By: Tina Lynn | Category: Special Interest | Issue: July 2007
Betty Muratet and Patsy Wynn – chairperson – review a Tulsa Herb Society cookbook and survey supplies for the upcoming Susan Belsinger event.
The Tulsa Herb Society invites the community in welcoming Susan Belsinger to Tulsa. In honor of the gardening and cooking guru’s visit, An Evening with Susan Belsinger will be held July 9 at the Tulsa Garden Center, located at 2435 S. Peoria Ave. Held from 7 to 8:30 p.m., admission to the event is free.
Belsinger is a culinary herbalist, educator, food writer and photographer. Her articles and photographs have been published in such magazines as The Herb Companion, Herbs for Health, Natural Home & Garden, Kitchen Gardener, Organic Gardening, The Herb Quarterly, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Woman’s Day, as well as in The Washington Post newspaper. She also has co-authored several best-selling, award-winning cookbooks. Belsinger’s recently-released “Not Just Desserts - Sweet Herbal Recipes” is the first book in the upcoming series “Living with Herbs.”
Besides gardening organically and teaching, Belsinger travels throughout the United States and Canada to give lectures and demonstrations. Several of her subjects include herbs, edible flowers, chiles, garlic, cooking with children, gardening and using herbs for healthy lifestyles and aromatherapy. She also teaches about Southwestern, Italian and vegetarian cooking.
Belsinger is currently a contributing editor, writing regularly for the Herb Companion magazine. Last year she completed an herbal apprentice course with Rosemary Gladstar. In 2003 and 2004, she had a regular feature in Natural Home magazine, which was titled “Season’s Eatings.” Adding to her writing experience, Belsinger has been a contributing editor for Vegetarian Times magazine. Her monthly column for the publication was called “Going Veg,” which was published in 2002.
Belsinger worked for the Smithsonian Associates as a moderator, coordinator, and presenter for many day-long seminars about herbs and gardening. Her television appearances include “Good Morning America,” “DeLiteful Cooking,” “Ultimate Kitchens” and “The Willard Scott Home and Garden Show.” In addition to being featured on television, Belsinger has been highlighted for her experience in working with herbs, gardening and cooking on National Public Radio and many other national and local cable stations.
Belsinger’s way of life is organically growing vegetables, herbs and flowers, harvesting them at their peaks and bringing them into her kitchen to create healthy recipes. Passionate about herbs, Belsinger works to share her joy of gardening and cooking through teaching and writing. She hopes to inspire others to get in touch with their senses of smell and taste and appreciate nature’s wonders as much as she does.
Susan Belsinger’s Sage and Apple Upside-Down Cake
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
2 large tart apples - cored, peeled, sliced thin and tossed with 1 tablespoon lemon juice
12 to 15 fresh sage leaves
2 ¼ cups unbleached flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 extra-large eggs
1 ½ cups nonfat buttermilk
About 8 sage leaves, stacked and cut crosswise (about 1 ½ tablespoons fresh)
Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a 10-inch iron skillet over medium-low heat. Add brown sugar and stir until dissolved; it should look like thick chocolate syrup. Continue to cook until the mixture begins to bubble and promptly remove it from heat. Arrange apple slices and whole sage leaves close together in the skillet on top of butter and sugar. Arrange extra apple slices around the sides of the skillet. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and nutmeg. In a mixing bowl, beat softened butter, add sugar and blend well. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add buttermilk and mix until blended.
Add dry ingredients and sage to the mixing bowl; beat until batter is mixed smooth but not overworked. Pour batter over apples in the skillet.
Bake in the center of the oven for 15 minutes. Lower the heat to 350 degrees and bake for about 25 minutes more. The cake is done when it is golden brown, the edges pull slightly from the sides and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven and carefully run a metal spatula around the edges. Place a cake plate over the skillet and carefully turn the cake out onto the plate. It should come out easily. Rearrange any apple slices or sage leaves if they are out of place. If there is any excess topping in the skillet, scrape it onto the cake. Let cake cool for at least 20 minutes before serving. The cake is best served slightly warm or at room temperature. It is delicious plain, accompanied with lightly whipped cream or served with vanilla or butter pecan ice cream.