Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Jewelweed by Amy Tudor

The time came to try our hands at making a Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) tincture for bug bites and other skin irritations.  The magical forest we live in extends its reach to exclude poison ivy from growing here.  But if it grew here, this recipe would be good for poison ivy bites too.  Like many of the most enjoyable projects, this one came on its own.  We noticed. And we followed it. 

Ellie's course found her cutting jewelweed into smaller pieces.  I suspect it was the satisfying sound that led her on.  She was determined to cut the entire mound of jewelweed that we'd softly taken out of the perennial garden.  Jewelweed and I have an understanding that though I remove some, we always  touch the seed pods to send them on their bouncing way. With the newly thrown seeds, we rely on Jewelweed always being here.  Tasha never minded it either.  Her voice plays in my head "It comes out readily enough." 

We debated if the color was light orange or deep orange like the recipe desired.  We rolled it along longer, not a angry boil like the recipe said, but more of a coaxing. I remember my brothers, both older and younger, being jarred into wakefulness during the teenage years.  I hardly think herbs enjoy that anymore than people do.

The children had moved on to different pursuits, jewelweed project forgotten. Once the brew cooled to a reasonable temperature, or as two-year-old Kate says "just warm," I tempted them back with the prospect of more pans and a strainer.

After the first strain, the children, as children do, took straining to a new level never before seen in herbal circles, but often seen in children circles. Back and forth, back and forth.  Their beings absorbed all.  They were utterly focused.

After a night in the freezer, or as Tasha preferred to say, in the icebox, we pulled out the miniature cubes, placed them in bags and Katie enjoyed editing my labeling with her own writing.

 Short of sitting outside in wet places at dawn or dusk, we might actually be eagerly awaiting the next mosquito bite. 

Jewelweed…we thank you.   We'll let you know how the tincture soothes as soon as we have the occasion. 

~Amy Tudor

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Lemon Chess Pie by Jen

Welcome to the Receipt* section of our website.  Food is such a very important part of life and it is more than just nourishment for our bodies, it is food for our minds and beauty to our eyes.  Tasha Tudor (my Granny) spent many hours teaching me to pull taffy, decorate gingerbread, make peppermints and of course, make the perfect cup of tea. I have so many fond and delicious memories that I felt it was time to share some of my favorite recipes with you.  Email me with any questions, I always enjoy hearing from other cooks! *Receipt is the old spelling of 'recipe' and was always used by Tasha Tudor.

Lemon Chess Pie 

Easter is on its way, even  though the snow is trying its best to halt the progress of spring here in VT.  Easter is another favorite holiday of mine that includes baking and decorating and traditions that carry on through the years.
Rabbits, chicks, violets, daffodils, tulips, chocolate bunnies, marshmallow eggs. Oh boy.  I still have decorated goose eggs from my childhood that I treasure and a collection of vintage collectibles for the table to highlight the children's easter baskets.

I start collecting items to "assist" the Easter Bunny months ahead of time. 
Easter food is lemon and meringue, hot cross buns, ham, asparagus and so many more delightful flavors including this Buttermilk Lemon Chess Pie. 
Chess pie is a traditional southern dish, a very simple pie not a custard but is compared to a cheese-less cheesecake! This lemon version is made with buttermilk and is a simple and delightful end to a Easter brunch or dinner. 

Next recipe to be posted online is a Pavlova. Granny was known for being able to make meringues without a mixer! We would eat the crispy sweet confections
with fresh fruit and custard. I'm still in awe, I couldn't do  it without my Kitchen Aid!

For the crust:
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
1/4 tsp fine salt
3 to 4 tbs ice water
5 tbs unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 cup shortening, chilled
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
For the filling:
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tbs all purpose flour
1/2 tsp fine salt
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
4 large eggs, at room temperature
4 large egg yolks, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
8 tbs unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
For the crust: whisk the flour and salt in a large bowl until combined. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut the butter and shortening into the flour mixture until pea-size pieces, about 3 to 4 minutes Drizzle in 3 tablespoons of the ice water and the lemon juice and mix just until the dough comes together. (Add the last tablespoon of ice water if the dough is too dry, but don't overwork the dough.) Form the dough into a flat disk. Wrap it and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  Lightly flour a work surface and roll the dough out.  Line a 9-inch pie plate with the dough, fold the excess under itself, and crimp the edges. Refrigerate the pie crust until ready to bake. 
for the filling: Heat the oven to 350 degrees F and arrange a rack at the lowest level. Place the pie plate on a baking sheet. Whisk the sugar, flours, and salt together in a large bowl.  Add the buttermilk, eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla and whisk until smooth.  Add the melted butter and lemon zest and whisk until smooth.  Pour the mixture into the pie plate.  Bake until the filling is just set in the middle and the top is golden brown, about 55 to 65 minutes.  Place the pie on a wire rack and let it cool to room temperature before cutting.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Join us for Tasha Tudor Day, August 28th

August 28th, 2014 is Tasha Tudor Day, or what would have been Tasha's 99th birthday. We like to celebrate by having a quiet tea time with Tasha's favorite tea and goodies, savoring the memories of time together, reflecting on what Tasha would think of the new grandchildren and dogs, what she would have said about the weather. We might pick up a craft in honor of Tasha, bake a special pie or cake, pick beries or can jam with loved ones...whatever fills our hearts with a sense of Tasha.

We invite you to join us!

If you'd like to join us in blogging about what you are doing to take a moment to celebrate Tasha Tudor's memory on her birthday, this Thursday, August 28th, you're invited to use this blog button on your post. Simply copy/paste the code in the box below and add it as an "html gadget" to your blog's sidebar or paste the code into the "html" editor of your blog post. 

