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Flowers to Pharmacy

Produced by Monica Rogozinski

February 2012

While herbs are used nowadays to introduce bursts of flavor into any dish, they were once known for their wide range of medicinal purposes. This month's Art of Food segment explores Pennsylvania Hospital's "Flowers to Pharmacy" exhibition in their historic Pine Building. The hospital is home to the Physic Garden which was designed to showcase common plants used by early physicians as treatment. We also visit their Historic Library & Portrait Gallery which features an exquisite collection of botanicals reference books from as early as the 18th century. As part of the exhibition's lecture series, we hear from the hospital's executive chef, who aims to elevate hospital food to a higher standard of taste and health, in addition to a class by herbalist Maia Toll about the role of herbs in medicine today.

Extended interview with Maia Toll
Traditional herbalist Maia Toll brings us back to our roots as she describes her role in modern society and teaches us some age-old natural remedies, such as how to properly steep medicinal-strength herbal tea.

Herbal Lemonade

Recipe courtesy of Chef Sal DiPlama of the Pennsylvania Hospital


  • 6 organic lemons, juiced
  • 1/2 cup raw local honey (or more to taste)
  • 2 quarts filtered water
  • 2 oz. fresh dill
  • 2 oz. fresh mint
  • 3 - 5 sprigs rosemary
  • Edible flowers to garnish

1. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil and add honey. When honey is dissolved, refrigerate until cool.
2. Juice the lemons and remove seeds
3. In a container, add the cool honey water, lemon juice and herbs (muddle the herbs to release their flavor)
4. Refrigerate for 2 hours
5. Garnish with edible orchids. Enjoy!

Fennel Salad with Red Onion, Tomato, Orange and Lemon Thyme Vingaigrette

Recipe courtesy of Chef Sal DiPlama of the Pennsylvania Hospital

Salad Ingredients

  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced thin
  • 1 orange, peeled, de-seeded and sliced
  • 1/2 small red onion, sliced thin
  • 1 tomato

Fennel marinade 'dressing' Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp fresh chopped thyme
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Garnish: Fennel fronds, fresh ground black pepper

1. To make dressing, wisk together all ingredients and set aside
2. To assemble salad, first slice all veggies. Add citrus dressing, season with cracked black pepper and fennel fronds.

Rosemary Chicken Breast with White Bean, Tomato and Kale

Recipe courtesy of Chef Sal DiPlama of the Pennsylvania Hospital


  • 3 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 bunch kale, stem removed and cut into ribbons
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 12 oz. can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat oil on medium heat in a large skillet. Saute garlic and onions for 3-4 minutes.
2. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink on the outside. Add kale and cook until wilted.
3. Pour tomatoes, beans, and rosemary into skillet and stir and simmer for 10 minutes.

Recipe photo credits by Flickr users: santos, sassyradish, and Laurel Fan