Posts Tagged ‘history’


First Promotional Video

   Posted by: anj68    in News, Website

After years of being asked what I do, I created a video from the photographs supplied by my fans.  They are each recognized for their kindness at the end of the video and I received written permission from the band, Misplaced, to use “Tell My Ma” for this video.  Please be kind with the comments, I am a cook and not a videographer. 

Thank you all for your continued support.  I look forward to seeing many of you in 2013.

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Rosemary Health Benefits

   Posted by: anj68    in Hints, history

In ancient times, Rosemary was used to relieve abdominal pain, gout, insomnia, and for the calming nerves. People would burn rosemary branches on the altars of the gods, considering it a sacred herb and the Egyptians placed the herb in pharaohs’ tombs. The custom of burning rosemary branches was practiced in hospitals in France until the 20th century – and used for cleaning the air. Also because of its antiseptic effect, the plant was appreciated and used for conserving meat, even in extremely hot weather – it was known that rosemary prevents and delays the decay of meat.

Rosemary in known as an analgesic, antiseptic, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, expectorant, antiviral, aphrodisiac, and disinfectant while stimulating bile secretion and helping eliminate it in the intestines, destroying microorganisms, increasing the quantity of eliminated urine, improving the blood flow and refreshing and energizing the mind. Rosemary helps as a memory stimulant and has calming effects by working against fatigue, sadness, anxiety, calming muscle soreness, digestive pains and also, indigestion caused by stress.

Rosemary improves digestion, fights against obesity, liver diseases, gastritis, hyper or hypocholesterolemia, bronchic asthma, edemas, and adjusts fast heart beats caused especially by irritability, coffee or tobacco excess. Because of its antiseptic and tonic properties, rosemary is extremely beneficial in cases of fainting, influenza, hangovers, asthma, bronchitis, cramps, constipation, cystitis, headaches, polypus, colds, cough, sinusitis or muscular pains. The plant also has a good influence on the blood circulation and blood pressure.

SOURCES:,,, and

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Making your own yeast for bread

   Posted by: anj68    in recipe, Vegetarian

Looking forward to the upcoming weekends are the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, we will be bringing a lot of period bread recipes to the festival.  Unlike modern bread making, they did not go to the store to buy prepackaged yeast, they would have to either make their own, or find someone who has.

Below are two ways that I know of making yeast from scratch and preparing it for bread.  This is not something that grows in a couple of hours.  It takes days, if not weeks, to grow yeast. I hope you enjoy these techniques.

  • At the turn of the 20th century, yeast was made from boiling grated potatoes with a little sugar and salt until it became translucent. A cup of the old yeast was added to make it ferment faster. This yeast mixture was set on the back of the stove to ferment. It would keep for 2 or 3 days before going sour. The mixture would be the yeast that would be used for breads.  When more was needed, bakers would add a cup of the “old yeast” to a new potato and sugar mixture.


  • Combine 1/2 cup unflavored yogurt and two tbsp of flour in a clean bowl. Cover and allow resting for 24 hours.  Remove any liquid that develops over the yeast.  Add two tablespoons flour and two tbsp water and stir every morning for a week. If too much starter grows, throw away half and replace it with an equal volume of the flour and water mixture.  If bubbles develop, begin feeding the yeast every six hours with the flour and water mixture. Continue to pour off any water.   Feed the yeast about an hour before you plan to use.

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Natural Dyes for Easter Eggs

   Posted by: anj68    in Hints, history, kids

This is a re-release of an earlier story on making natural dyes for Easter eggs. Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

History of “Easter” eggs:
The ancient Zoroastrians painted eggs for Nowrooz, their New Year celebration, which falls on the Spring equinox. The Nawrooz tradition has existed for at least 2,500 years. The sculptures on the walls of Persepolis show people carrying eggs for Nowrooz to the king. (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

At the Jewish Passover Seder, a hard-boiled egg dipped in salt water symbolizes the festival sacrifice offered at the Temple in Jerusalem.

There are good grounds for the association between hares (later termed Easter bunnies) and eggs, through folklore confusion between hares’ forms (where they raise their young) and plovers’ nests.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Final weekend approached us very quickly and we cooked up several dishes.  All unique and very tasty.  People were surprised at the variety of ingredients we used.  This recipe is the first of four recipes we did this past weekend.  I will post each recipe separately. 


Oxtail Soup

Oxtail dishes are found across cultures.  From Northern Europe, across the British Isles, Ottoman Empire, Mediterranean, Arabic, and Far Eastern cultures have all used oxtail in a variety of dishes.  Some dishes were primarily delicacies, but secondarily offered homeopathic cures to various ailments including back and hip pain.

 The Chinese added shredded cabbage mushrooms, and carrots, among other vegetables to provide a heart stew.  Arabic and Mediterranean cultures added tomatoes and chickpeas, while European cultures, including Italy even added wine or brandy to the dish during the post-Restoration period. 

Oxtails were once inexpensive, but with their increased use in many cuisines, the price of oxtails has become expensive.  Asian grocery stores offer oxtails at about a third of the cost of main stream grocery stores. 

Oxtail Soup, made at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival 10/02/11

This is a favorite among my male friends as oxtails, when cooked properly, can take on a prime rib flavor and texture.  This particular dish, was cooked over an open fire in a cast iron Dutch oven. 

3 lbs of oxtails
1 lbs of beef shoulder soup bones.
2 lbs red potatoes, thinly sliced
3 parsnips, peeled and shredded
1 lbs of leeks, cut into rings
3 sprigs of rosemary
1/4 cup of butter or oil
2 lbs carrots, thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small can of tomato paste (optional)
Kosher or sea salt
Black pepper

Begin preparing the dish by adding the beef shoulder bones in a large pot with enough water to cover the bones and add 1 tsp of sea or kosher salt.  Bring items to a boil for a half an hour.  Remove and dispose of the bones and reserve the broth. 

Heat oil or melt butter in a different soup pot.  Once heated, add the oxtails to brown and slowly add the leeks and garlic; continuing to cook. Once browned, add enough of the new broth to cover the cover the oxtails by an additional 3 inches, water may be added to increase the amount of liquid.  At this moment, one may add optional tomato paste.  Let cook for 1 hour and stir occasionally.  After an hour, remove the soup bones, but leave in the oxtails.  Begin adding the potatoes, carrots and rosemary.  Cook for an additional 20 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.  

This dish is very rich and if one’s constitution prefers a less rich version, one may choose to put the soup in a cooler and remove the excess fat from the top before reheating.  Add additional salt and pepper to taste.  

Serves 6-8.

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