sounds with bizarre frog-like air sacs in their chests.
WHERE THE TREES ARE
Amount of biomass (organic carbon) stored in trees across the U.S., dark green areas the most robust forest growth.
“Soil is not usually lost in slabs or heaps of magnificent tonnage. It is lost a little at a time over millions of acres by careless acts of millions of people. It cannot be solved by heroic feats of gigantic technology, but only by millions of small acts and restraints.” ~ Wendell Berry
“Has it ever occurred to you that beauty depends on something being identified as ugly? Therefore, the idea of beauty produces the idea of ugliness, and vice versa.” ~ Wayne Dyer
“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
“I long to accomplish a great and noble task; but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.” ~ Helen Keller