Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Creamy Basil Dressing & the Next Soap Making Class!

I had the privilege of speaking Monday night to a local herb group.  I had so much fun!  This was a diverse group of people - men and women of all ages! I was asked to speak about using herbs in various rooms in the home (cooking, cleaning, personal care and medicine) and then to discuss soap making.

We started in the kitchen and ended up in the medicine cabinet.  This was a lively group with a lot of great questions - which always makes it so much more fun!

During the kitchen part of my talk, I mentioned my Creamy Basil Dressing.  Everyone wanted the recipe and I promised them I'd put it up here.  I hope the rest of y'all enjoy it too. 

I pick my basil all year long.  I make sure it is dry and let it sit for a day to wilt just a bit. I stuff my basil into zip lock baggies in my freezer. I want a "stuffed" cup in each bag.  I like my dressing to have a strong basil taste.  If your basil isn't dry when you freeze it - it will turn black.  Ack!

Creamy Basil Dressing

1/2 cup basil leaves or more (I use 1 stuffed-full cup)
1 cup mayo
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tbsp chives chopped
1 clove garlic (I confess I use a lot more....4 or 5 maybe?)
3 tbsp tarragon vinegar (make your own - I showed you how!)
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
3 green bunching onions with tops - chopped ( I use 4)

Put it all in the blender until creamy! Easy, peasy! Don't forget to refrigerate if you have any leftover!

This dressing is a gorgeous pale green color and smells and tastes like a summer garden. People will think you have a stealth garden somewhere! Serve this in the middle of winter and your friends and family will shower you with praise!

I'm also scheduling a soap making class here on the farm.  If you are interested in soap making, we will be having a class September the 8th from 1:00 to 5:00 or 6:00 - depending on how fast y'all move!

Here's the class description:

I have taught this class for Walter State Community College for both their TAG program and their Kids College program.  I've had students travel from all over Tennessee, Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Arizona, Virginia and West Virginia to learn soap making with me.

My class will teach you how to make soap in your own kitchen! You will learn the basics of soap making with easy step-by-step instructions that walk you through the simple art of  making your own batch of soap! I also show you what equipment you’ll need and probably already have!  

I teach you about SAP values and why they are important, what lye calculators are and how to use them (and why they are so important!), what lye discounts are and why you need to understand them and what “percentages” mean. This combined knowledge not only helps you understand the soap making process but it gives you the skills to evaluate any recipe you find online or in a book so that you can determine if you would like to use need to waste all those ingredients to discover you don’t like that particular recipe. Even more important, it gives you the skills to create your own unique recipes!

After I cover the basics, we delve into the fun! I teach you what superfatting is and how to do it so that you can create that luxurious soap you’ve been dreaming about!  You will learn how to color your soap naturally, how to use essential oils and how to create your own blends of essential oils easily and test them inexpensively! 

You will have the opportunity to create your own essential oil blend in class. I also guide you through the properties and “notes” of essential oils.

You will learn about absolute oils, butters and clays and why and how to use them.  I’ll teach you about soap molds and help you find your own home!  My book contains over a dozen “tried and true” recipes for soap including many basic recipes along with recipes for Castile, a shaving soap, a milk soap, and more!

I have included both a “tips” section and a “troubleshooting” section to help you salvage any “mistakes” that might happen, I have shared my list for recommended reading and online sites that teach more about soap making so you can continue your adventures.  I give you my list of resources for purchasing ingredients and even recommend software for soap makers!

I’ve done all the “wrong” things according to other soap makers! I have shared my secrets, shared many short cuts, given you great recipes, shared my list of resources, essentially shared it all!

You will get to touch and sample basic oils, fine oils, clays, butters and even an essential oil or two!

My class is 5 hours long.  You will make two batches of soap, a simple batch of soap and a more complicated batch usually involving a special coloring technique. Yummy herbal snacks will be served between the two batches. The cost of the class is $50 and includes my book "Soap Making Made Simple" which sells for $20. You will go home with one bar of any of my soaps or shampoos that you desire.You will also be given a special email address available only to students so that I can continue to mentor you and answer questions as you make soap in your own home.

I keep my classes small (4 to 12 students) and spaces usually fill up fast. Please contact me to make a reservation. Reservations are required!

Come join me and learn how to make soap for gifts, for the holidays and for your own family!

Did I mention?  This is a hands on class - y'all will be making the soap.   It is a fun class and you'll leave confident that you can go home and make a batch of soap.  You won't be afraid of lye anymore either!

Looking forward to soaping together!


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