If you're thinking of trying out the basil remedy for cramps then you ought to consider growing your own basil plants. Much of the fresh basil found in grocery stores is a different variety, normally called sweet basil. Holy basil is native to Asia and is the familiar flavor found in Thai dishes. The name holy basil comes from the sacred status of the herb in Ayurvedic traditions; many researchers claim that holy basil has higher concentrations of the active ingredients. Look in the herb section at the nursery and examine the plant tags carefully, looking for the word holy or the Latin name, ocimum sanctum. Holy basil is available with red or green leaves that have jagged edges; other varieties have smooth-edged leaves. This stuff has a much more pungent aroma and flavor but there's no reason you can't use it in recipes that call for the regular kind. Try filling a big pot with a combination of red and green plants. Pinch off the flowers when they come up and you'll have leaves at least until the winter.
All the News That's Fit to Eat
Looking for a quiet place to sit and have a cup of tea? Hadley's Tea opened about a month ago at 7600 Jefferson NE, Suite 9 (near Café Voilà and Hello Deli!). Owner Linda Butler serves both hot and iced teas, and a dozen or so pastries from Le Chantilly. Butler's stock includes over 100 types of teas and though they're all for sale, she rotates a smaller selection through the tea menu so customers choose from a list of around 20 teas on any given day. Hadley's also serves chai from Anapurna chai house and one daily coffee selection. Butler used to own Linda's Antiques and Sweets, a small shop on "antique row" in Nob Hill. At Hadley's, she sells all sorts of tea accessories but not antiques. Stop by and check it out or call 821-4832 to inquire about the tea menu.
Know Your Ingredients
The Edible Landscape
Garlic flowers, known as scapes, spice up summer
The technical name for this beautiful and delectable apparatus is "scape." Such a harsh name—sounds more like an injury, or a disease, or misplaced blame—is a cruel injustice to the world of pleasure the name represents. That's why I refer to them as flowers, despite the fact that botanists advise otherwise. At least I'm not alone.
Good and Good For You
Fresh Basil as a Remedy for Menstrual Cramps
A chefs' trick with science behind it
Why does eating a handful of fresh basil seem to relieve menstrual cramps? Sounds crazy, yes, but it's true and (who knew?) there are actually several good scientific reasons why. Years ago, the sous chef of the hotel I cooked at turned me on to this basil thing. I had terrible cramps at work and he told me to roll up 10 or 12 leaves of fresh basil and chew them. By the time I had picked the last green bit from between my incisors, the cramps had abated.