By Sara Dahmen
Winter is here, and it’s taking no punches! Single digits, brutal winds, and a heavy dose of all the illnesses that come with winter weather (the pandemic notwithstanding). There are many herbs available to fight a fever and kill a cold, but some remedies aren’t safe for young children, even though they’re natural. Garlic, for instance, is an essential ingredient to an amazing influenza busting concoction (more on that soon!) but it’s not safe to give children 12 and under. And we all can do with a cup of hot soup when we’re feeling a little down. This French Onion Soup is a twist on the classic, and I’ll even list out how to make it Vegan-Style! Meanwhile, take heart, dear hearts. The days are already getting longer and the sun is slowly waking up again!
FRENCH ONION SOUP
This is a classic, but I like to add a little bit of excitement by using multiple kinds of onions. This simple recipe can easily be transformed to a vegan one by exchanging out the beef stock for vegetable stock (the hearty kind is best!) and using plant-based butter for caramelizing the onions and garlic. Chao or other plant-based brand “cheese” melts easily under the broiler, which won’t be quite as stinky as the classic gruyere, but it’s better than no cheese at all!
**This recipe is for 6 people
2 red onions, cut in half and sliced thin
2 yellow onions, cut in half and sliced thin
2 white onions, cut in half and sliced thin
1 shallot, sliced
3 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
8 cups beef stock
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 bundle of dried or fresh thyme
French baguette, sliced thickly
Place all onions/shallots in a large pot and add butter. Cook at medium heat, stirring almost constantly, until the onions start to caramelize. Add in the garlic and cook for another 2 – 3 minutes. Add the beef stock, salt, pepper, and thyme and bring to a simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Heat the broiler to 400F.
Slice the gruyere enough for each bowl of soup you plan to serve. Place bowls on a baking sheet and ladle in the hot soup. Top each bowl with a slice of baguette topped by a slice of gruyere, and carefully put the entire baking sheet of bowls in the oven and broil for 4 minutes.
Serve quite warm!
KID’S FEVER-KILLER TEA
It’s still cold and flu season around here! This tea is safe for kids of all ages, especially those who are under the age of twelve and cannot have as many over-the-counter medications and fever reducers. It’s also super soothing on the stomach! Make a cup of this loose leaf mixture 1-2x a day while fever persists, and hopefully your young’uns will drink it right up and get well fast!
1 tsp dried feverfew (do not use while pregnant)
1 tsp dried or fresh catnip
1 tsp dried tulsi (holy basil) (avoid if attempting to get pregnant or are pregnant)
Mix these ingredients together and place it in a tea sieve. Boil a cup of water and pour the boiling water over the sieve and leave to steep for up to 10 minutes. Remove the herbs, cool to your preference, and drink.
Bonus! You can add 5 – 10 drops Willow Bark decoction to the tea before serving. Willow bark is wonderful as it truly is Nature’s aspirin, but should be used in relative moderation, especially for children.
To make the decoction, add 1 part Willow Bark to 3 parts water. Boil, then simmer until the water is reduced by 1/3. Strain and store for up to 48 hours at room temperature or in the fridge.
Why these herbs?
Feverfew is anti-inflammatory and another fever reducer (hence its name). Catnip settles the stomach and is known especially for being a gentle, somewhat tasty herb good for helping colds, flu and fever in children. Tulsi can be decocted alone to reduce a fever or taken daily as tea or decoction for general overall health. Willow Bark is anti-inflammatory and usually is used to reduce arthritis issues, but is also a great fever reducer.
About the Author
Sara Dahmen is a coppersmith, award-winning author and novelist, and entrepreneur. Her expertise is of vintage and modern cookware; she manufactures pure metal kitchenware in her Port Washington, Wisconsin garage for her company, House Copper & Cookware. All of her current designs are based on American traditions and wares and are sourced in the USA. When unable to recreate traditional elements, she uses only small family owned and operated makers or Armed Forces veterans to help with the production of her cookware pieces. Her work also includes refurbishing and restoring old and damaged copper using vintage tools. Learn more about Sara at: https://www.saradahmen.com/ Order Sara's book! Full color, hard-cover COPPER IRON AND CLAY (Morrow/HarperCollins)
After a two year hiatus, thanks to the pandemic, the annual Crossroads Rendezvous will return to Peninsula Park in Saukville on the traditional third weekend this coming May 20-21; but, before its arrival, organizers have planned a Workshop Series, designed to engage both seasoned reenactors and those new to the hobby, that will bring the lessons of living history indoors.