Tasha Tudor Day 2014

There is also a small version you can put in your sidebar. Here is that image:

Tasha Tudor Day 2014

We are also making this our first-ever link-up. If you have written a blog post to honor Tasha or share your memories of her on this special day, we invite you to share it with other readers by linking up here (you can hit "Click Here to Enter" and the prompts will show you how to share your blog post).

Happy Birthday, Tasha, we love you!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


We've had a lot of cold, rainy days this summer. It's been quite astonishing, really, in stark contrast to the heat of last summer.  

Then again we have had many beautiful days, sunny, 75 and perfectly pleasant. On days like this it's a shame to be inside, so we take reading outside, work outside, the children and animals outside. We take lemonade and watermelon and iced tea out on the porch. We tell stories outside, laugh, run, swim, pick berries. 

We make hay while the sun shines, as they say (even though we don't make hay these days, Tasha has depicted it in the classic scene above, available as a print here). 

It has been so chilly on our mountain that we haven't even had to take the violas out of the windowboxes. They bloom happily in profusion, enjoying the blissful respite from heat. But the more showy stars of the garden haven't abandoned us, and they, too, bloom contentedly.

They always say that a flower doesn't look around it to see how tall or how high or how colorfully another flower is blooming, it simply blooms. And so we should as well, bloom of our own accord and to our own fancy.  A whole field of flowers, each blooming individually, being the best it can be, is an awe-inspiring sight, to be sure.

The corgis have gotten up to some mischief while we've been outside. I return to the Rookery daily to find them in new predicaments. As you can see, Freddie got stuck in the flowerpot by Seth's candle boxes

Then there are the more serious corgis, who supervise to make sure the new soaps are packaged perfectly for you. We have a fresh batch of all of our scents and they make great gifts or little luxuries for a gardener in your life whose hands could use a little soothing.

We start with a whole table full of empty boxes.

And add some comfy bedding for the goats and roosters and nests for the hummingbirds...

Finally, we nestle the freshly cured goat's milk soaps in the boxes, safe for their journeys to their new homes. A fresh bar of soap is such a pleasure. Get yours here before this batch sells out.

Enjoy the last few weeks of summer.
Are you excited for autumn?

Story and photographs by Natalie Wise

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

July 2014 Tea Story by Winslow Tudor

A hot, humid, sunny, windless July day invariably brought an extra degree of happiness to Tasha, especially if she was gardening. By July the perfection of a June garden has mellowed into a green and pastel sprawl of perennials and annuals, some still in bloom but also preparing fruits and seeds. 

While the growing process of a garden at this stage is more subtle, it is no less gradual. Tasha pulled witch grass, goldenrod, chickweed and other garden invaders, as well as jewel weed, though not her special yellow bloosomed variety behind the house. Many of these weeds appeared vigorously after a heavy and sustained rain. She piled weeds on the grass paths throughout the day. 

In the afternoon she served tea, and from her old oak rocking chair on the front porch surveyed the pink blossoms of the beauty bush, the sea of roses and their light green leaves and the darker green of the pines to the south. “There is no purer pleasure than gardening,” she would say. After tea she and any visitors would gather the weed piles and deposit them on the compost. Then it was time to start supper.

Tasha possessed a quiet fondness for honey bees and Bumble Bees. The latter were her particular favorite, the large, slow, loud buzzing quintessential Bumble Bee. When one was immersed in a particularly compelling flower, she would very gently stroke its soft back with her right forefinger. She could tell the male from female by the ratio of its black and yellow coloration.

There are still plenty of Bumble Bees in Tasha’s garden; the Golden Northern Bumble Bee, the even larger American Bumble Bee, as well as the smaller Red-tailed Bumble Bee. Curiously enough, they live in her house, specifically, in the ventilation system beneath the roof of the north dormer on the main house.

After a section of damaged window trim had been measured, fitted and secured, distressed Bumble Bees began collecting along the top of the new board. Their home, food and baby bees had been sealed off! A half inch hole was bored through the new trim. The bees quickly located it, pushed out the extra wood chips, and carried on.

 For Tasha the only drawback to a hot, humid, sunny, calm July day was the occasional thunderstorm that evening. She worried her favorite pine tree at the end of the azalea garden woud be struck by lighting, or her house or barn. Through the many decades Tasha lived at her much-loved home in Vermont, however, her concerns never came to pass. After a thunderstorm she liked to quote Mark Twain: “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.”

Story and photos by Winslow Tudor

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Limited Edition Easter Eggs 2014

Our Limited Edition Easter Eggs are here! Marjorie Tudor has been lovingly crafted these Easter charms this winter, using out-of-print, specially imported trims to make each one a true treasure.

The eggs start out as a blank canvas for the artist, and Marjorie uses her artistic eye and the lovely, old-fashioned trims to create one-of-a-kind blown duck and goose eggs.

How darling are these eggs tucked into a little box, or hung on an Easter Tree?

Though each egg is different, they are all lovingly crafted and sure to delight the recipient.

Colonel Bunn agrees these eggs are special!

Happy Spring!
Natalie and Tasha Tudor and Family

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Spring is on its Way

We hope you had a great Valentine's Day and George Washington's Birthday! 

Now that we've enjoyed the February holidays, our attention tends to turn towards spring and Easter. 

The snow at the door of the greenhouse is dwindling. The sun his shining more often, the skies bluer.

Snowshoe and dog paths in the snow in Tasha Tudor's garden.

I love how, even in deep winter, you can still see the depression in the center of the herb circle where the Bay Tree normally sits. He keeps cozy in the greenhouse all winter, but you can see his presence is still missed and the circle waits for him, as we all wait for Spring. 

Keep your eyes peeled on our website for some spring cheer in the form of our collectible Easter Eggs for 2014. Coming soon!

Story and photographs by Natalie Wise