Most people think herbs belongs in pesto or on a salad or sprinkled on a roast. Not on your lobe or collarbone.
If you know my work, you'll understand (a) that I think all vegetables look good around your neck because (b) I’m a gardener who is on a mission to give edibles proper due. In my studio, I transform them into true heirlooms, spinning metals into skinny French beans and haute couture gunmetal acorns, even affixing Swarovski crystals to lotus.
When Sara Hobel, executive director of the Horticultural Society of New York, wanted to commission me to create a piece of jewelry to represent the organization, I was thrilled by the challenge. Because much of the Hort's work is focuses on urban dwellers about growing food and planting edible gardens, a representation of an edible plant seemed appropriate. Her fondness for basil quickly surfaced.
Now, life has its challenges. Basil turns out to be one of them. Because before I choose what to design, it must pass my duo –isms:
I spent time with basil, and I could not make it work. It looked like a wad of gum. I gave up but then, I stepped into my garden, hoping to find wisdom among my plants. And I found it! Four varieties of it. Right at my feet sprang velvety sage with itty bits lines of gorgeousness. Wrinkles of wisdom.
Salvia officinalis ‘Tricolor’ became my rebound herb, my muse. I made a wax model, I cast it, and I set it free to adorn humans, but also to continue its bonafide intentions of romancing hummingbirds, of ornamenting landscapes, and of flavoring food.
Here is Dorothy Le Suchkova, Director of Capacity Building with the Hort's Neighborhood Plaza Program. She help community groups in New York City manage their local garden pedestrian plazas. She always acts wisely, and wears her velvety sage leaf earrings and necklace. 10% percentage of every sale of the sage earrings goes to the Horticultural Society of New York.
Gail Monaghan (the cook book author and teacher) is a pro at coaxing the flavors of this herb, as she proved on a recent visit to Bird Haven Farm. She cooked up fried sage leave sandwiches with anchovy paste. Her recipe is easy:
This is not your typical sandwich. The leaves are the “bread” in this recipe. Ingredients
Fresh sage, large leaves are better
Self-rising flour (store bought; or combine all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt)
Unflavored/neutral vegetable oil
Fleur de sel, or sea salt