Bittersweet Chocolate Basil Tart with Honey Grapefruit Sauce

The sauce is a zesty complement to the tart’s rich chocolate filling.

 

LEVEL: MODERATE
SERVES: 20

INGREDIENTS

TART SHELL:
  • 6 tbsp. butter
  • ¼ c. granulated sugar
  • 1¼ c. cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 egg
FILLING:
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • ⅓ c. whole milk
  • ½ c. finely shredded basil leaves
  • 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 egg
GARNISH:
  • confectioners’ sugar
  • Fresh basil sprig
SAUCE:
  • 3 pink grapefruits
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 1½ tsp. cornstarch mixed with 2 tsp. water

DIRECTIONS

  1. To make tart shell: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. With mixer on low speed, add flour and egg in two parts and beat just until combined. Shape dough into a disc, wrap in waxed paper, and chill 1 to 24 hours. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin to 1/8- to 1/4-inch thickness. Transfer to a 9-inch tart pan, press in sides and bottom, and trim any excess dough around edges. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover dough with a large piece of foil and weigh down with uncooked rice or beans. Bake 20 minutes, remove foil and beans, and bake 10 minutes longer, or until light golden brown. Cool on a rack.
  2. To make filling, preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring cream, milk, and basil just to a boil. Remove pan from heat, cover, and steep 10 minutes.
  3. Place chocolate in a medium bowl. Pour cream mixture through a strainer over chocolate and whisk until smooth. Let cool 10 minutes, then whisk in egg.
  4. Pour chocolate into tart shell and bake 20 minutes, or until filling is just beginning to set.
  5. Remove to a wire rack and let cool completely. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and garnish with basil sprig.
  6. Meanwhile, to make sauce: Chop grapefruit segments into small pieces, saving juice. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring fruit, reserved juices, and honey to a boil. Add cornstarch mixture and boil 1 minute, or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl, and let cool to room temperature. Serve with tart (or with lemon cake).
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Homemade Herb Pickling Mix.

Great to have on hand and saves time!
The herbes de Provence add a unique flavor that’s not typically found in supermarket pickling mix blends.
To use the pickling mix: Put one to two tablespoons in the pickling jar, then add the veggies and the vinegar/salt mixture, following the directions in the recipe.
It’s that easy!
2 tablespoons mustard seeds
4 tablespoons herbes de Provence
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon bay leaves, shredded
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon dried, crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon cloves
1. Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
2. Put into a clean, glass container and store in a cool, dry place.
Makes Approximately 2 Ounces

Aromatherapy Ylang – Ylang.

Cananga odorata

Ylang ylang is basically a tropical tree indigenous to Asia, especially Indonesia. The blossoms of this tree are used to prepare an essential oil that is widely used in manufacturing perfumes as well as in aromatherapy. The ylang-ylang essential oil is extracted by steam distilling the highly fragrant flowers of the tree. Ylang-ylang flowers have a profound and sweet aroma something akin to that of jasmine and in many cultures, they are scattered on the beds of the newly married as a sign of good luck or wishing fertility. For a long time, the essential oil obtained from ylang-ylang flowers was regarded as an aphrodisiac, denoting that its aroma stimulates the desire for sexual activities.

Ylang ylang essential oil possesses other therapeutic properties as well. It is comforting and soothing oil that brings about a general feeling of wellness. In addition, this essential oil is also said to be effective in lowering blood pressure, especially when the condition is a result of tension or shock. Since this essential oil has a very potent aroma, it remains for a longer period and even has the aptitude to suppress other comparatively lighter fragrances. As the fragrance of ylang-ylang is enduring, it works fine as a fixative in several perfumes. In fact, when ylang-ylang essential oil is combined with other suitable aromatic oils, it becomes all the more potent. This oil is also used in the manufacture of skin care products, especially those meant for treating oily skin as well as stressed skin.

The ylang-ylang trees bear blooms that vary in color – pink, cream, mauve or yellow. These flowers have a potent, unusual and flowery scent. Owing to its potent aroma which is similar to that of jasmine (botanical name Jasminum officinale) – an expensive flower, ylang-ylang is often referred to as ‘the poor man’s jasmine’.

Generally, the ylang-ylang flowers are collected in the morning for flowers picked during this time of the day are best for preparing essential oil through steam distillation. In fact, the aroma of ylang-ylang flowers is most potent during the morning and afternoon. Normally, the essential oil obtained by steam distilling the flowers collected in the morning are of superior quality in the first distillation, while the latter distillations are somewhat lesser in excellence. The lesser quality ylang-ylang essential oil is sold as Cananga instead of ylang-ylang.

