My Green Cauldron

Basil from the Garden

It’s harvest time here and the basil (Ocimum basilicum) is growing well. The sunny location in the garden has served them well. i really love the smell of basil, taking leaves from the plants is such an aromatic experience. Basil also makes a easy to grow windowsill herb, so you never have to be without fresh leaves.

Basil is an important herb on many levels, from magic to culinary to medicinal. it is one of my favorite garden herbs.  when it comes to food, basil is a well known ingredient. what spaghetti dish would be complete without it? there is a reason that basil is associated with pasta dishes. it helps digest the carbs of the pasta, it is also a big help for your digestive issues (gassiness, indegestion). i love eating tomatoes with basil, they go very well together. basil is also a helpful ally when you are down with the cold/flu. not only can it help break up the phlemgy/mucousy stuff, it also helps with fevers (it makes you sweat it out) it is definitely the tea you want/need when you need a little warmth and a sunny summer day.

garlic green beans

Serves 4

1-pound fresh green beans, trimmed and chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
4·cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes. Salt and pepper to taste

l. Boil green beans in water for just 3-4 minutes; do not overcook. Or steam for 4 -5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water.

2.Heat olive oil in a skillet with garlic, green beans, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring frequently, for S-4·minutes until garlic is soft.
3. Taste, and season lightly with salt and pepper.


Yarrow (Achillia millefolium)

millefolium means thousand leaved (Wood, 1997) (Buhner, 1998)

Family: Asteraceae


  • Woundwort
  • Known to Romans as Herba militari (Wood, 1997) (Kynes, 2016)
  • Solider’s wort (Wood, 1997)
  • Carpenter’s weed (Wood, 1997)
  • Milfoil, nosebleed (Tierra, 1998) (Kynes, 2016)
  • Yarroway (Naegele, 1980)
  • Noble Yarrow (Mercatante, 1976)
  • Thousand Leaf (Mercatante, 1976) (Kynes, 2016)
  • Lady’s Mantle (Mercatante, 1976)
  • Bloodwort (Kynes, 2016)
  • Devil’s Nettle, comes from the belief that this plant was dedicated to Satan (Kynes, 2016)


  • Flower-heads with 5 petal like rays, in flat top clusters. Leaves long and narrow, woolly, aromatic. 1-3 ft high
  • Flowers June-Sept (Peterson, 1977) (Naegele, 1980) (Smith, 1979)
  • Found on roadsides, fields (Peterson, 1977) (Naegele, 1980)
  • Leaves: alternate, pinnately compound, finely dissected, feather-like, 10-20 cm, green, aromatic (Naegele, 1980)
  • Flower type: white, ray flowers, in flat top corycomb which is 5-15 cm across summer-fall (Naegele, 1980)
  • Root is a taproot (Naegele, 1980)
  • Creeping underground root-stock (Smith, 1979)
  • Flowering stems usually simple below flowers, glabrous or cobwebby (covered with entangled hairs (Smith, 1979)


  • Bitter, pungent
  • Cold, dry
  • diaphoretic
  • emmenagogue

use when

  • Hot, dry, and constricted skin
  • Restlessness, wakefulness, delirium
  • Pulse full rapid and nonresistant


  • Found in Neanderthal’s graves (Gregg, 2014) 60,000 years ago in Iraq (Buhner, 1998)
  • Widely used and known herb
  • Used extensively in brewing in Europe and Scandinavia, known as jordhumle or earth hop (Buhner, 1998)


  • a cold and flu tea recipe (old gypsy formula) (Gladstar, 2008)
    • yarrow, peppermint, and elder
  • mensteal cramp relief formula (Gladstar, 2008) (Naegele, 1980)
    • 1 part each crampbark, pennyroyal leaf, yarrow. Peppermint to taste (Gladstar, 2008)
  • Cold and flu
    • Equal parts elder-flower, lemon balm yarrow and mint as tea (Tierra, 1998)

Parts used

  • Young leaves in the spring for the juices (Wood, 1997)
  • Stalks and mature leaves NOT used in medicines (Wood, 1997)
  • Flower tops


  •  Diving sticks made from stalks for the I Ching (Wood, 1997) (Kynes, 2016) (Riotte, 1975)
    • Keep with your amethyst to heighten their inner energies
  • Used in spells and charms and strewn across doorways to keep witches from entering households
  • Carry yarrow for protection from accidents (Wood, 1997)
  • Correspondences
    • with the winter solstice, December 20-23 (Gregg, 2014),
    • Zodiac, Cancer, Gemini
    • Aphrodite, Hermes, the Horned God and the hero Achilles
    • associated with Air and Water
    • associated with Venus and sometimes Jupiter
    • Ace of Wands
  • Add yarrow tea to bath to deepen your spiritual connection and expand you psychic awareness (Gregg, 2014)
  • Can heal spirit wounded by anger (Harding, 2008)
  • Engenders fidelity and longevity to marriage, leading to happiness and well-being  (Kynes, 2016)


