Monday, August 30, 2010

Straight Buzz From The Hive

It could be that the bees pollinating my veggies are trying to communicate telepathically with me. I don't know what it is, but it seems all I have been reading lately are tips about bees or honey. Since I'm long overdue at posting here, I thought I'd share a few with you.

One thing I read was that a simple spoonful of honey could substitute for cough syrup. Since I am in the midst of a miserable summer cold right now, I thought I would test this one out. I ran out of cough syrup last night, and every time I lay down to sleep I would get that tickle in the back of my throat and start coughing. After awhile, I threw back the covers in frustration and made my way to the kitchen. Plundering my collection of honey packets from cups of restaurant tea (I never use the packets when I'm out because they make my fingers all sticky) I found a couple and ripped them open. I squeezed a couple directly into the back of my throat. This did relieve the tickle long enough to let me drift off to sleep. Would it work for a really bad cough? Probably not. Would the effects be terribly long lasting? Not likely. Could honey substitute for cough syrup in a pinch? Sure!

This brings me to my second tip. Honey is also a natural antiseptic. Try it out on those summer cuts and scrapes! People swore by it before Neosporin was invented! Researchers have even found one type of honey (Manuka) to be effective in treating some MRSA infections.

I had never heard this tip before the other day. Someone said their doctor recommended taping a penny to a bee sting. The copper would make the swelling go down and neutralize the reaction. There were several people that claimed to have tried this with success. Since I don't relish the thought of deliberately going out and getting stung to test this one out, one of you will have to let me know if this works. I can't wait to hear (not that I'm wishing a bee sting on you)!

One fun fact: honey is the only food that never spoils!  Fruit has been found in Egyptian tombs, preserved in honey, which is edible today.  Hope you find these tips to be the bee's knees! At least one of them ought to come in handy at some point if your house is anything like mine.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Not Just For Peasants Anymore

Now that summer is in full swing, many of you gardeners will be up to your sunhats in tomatoes and fresh basil. What to do with this sun-induced surplus? Make Bruschetta!

As far back as the 15th century, peasants were enjoying this delectable appetizer. Today, it holds much more wide-spread appeal. Pronounced (brus'ketta), the name comes from a Roman word meaning "to roast over coals", as the bread was originally roasted over the fire before being topped with the other ingredients.

There are many variations in preparation. The most common is toasted bread, rubbed with garlic and topped with tomatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper, and fresh basil. Less common versions include red peppers, olives or other vegetables, meat, beans or cheese. Typically, you use a crusty round of bread, such as a sliced baguette. Quality extra virgin olive oil tastes the best.

When I had a bigger garden, this was my go-to dish for family July 4th celebrations. It was enjoyed without fail by relatives of all ages. Now I make it in much smaller batches just for us, since my container garden isn't up to those quantities!

I hope you enjoy this recipe. It goes particularly well with a glass of wine! Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Chianti, and Sangiovese are excellent paired with Bruschetta. If you prefer a sparkling wine, try Prosecco. Let me know how you like it!