As discussed earlier, the ylang-ylang trees produce flowers having extremely sweet and floral scent. In the Malayan language, the term ylang-ylang actually denotes ‘flower of flowers’ or a superior quality flower. The ylang-ylang essential oil was used as an active element in the well-known Macassar hair oil during the Victorian era. Both men and women widely used the Macassar hair oil with a view to encouraging glossy hair growth. Presently, ylang-ylang essential oil is extensively used to manufacture floral perfumes.

Generally, ylang-ylang oil is considered to be warming and stimulating oil which also possesses aphrodisiac properties. The use of this essential oil has the aptitude to cause relaxation as well as inspire and inculcate a feeling of wellness among people. Ylang ylang essential oil is excellent for comforting the nerves, especially during stress, and also alleviates restiveness and tetchiness. A few drops of this essential oil added to bathwater or watered down for use as massage oil helps in promoting sound sleep. In addition, ylang-ylang essential oil is also said to be highly effective in treating rapid breathing and palpitations or tremors. This essential oil is also helpful in alleviating premenstrual tension and depression. The other therapeutic properties of ylang-ylang essential oil include its effectiveness to combat typhus, malaria and other types of fevers.

It may be noted here that ylang-ylang essential oil is frequently used in the form of candles, in baths or in oil burners to create a romantic setting or to work as an aphrodisiac prior to making love. In addition, this essential oil may also be diluted in suitable carrier oil and used for massage. The ylang-ylang blooms possess a potent flowery scent that invokes the feelings of the tropics. Using this essential oil as a dab in a cotton ball endures for several hours.

Like in the case of rose and jasmine, ylang-ylang flowers too must be picked early in the morning and prepared immediately for steam distillation. In fact, ylang-ylang flowers are processed by steam distillation infractions. In other words, this means that the steam distillation of the ylang-ylang flowers is stopped at various stages of the process and the oil is collected during the intervals. After the oil is collected, the distillation process is started once again.

As in the case of all other essential oils, even the quality of ylang-ylang essential oil also differs from one distillery to another. In addition, the quality of this essential oil also varies depending on the crop condition for a particular season and the time selected for harvesting the flowers and distilling them. In fact, very little proficiency is required on the part of the distiller as this wonderful oil can be obtained without much effort. The fact that ylang-ylang essential oil is quite inexpensive denotes that there is little or no room for the distillers’ art to produce this oil.

In fact, there are three fractions in the process involving preparing the ylang-ylang essential oil by vapor distillation. In other words, the distillation process is halted thrice. The first distillation of ylang-ylang flowers yields the highest quality of the essential oil and is believed to be possessing maximum insubstantial fragrance. This quality of ylang-ylang essential oil is highly prized by the perfume manufacturers. In fact, the different stages of steam distilling ylang-ylang flowers are determined according to the principle that cannot be easily described. Nevertheless, the distillation stage is split by the time taken to distil each fraction of the process.

While Ylang Extra is the most costly quality of essential oil obtained from the ylang-ylang flowers, Ylang I, II and III as well as Ylang Complete are also the complete distillation of this essential oil with no fractions or breaks during the process.

Ylang ylang is a superior variety of sesquiterpene (any specific terpene whose molecules contains 1.5 times as many atoms as a normal terpene). Ylang ylang III is the final fraction of the essential oil obtained by steam distilling the flowers of the plant and it is collected during the final hours of the distillation process. This variety of ylang-ylang essential oil is somewhat viscous, cruder and not as sweet oil as the other varieties of this essential oil. This variety of ylang-ylang essential oil is also more or less wholly made of sesquiterpenes. It may be mentioned here that sesquiterpenes are basically a category of chemical substances naturally present in higher plant and also found naturally in different alcohols. It may also be noted that sesquiterpenes are hardly present in volatile or unstable aromatic oils. When sesquiterpenes are extracted from the plants, these chemicals are known to invigorate the liver and endocrine glands. In fact, the potent antispasmodic and sedative properties of the ylang-ylang essential oil are attributed to the presence of sesquiterpenes.

Inhaling ylang-ylang essential oil is beneficial for overcoming fear as well as nervous tension. In fact, ylang-ylang essential oil should be considered foremost among all essential oils when an individual requires help to regulate as well as balance his or her nervous system. This essential oil is effective in facilitating one’s respiration for slower and more rhythmic breathing and is useful for treating panic attacks. Findings of several types of research have demonstrated that ylang-ylang essential oil invigorates the central nervous system and facilitates alleviating depression.

