Sunday, February 6, 2011

Spa Girl suggests a rosemary infused Valentine's Day!

 Most of you will know from reading my blogs that one of my favourite herbs for both cooking and a nice steamy bath is rosemary. A perfect herb for Valentine's Day, rosemary in many cultures has a long history of being an aphrodisiac--an aromatic herb with the ability to keep fidelity and love strong.

It is a beautiful fragrant evergreen shrub with needle-like leaves and a member of the mint family. Named by the 18th century naturalis t Carolus Linnaeus, rosemary now grown all over the world, is a native of the Mediterranean region. Its name comes from the Latin words Ros Marinus which means `dew of the sea`.

Rosemary is high in iron, calcium and Vitamin B6 and has a reputation for improving memory, stomach upsets, digestive disorders and headaches. When applied to the skin, as an essential oil, it helps strengthen the capillaries and rejuvenates the skin. It is a common ingredient used in many cosmetics, including skin toners, creams, soaps and hair products.

Recent research indicates this is remarkable herb, high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents (caffeic and rosemarinic acid) has the ability to help prevent cancer and age-related skin damage, improve liver function and act as a mild diuretic.

Rosemary Essential oil in the bath is extremely aromatic, stimulating and great for the skin. It can also prevent one from sleeping, so it is definitely not a bed time bath!

So this Valentines Day jump in the bath with a little Rosemary Essential Oil, then treat yourself to a romantic candle-light dinner.

Here are some aromatic suggestions for your Valentine's Day:

Rosemary for the Bath...

Gather enough rosemary to fill your Mason jar and strip the leaves from the stem. Let the leaves sit out in the open overnight. This allows the extra moisture that is in the plant to evaporate. Fill the Mason jar with the rosemary leaves, no more than 3 inches from the top of your jar. Cover the rosemary completely with your carrier oil. The oil should completely cover the leaves by at least an inch. Place this mixture into a double boiler and heat on very low heat for 3 to 4 hours. Watch it and don't let it burn. Strain the mixture and pour into a sterilized bottle with a tight fitting lid. Store in a cool place. Pour several tablespoons of oil into your bath and sit back and relax in the heavenly smell.

Cream of Cauliflower and Rosemary Soup...

Start to finish: 20 minutes
15 ml (1 tbsp) butter
1 shallot, chopped
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, finely minced
15 ml (1 tbsp) all-purpose flour
250 ml (1 cup) milk
125 ml (1/2 cup) heavy cream
340 g (12 oz) frozen cauliflower, thawed
2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt
1 ml (1/4 tsp) ground white pepper
Rosemary olive oil or other herbed oil, to drizzle

In a medium saucepan over medium-high, melt butter. Add shallot and rosemary and saute until shallot is tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add flour and stir to coat. Cook for another minute, then whisk in milk and cream. Add cauliflower, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until cauliflower is very soft and mixture has thickened.

Using an immersion blender or working in batches in a regular blender, puree mixture until very smooth. Adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper, if needed. Finish with a drizzle of rosemary oil. Makes 2 servings.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 756 calories; 291 calories from fat (38 per cent of total calories); 33 g fat (19 g saturated; 1 g trans fats); 81 mg cholesterol; 89 g carbohydrate; 29 g protein; 4 g fibre; 513 mg sodium.

Milk Chocolate Rosemary Pots de Creme...

Start to finish: 1 hour 40 minutes, plus chilling
250 ml (1 cup) heavy cream
50 ml (1/4 cup) milk
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
1 ml (1/4 tsp) orange zest
3 egg yolks
30 ml (2 tbsp) sugar
90 g (3 oz) milk chocolate bits
Whipped cream, to serve

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine cream, milk, rosemary and orange zest. Bring to a simmer, then turn off heat and cover. Allow mixture to steep for 30 minutes. Toward the end of steeping, heat oven to 160 C (325 F). Set 4 small ramekins (about 125 ml/4 oz each) inside a 23-cm (9-inch) square baking pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar. Turn on heat under cream mixture to medium. When liquid is just steaming, remove it from the heat. While continuously whisking egg mixture, dribble warm cream mixture very slowly and just a little at a time into egg yolks. Add milk chocolate and whisk until melted.

Using a fine mesh strainer, strain mixture into a liquid measuring cup with a pouring spout. Discard any solids. Carefully pour liquid into ramekins. Pour hot water into outer pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins, making sure not to get any water in ramekins. Place pan in oven and cover loosely with foil. Bake until set and the centres just barely jiggle, 55 to 65 minutes. Remove ramekins from water and chill until completely cold, at least 2 hours. Serve topped with a dollop of whipped cream. Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 436 calories; 312 calories from fat (72 per cent of total calories); 35 g fat (21 g saturated; 1 g trans fats); 264 mg cholesterol; 26 g carbohydrate; 5 g protein; 1 g fibre; 51 mg sodium.

All about Rosemary at

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