"As for rosemary, I let it run all over my garden walls, not only because my bees love it but because it is the herb sacred to remembrance and to friendship, whence a sprig of it hath a dumb language."
Sir Thomas More
Rosemary holds a special place in my heart, perhaps because I graduated from Rosemary Hall, or maybe because it is such a beautiful, versatile herb.
A native Mediterranean herb, Rosemary was worn by ancient Greeks to improve memory. Just picture Socrates’ and Plato’s students, cramming for exams, with wreaths of rosemary around their heads and necks.
The wonderful smell of rosemary is often associated with good food and great times. But it could just as easily be associated with good health. Rosemary contains substances that are useful for stimulating the immune system, increasing circulation, and improving digestion. Rosemary also contains anti-inflammatory compounds that may make it useful for reducing the severity of asthma attacks. In addition, rosemary has been shown to increase the blood flow to the head and brain, improving concentration. Maybe the Greeks were on to something!
According to my mystery’s white witch, Felicity, for magical use, burn rosemary to rid a home of negative energy, or as an incense while you meditate. Hang bundles on your front door to keep harmful people, like burglars, from entering, or mix with juniper berries and burn in a sickroom to promote healthy recovery. In spellwork, rosemary can be used as a substitute for other herbs such as frankincense.
Whenever possible, choose fresh rosemary over dried. It’s simple to grow in your garden or window, and lasts a long time. It’s a gorgeous ornamental to add to container gardens, as well.
Buttermilk Rosemary Bread
1 1/2 Packages Active Dry Yeast
1 cup Warm Water -- 105-115 degrees F.
1 cup Cultured Buttermilk
1/3 cup Olive Oil
1/4 cup Fresh Rosemary Leaves -- finely chopped
4 tsp Salt
6 3/4 cups All-Purpose Flour
Yellow Cornmeal -- for baking sheets
Coarse Salt -- for sprinkling
In the bowl of an electric mixer stir yeast into warm water and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add buttermilk, oil, rosemary and salt and mix until blended well. Add flour gradually, beating slowly until incorporated, and with a dough hook, knead dough on low speed for 3 minutes. Transfer dough to a floured surface and knead by hand until smooth and elastic, about 2 minutes. Put dough in an oiled bowl, turning to coat with oil, and let rise, covered with plastic wrap, in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
On a floured surface turn dough out and cut in half. Shape each half into a round and put on an oiled baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover loaves with a dampened towel and let rise 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
With a serrated knife, gently cut surface of loaves in the shape of a large asterisk and sprinkle tops with coarse salt. Bake loaves in middle of oven, spraying oven occasionally with water during first 15 minutes, until golden brown and bottoms sound hollow when tapped, about 55 minutes. Transfer loaves to rack to cool completely.
"Where Rosemary flourished, the woman ruled."