"When we decided we had to cancel the 2021 event, after already losing the 2020 event, we knew that we needed to do something to build momentum and assure people that we were going to return," said Mary Boyle, Crossroads Organizer. "We were able to get a Tourism Grant from the Saukville Chamber of Commerce Tourism Committee, which allowed us to move forward. Originally, we planned for a one day mini-reenactment at the Crossroads Museum on what would have been the weekend of the event, which was meant to be followed by the workshop series; but, as the time drew near, it became clear that people were still not ready to gather together."
As organizers went back to the drawing board, they connected with Patricia Gerber, the Coordinator of the Community Rivers Program, to collaborate on an event that would benefit both the Community Rivers Program and Crossroads Rendezvous, as well as their parent organizations, Riveredge Nature Center and the Saukville Historical Society.
"CRP participated at our 2018 and 2019 School Days, so we'd already established our mutual connection with the Milwaukee River," explained Boyle. "The event [River History Day] practically built itself, and it was really fun to do. We'll probably do it again this fall."
The Workshop Series was meant to follow River History Day, but the holidays and rising Covid counts kept pushing the start date further back. In the end, though, everything came together, and the Crossroads Rendezvous Workshop Series will begin on Saturday, February 12 from Noon to 5 p.m. with a session called A Tailoring We Will Go, led by Jay Oestreich, in which participants will get an overview of 18th Century men's fashion and then have time, space and assistance from Oestreich to get started on their own sewing projects. Other classes in the series include basket making, finger weaving, archeology of the Fur Trade, and an afternoon with Boyle where participants will learn about 18th Century women's fashion and start work on creating their own chemise, which is the base layer of clothing for a lady of that time period.
"Besides Sarah Pender Smith, who is an actual Archeologist, the rest of us [leading workshops] are mostly just reenactors who wanted to share the skills we've learned with others," said Boyle. "You don't have to even be interested in reenacting to join us; these are just fun or useful things to know, regardless of whether or not you're into living history. We've all been sitting around with largely no events to attend for the past two years so, if nothing else, this is a way to reignite our own flames."
The Crossroads Rendezvous Workshop Series will take place at the Crossroads Museum, located at 200 N. Mill St. in Saukville. Space is limited and participants must register for the workshops by emailing Mary Boyle at info@CrossroadsRendezvous.org or filling in the registration box on the CR Workshop Series Tab on the website: www.crossroadsrendezvous.org/cr-workshop-series.html
By Mary Boyle
When the frigid Wisconsin cold keeps us indoors we, unfortunately, share more than space. If you're fighting off a cold or flu, this Healing Vegetable Broth, courtesy of Medical Medium, is perfect to sip from your favorite mug, but also makes plenty of extra for your freezer to use in any recipe that calls for vegetable broth (or for when the next person in your household comes down with the sniffles!).
In a large stockpot add:
Place all the ingredients in a pot and bring to a gentle boil. Turn heat down to low and allow to simmer for about an hour, covered. Strain and sip for a mineral rich, healing and restorative broth, or leave the veggies in to enjoy as a light healing soup. Broth will keep for 5-7 days in the refrigerator, or freeze for later use.
Personally, I add a bit more celery and carrots and more water to fill my big stock pot so I have plenty of broth to fill my freezer. Feel free to fill a mug to sip from when it's done; otherwise, allow the broth to cool and pour through a sieve into freezer-safe containers (be sure to leave about 1 inch of space at the top, as it will expand when frozen). I compost all of the veggies, as they sort of become washed of flavor in the simmering (the broth is actually more effective without the veggies in it, but I know it can feel wasteful, so you do you;) . I ended up with nearly 6 quarts of broth.
For those of you looking to get healthier in the New Year, I cannot recommend Medical Medium highly enough. By implementing Anthony William's recommendations, I have personally experienced incredible results. The books are great; however, all of the information is available on the website, including this recipe and many others.
Here's to your health!