Archive for the ‘Herbs’ Category

IMGP1106 stuffeed squash

Veggie Stuffed Squash

1 medium butternut squash or large acorn squash

3 T veggie oil, preferably olive, divided

1/3 c dried unsweetened blueberries, cranberries or cherries

1/4 c raisins     1 medium onion, chopped      2 cloves garlic, minced

2 stalks celery, chopped     2 T fresh sage, chopped or 2 tsp dried

1/2 – 3/4 cup veggie broth or water

2 soy sausage patties, thawed and crumbled     2 T pecans, chopped

1-1/2 c cooked cornbread, cooled and crumbled

2 T chopped fresh flat-leafed parsley

salt, pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400°. Cut squash in half, discard seeds. Brush cut sides with 1 T oil. Place cut sides down on nonstick baking sheet. Bake 30-35 minutes. Turn squash cut sides up,

Place dried berries in cup or small bowl. Pour hot water to cover berries, soak 10 minutes then discard water.

Over medium heat in medium-sized skillet, heat remaining 2 T oil. Saute onion, garlic, celery, and sage till tender crisp, about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and heat through. Pack stuffing mixture in squash halves.  Spoon extra stuffing in oiled baking dish, place on baking dish beside squash. Bake 10 minutes. Generously serves 2-3

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Gift bags

Last week my husband and I prepared 22 of these gift bags, each of which contained a bottle of infused olive oil, a pint jar of homemade spaghetti sauce, a whole wheat mini-baguette and a box of spaghetti.

Gift bagsIMGP1081 mini baguette









I like to very slightly squeeze the herbs to bruise the flavor, and make a tiny slit in the garlic.

I’ve also made herb-infused vinegars, which is very easy and fun to use. Let’s do that next summer, okay?

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I’ve made this off and on for many years. You can be very flexible with ingredient quantities.

Braised Pepper Salad

2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced      1/4 c salad oil [any  veggie oil]

4 medium green peppers, seeded and cut into 1/4″ strips

4 medium red peppers, seeded and cut into 1/4″ strips

3 medium onions peeled and cut into thin wedges

1/2 tsp oregano leaves      1- 1/2 T vinegar  

salt      pepper            1 cucumber, sliced [peel if desired]

4 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges

In a large skillet, brown garlic in oil, then discard.  Add peppers and all ingredients except tomatoes and cucumber. Cook until tender-crisp about 15 minutes. Stir in tomato wedges and cucumber slices. Cover and refrigerate till well chilled – at least 2 hours. Garnish with oregano leaves. Serves 8-10.

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Caprilands June Punch

If you know anything about Caprilands, you know this punch uses herbs. This is the June Punch I mentioned the other day when discussing borage.

Here’s the recipe, taken from Seasonal Herbs from Caprilands: Step-by-Step in the Herb Garden by Adelma Grenier Simmons, photographed by George Gregory Wieser, 1991, Mallard Press. It’s a lovely book that out’s of print.

June Punch

1 cup rosemary leaves

3 stalks borage, stem, leaves and blossoms 

1 gallon grape or apple juice or mixture

3 limes, juice of

1/2 cup honey     1/2 cup brown sugar

1 lime, sliced for garnish

borage leaves and blossoms, for garnish

Steep rosemary and borage in juices, honey and sugar in large jug, three hours at room temperature or preferably 24 hours or longer in the refrigerator. At serving time, pour mixture over block of ice in punch bowl. Decorate with lime slices, fresh blossoms and leaves. Hint: In late summer we heap the cake of ice with peace [sic?] slices and ladle a slice into each cup. Makes 1 gallon.

What I did: I only made a half-gallon and I did a mixture of juices. In the book, the punch is darker than mine, so I bet they used all grape.Their picture looked all medieval woods, very brooding while mine looked light and sunny.  I’d probably do that next time. I steeped mine in the refrigerator for 24 hours. The recipe didn’t specify to discard the steeped herbs but I assumed you would so I did.

I have no idea what “peace slices” are unless this is a misprint for “peach.”

Hubby said the punch was surprisingly mild and very good.

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It’s a weed here in Kentucky, but I grow it anyway. It has medicinal uses, which I’ve never tried. It has culinary uses, which I’ve never tried. It has hairy flowers that are pretty, the biggest reason I grow borage [Borago officinals].

For several years I’ve planned to make a June Punch recipe from the big Caprilands herb farm book. It uses several cups of borage leaves that you steep overnight. This year I’m going to make that punch, and I’m committing to it here. Will provide you pics and reviews when I make it.

Oh, why is borage thoughtful? If you notice in my pic, most of the flowers are blue but some are pink. Pink borage flowers are unpollinated; when they are pollinated the flowers change to blue. I just think they’re pretty but if you’re a bird or perhaps an insect, I guess this sort of thing is useful. Here’s a short UK description of the petal color changes. http://www.uky.edu/Ag/HLA/Geneve/teaching/PLS%20220/Flowerpetals.pdf  and here is a general description of borage in Kentucky. Short version: it’s a self-seeding annual that is drought resistant and tough. BTW, those flowers are edible and so are the leaves. It looks and grows like a weed.  http://www.uky.edu/Ag/Horticulture/gardenflowers/babz.htm#Borago   Here’s pics of my borage

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An excellent cheesecake from Tim Haas and Jan Beane. I must say this is the absolute best graham cracker crust I’ve ever eaten. The filling hass a nice blend of spices, tasty but doesn’t overwhelm the pumpkin flavor.  Here’s  recipe for the crust which I found in their book Herb Garden Gourmet [Sourcebooks Inc, Naperville, Illinois, 2009] as well as on their tv show Southern Fresh – link at sidebar plus link to full cheesecake recipe here http://www.timandjan.com/favorite-recipes/50-desserts/137-harvest-pumkin-cheesecake:

Tim Haas/Jan Beane Cheesecake Crust

2  1/2 cups graham cracker crust crumbs           1/2 cup sugar

1 stick butter, melted           1/4 cup finely chopped pecans   

Combine in mixing bowl and press into springform pan. Bake in 300 oven for your cheesecake recipe.

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I like to plant perennials in the fall. You can usually get them cheaper, and it’s easier to find the right spot for them when you see what’s grown or died out during the summer.  I didn’t fertilize it, but buried it nice and deep in good soil, and I’ll mulch it a little later.  This is a new Echinacea [Coneflower] I bought recently at Imel’s Nursery and Greenhouse. I had several varieties of Echinacea planted next to Rudbeckia a couple of years ago, and weeded out some Rudbeckia in early spring.  The tender small leaves bore enough of a resemblance to cause coneflower weeding-by-error on my part.  Sometimes I’m such a careless gardener I don’t know how anything survives.  Oh, well. On to the new variety I bought, Sunrise, and here’s to a beautiful new variety next year.  I like it because the pale green-yellow should nicely complement the Rudbeckia.  We’ll see.

Oh, see how the globe is already starting to dry up?  It’s green and will turn a nice gold color instead of the more typical nondescript dark color.

I also want to mention some other excellent nurseries I use around the area. We usually go to Hardin’s Nursery and Greenhouse near South Shore, Kentucky for our seeds and to South Ashland Florist and Greenhouse in Ashland for Christmas garlands and plants. Everyone’s helpful and pleasant at both places.  Anyone else remember going to Lynd’s Hardware and Seed on Greenup Avenue in Ashland? I only remember Joe Lynd as an old man, and I think he closed shop in the 80s.  It had a nice old-fashioned feel to the place.

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