The essential oil obtained by steam distilling the flowers of ylang-ylang plant is a wonderful natural treatment for comforting tachycardia (rapid heart rate) as well as high blood pressure or hypertension. Ylang ylang essential oil is frequently used in massage oil lubricants and is reputed to provide relief from throbbing muscles and pains. This essential oil is beneficial for treating symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), such as mood swings. In addition, it is also an effective remedy for lessening emotional blockage or congestion in the region of the heart.

Ylang ylang essential oil is specifically feminine or yin oil and is said to be obsessive and alive with sensations. You may try using this essential oil at times when you require integration as well as healing the shadow elements of the Divine Feminine. Ylang ylang essential oil helps to activate the Divine Feminine’s inexplicable magnetism as well as an aptitude for living life completely. The essential oil obtained by steam distilling ylang-ylang flowers invigorates sensations of delight and self-confidence. It can also be effective in prevailing over performance nervousness.

This oil is regularly used in fragrances meant for men and is said to be a therapeutic oil for men. Ylang ylang essential oil endorses a man’s relation and expression of the womanly and instinctive part of his nature. You may consider combining ylang-ylang essential oil with petitgrain, bergamot or any spice or wood oil to diminish the intoxicating flowery quintessence of ylang-ylang essential oil. At the same time, ylang-ylang essential oil has the aptitude to facilitate counterbalancing protective coping approaches that are able to result in aggressive types of the communique. In fact, ylang-ylang essential oil helps to coordinate the mind and emotions. At the same time, it mitigates present attitudes, mental approaches as well as opinions. It also encourages straightforward communication with other people. You may use ylang-ylang essential oil to comfort the nerves in stressful circumstances.

Ylang ylang is beneficial for the functioning of the kidneys as well as the adrenal gland. In addition, this essential oil is excellent for people with feeble knees and suffering from loss of bladder control.

Traditionally, ylang-ylang essential oil has been used for beauty and skin care since the hormones of this plant encourage the renewal of the cells. Using this essential oil bring in a balance in moisture retention by the skin, which is effective for maintaining the natural sebum production by the skin. This particular attribute of ylang-ylang essential oil makes it an appropriate remedy for different types of skin – sensitive, oily as well as dry mature. In addition, ylang-ylang essential oil promotes the growth of healthy and lusty hair and may perhaps also be beneficial for people enduring split ends. To obtain the utmost benefit, add a few drops of this oil to your preferred hair conditioner or shampoo and use it on your scalp.

In aromatherapy, ylang-ylang oil is primarily used for its potent antiseptic properties that help to comfort, soothe, balance as well as work as a tranquilizer. In addition, ylang-ylang essential oil is also beneficial as a stimulant for the reproductive system and has the aptitude to heal sexual problems of an individual. The other therapeutic properties of this essential oil include treating problems, such as insomnia or sleeplessness, hyperactivity in children and tension. Moreover, this essential oil is effective in alleviating problems associated with oily and arid/ dry skin. It is effective for most types of skin care. Ylang ylang essential oil also supports hair growth.

Ylang ylang is an effective essential oil that soothes as well as provides comfort. This attribute of ylang-ylang helps to alleviate nervousness, depression, shock, insecurity, anger as well as obstinacy. When you use this oil it will facilitate in overcoming all such problems. In addition, similar to the essential oil obtained from rose (botanical name rosa Damascena) and sandalwood essential oil (botanical name santalum album), the oil extracted from steam distilling ylang-ylang flowers also acts as an aphrodisiac. Moreover, ylang-ylang essential oil often forms an active element of several perfumes and cosmetics. It is also used to flavor foods and beverages.

General Properties:

  • antiseptic
  • aphrodisiac
  • relaxing
  • stimulant

Blends Well With:

  • bergamot
  • jasmine
  • lavender
  • lemon
  • patchouli
  • rose
  • rosewood
  • sandalwood

General Use:

  • anemia
  • anorexia
  • arthritis
  • asthma
  • boils and carbuncles
  • colds
  • coughs
  • dandruff
  • depression
  • flatulence
  • fluid retention
  • glandular fever
  • gout
  • immune system
  • irritability
  • loss of appetite
  • low blood pressure
  • mouth infections
  • myalgic encephalomyelitis
  • nervous exhaustion
  • poor circulation
  • poor memory
  • rheumatism
  • rhinitis
  • scabies
  • sinusitis
  • ulcers
  • urinary infections
  • whooping cough
  • wounds and sores

Precautions:

Be careful, high concentrations of ylang-ylang essential oil can cause nausea or a headache.

