Several years ago I was inspired to create a complete sensory experience for my friends. Although I don’t use my essential oils to cook, I use many herbs and aromatics during dining. Throughout the growing season I enjoy making herb infused vinegars, oils, honeys and teas to share with friends and family. This year I wanted to give more of myself and share my abundant harvest!
Because I live in a farming community it was important to start the evening with a fresh, fantastic feast! Midwesterners have heart appetites and generous spirits that need fed. The fresh farm produce is bountiful and friend’s gardens supply us with voluptuous tomatoes, fragrant basil, elegant eggplant, and delicate chives. Our local selection rivals most farmers markets. We are blessed as generous neighbors always share the fruits of their labor.
Our meal began with the symbolic act of breaking bread. I served a crisp baguette topped with a tangy fresh bruschetta. Our celebratory toast to this bountiful harvest was a citrus, berry and peach sangria. The summer humidity encourages everyone to indulge in this refreshing beverage and inspires them to linger in conversation. Next we graze on a fresh romaine and butter crunch lettuce salad topped with everything but the kitchen sink. The dressing was made from fresh raspberries, balsamic vinegar, fresh ground pepper, local honey and organic olive oil from California. As we get serious about dinner, the main course is a creamy cheese eggplant parmesan. For dessert we finish with my Mom’s recipe for sinful chocolate cake to which I added a little shredded zucchini for additional moisture and enhanced nutrition. It was served with real whipped cream and a few berries to compliment our sangria. After we have savored our meal we sit back and relax to chat as we sip on a lovely green tea infused with bits of ginger and lemon verbena to ease digestion.
The meal itself would have been enough, but I wanted this evening to be more about our relationships and connection. This was an opportunity to share my passion for aromatherapy and gardening with some of my dearest friends. One of life’s greatest joys is sharing what you love with others! I used a diffuser to create a mood, trigger pleasant memories, and make a ‘scentual’ treat! The essential oils I chose for the diffuser were: Pink Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi), Jasmine ( Jasminum officinale var. sambac), and Coriander (Coriandrum sativum). I also used pure essential oil candles staked around the outside of the deck and meandering through the garden. The candles were Vanilla, Lavender and Cinnamon scented. The candles not only added another aromatic layer but gave a soft ambience and glow to the garden. The relaxing sounds of wind chimes and the trickling water fountain brought a culmination of the evening’s sights, sounds, smells and taste together to create a most memorable evening.
At the end of our evening together, I gave each guest a token of my affection….stones scented with the essential oils of Sandalwood and Vanilla inscribed with a personal message and placed in a muslin bag tied with lavender from my garden. This joyful gathering celebrated the blessings and bounty of nature. Soon Autumn will be in the air and we will each have a fragrant reminder of our Summer Feast for the Senses. It reminds us that memory is only a stones throw away! ” Smell is a potent wizard that takes us to all the places we have been and through all the days of our lives.” Helen Keller
Sara’s Sangria: Mix 1 bottle of a good Pinot Grigio, 1 – 12oz. can of slightly thawed frozen lemonade, 1 1/3 cup of fresh peaches, 1 cup of fresh raspberries, 2 cups of sparkling water or lemon-lime soda, 1/2 cup of Amaretto liqueur and chill for a few hours before serving.
Be Well~ Be Peace~ Be Love……….Sara