  • Added to compost pile (Riotte, 1975)
  • Good in paths and borders, doesn’t mind getting walked on (Riotte, 1975)
  • Enhances the growth of essential oils in herbs (Riotte, 1975)

Kale Artichoke Dip

Kale artichoke dip
1 (14 ounce) can jar artichoke hearts, drained and chopped coarsely
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
1-2 clove(s) garlic, minced
1/2 tsp sea salt, or more to taste
8 cups finely chopped kale

  1. Preheat oven to 400″F.
  2. In a mixing bowl combine artichokes, cream cheese, yogurt, Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup of the
    mozzarella, garlic, salt and kale until completely mixed together.
  3. Pour into a baking dish or pie plate. Don’t worry the kale with reduce down as it bakes. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Stir and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until kale is cooked. Add remaining 1/2″ cup of mozzarella to the top and bake uncovered for 5 minutes.
  4. Serve with tortilla chips, cucumber slices, or stuff into baked potatoes.

Zucchini Spread

3 pounds zucchini, cut into a 1/2 inch cubes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butler
5 garlic cloves, gently smashed
5-6 springs of thyme
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4-5 turns of a pepper grinder.

Place a large. heavy skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and butter and allow them to melt together. Roughly chop the smashed garlic and add it to the pan. Add the zucchini cubes. Cook for 15-20 minutes. until the zucchini begun to soften. Strip the thyme leaves off their stems and add them to the pot.
Reduce the heat and continue to cook, stirring often. The goal is to melt the zucchini into a spreadable paste. The goal is to cook the liquid out of the zucchini and intensify the flavors without reducing it to total mush. If at any point, the zucchini starts to brown, add a splash of water (or white wine if you have an open bottle) and reduce the heat a bit more.
Total cooking time should Le right around an hour. Three pounds of zucchini typically yields around two cup) of spread.

Venetian Vegetable Stew

Venetian Vegetable Stew

Boiled Rice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium (1 1/2 pounds)
zucchini, well-scrubbed and
cut into inch cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium celery rib with leaves, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 cups frozen peas, rinsed under hot running water to separate
1/4.teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups Homemade vegetable Broth, vegetable bouillon, or canned broth
1 tablespoon chopped mint
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

  1. ln a large Dutch oven or flameproof casserole, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the zucchini, onion, celery, red pepper, and garlic. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 6 minutes. Uncover and increase the heat to high. Cook until the vegetables are lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add the peas, cover, and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Season with the salt and pepper.
  2. Sprinkle the vegetables with the flour and stir constantly for 1 minute. Stir in the broth and mint. Bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the sauce is thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the 1/2 cup grated Parmesan.
  3. Spoon the rice into individual soup bowls and top with the vegetables. Serve immediately. Pass additional Parmesan cheese on the side.

Venetian Vegetable Stew with fresh Peas: Use 2 cups fresh pens (from 2 pounds of pods) instead of frozen peas
Cook the peas in a saucepan of lightly salted boiling water over high heat until just tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Stir the cooked peas into the sauce after it has thickened. Cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.
Mixed Venetian Vegetable Stew with Pancetta: Before adding the vegetables in Step 1, cook 2 ounces (½ cup) chopped pancetta, prosciutto, or bacon in the oil until browned, about 5 minutes. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the oil in the pan. Instead of vegetable broth, use beef broth.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Paella Saute with Saffron

paella sauté with saffron

Can Be Cooked In Under 30 Minutes

Chicken-flavored Rice or Steamed Rice

3 ounces chorizo or other spicy smoked sausage, (tofu or tempeh?) diced

  1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 scallions, chopped

1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup thawed frozen peas

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled

1 1/2 cups Homemade Fish Stock                           

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper or freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

Hot pepper sauce

Chopped parsley, for garnish

1. In a large (12-inch) nonstick skillet, cook the chorizo with 2 tablespoons of water over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until he water evaporates and chorizo lightly browned, about 6 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the chorizo to paper towels to drain,

leaving U1e drippings in the skillet.

2.            Add the shrimp lo tile skillet and cook, stirring often, just until pink and firm, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside with the sausage.

3.            Add the oil to the skillet and heat over medium heat. Add the scallions, red pepper, and garlic. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Cook until the vegetables soften, about 4 minutes. Stir in the peas, oregano, and saffron.

4.            Ina small bowl, combine the fish stock, wine, and crushed red pepper. Whisk the cornstarch to dissolve. Stir into the skillet and bring to a simmer. Return the Shrimp and chorizo to the skillet, and cook until the sauce thickens and the shrimp and chorizo are heated through, about 1 minute. Season with salt and hot pepper sauce to taste.

5.            Spoon the rice into individual soup bowls and top with the shrimp, sausage, and sauce. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve immediately.


Chicken  Paella  Sauté:  Substitute  1 pounds boneless and skinless chicken breast, cut into strips 2 inches long and 1/4 inch thick, for the shrimp. Cook in the chorizo droppings in the skillet until lightly browned, about 5 minutes, then set aside with the chorizo. Continue with steps 3, 4, and 6.

 Makes 4 to 6 servings