Nurturing Geranium and Rosehip Facial Cream.

Nurturing Geranium and Rosehip Facial Cream

This delicate cream features rosy scented, balancing geranium essential oil and sheer rosehip seed oil to create a nurturing cream that also serves as a natural makeup remover.

Ingredients
1/2 ounce beeswax
3 ounces jojoba oil
1-ounce rosehip oil
3 ounces distilled water
36 drops geranium essential oil
30 drops carrot seed oil
30 drops lavender essential oil
Directions
1. Melt the wax, jojoba and rosehip seed oils in a double boiler until wax is fully melted.
2. Remove from heat and allow to cool to a lukewarm temperature.
3. Add the essential oils.
4. Warm the water until lukewarm and place in blender. Turn on the blender and add the wax/oils/essential oil mixture to the water in a slow and steady stream.
5. Blend until a creamy emulsion forms.
6. Store in a jar in the refrigerator.
Benefits
Balancing

Good Night Beauty Regime.

A good night’s sleep is an essential part of your beauty regimen and does more for your good looks than the best balm or treatment. While you sleep, blood continuously replenishes your skin, giving it a rosy glow. A well-rested complexion is also less prone to breakouts. Of course, night time is also the right time to treat your body to some extra conditioning and moisture.
Here are a few recipes to try that you can use right before you get in bed.
Night Time Lotion
This rich lotion is packed with oils and vitamins. Massage it into your body and face before going to bed at night and you’ll wake up with soft, smooth skin that looks and feels amazing. Make sure to remove any jewelry and wash your skin before applying it.
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup distilled water
1 tablespoon vitamin E oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 teaspoon wheat germ oil
1 tablespoon grated beeswax
In a glass container, dissolve baking soda in the water and set aside.
In a small saucepan or microwave-safe dish, mix the oils and wax together and heat gently {use the stove-top or microwave} until wax is melted. Heat the soda-water mixture but do not boil and then pour it into a blender. Blend on slow speed, slowly adding the oil-wax mixture in a steady stream. Mix well and transfer to a heat-resistant container. Allow the mixture to cool. {The lotion will thicken as it cools.} Yield: 6 ounces
Lullaby Massage Oil
With lavender and chamomile in the mix, this massage oil is the perfect cure for a bad case of insomnia. The almond oil conditions skin.
1 tablespoon dried chamomile flowers
1/2 cup sweet almond oil
5 drops essential oil of Lavender
Place chamomile flowers in a small saucepan and pour the almond oil over them. Gently warm the oil for a few minutes, but do not boil. Allow the oil to cool; then strain out the flowers. Add the lavender essential oil and pour into a clean bottle. To use: Slowly massage a small amount onto dry skin or tired muscles. Yield: 4 ounces
Relaxing Lavender Bath
This is the perfect herbal bath to ease your mind and body after a full day. Along with lavender, it contains oatmeal and baking soda to soothe dry, sensitive skin. Substitute dried chamomile for the lavender in this recipe if you prefer.
1 cup dried lavender flowers
2 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup baking soda
In a blender or food processor combine all ingredients and process until you have a smooth, fine powder. To use: Pour 1/2 cup into your bath as you fill the tub. Yield: 28 ounces
Eye Rest Pillows
These pretty silk pillows are simple to make and offer an effective way to ease eye strain and relax at the end of the day. You can find flax seeds at most grocery and natural food stores. If you can’t find silk fabric, try using old scarves.
2 rectangle pieces of silky material, 5″ x 9″
1 cup flaxseeds
1 tablespoon dried lavender
Stitch the material together to form a small sack, and fill it with flax seeds and lavender. Stitch the remaining end closed. To use: Lie down with the pillow over your eyes. To calm inflamed skin, cool the pillow by placing it in the refrigerator.
Evening Nail Oil
Massage this rich combination of natural oils onto your nails before going to bed to strengthen and condition them. Do this regularly and you’ll see improvements in a few short weeks even with dry, cracked nails. Find liquid lecithin at your local natural food store.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons liquid lecithin
1/4 teaspoon vitamin E oil
Combine all ingredients and mix well. To use: Dab a small amount on your fingers and rub thoroughly into your nails. Yield: 1/2 ounce
Tips for a Good Night’s Rest
 
* Stick to a sleep schedule to keep your biological clock in sync.
* Avoid late dinners.
* Exercise at least four times a week, but avoid workouts close to bedtime.
* Use your bedroom only for sleep, not for surfing the web or work.
* Practice a sleep ritual like a warm bath, reading, or listening to music before going to bed.