Archive for the ‘Herbs in the kitchen’ Category

Hardy fall vegetables


2014
11.06

Big beautiful leeks, leafy chard, sweet baby carrots are still in the garden.

chard, leeks

Pot of Gold chard, is a garden show off now that the weather has cooled. The big leafy plants are not bitter. Photo PBH

 

There are also some young kale, broccoli and, cauliflower plants still in the garden. The plants are slow-growing and may not have time to make before the cold weather settles in. I’ll harvest the young kale leaves.

Read more:  Cool season crops organic Swiss Chard

Build a bed this fall. Get a jump or the spring garden season. Try  simple wood framed easy raised bed. Build the basic garden this fall. Get a jump on next spring’s garden.

Raised beds are a quick start for new gardeners

Baby kale is sweet and crisp.

Read more:  Cool season crops organic Swiss Chard

 Kale

The baby kale will be part of Zuppa Toscana, an Italian potato soup with sausage and kale. It’s one of the many soups collected on the Bread and Soup board on my Pinterest .

Add kale in the last minutes of simmering so it will stay bright and green.

 

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Sweet baby carrots

Carrots

Little carrots still have time to grow bigger and sweeter.

Little carrots still have time to grow bigger and sweeter.

Daucus carota. There are lots of carrots out there in the garden. They are sweet, orange and about three inches long. I’m curious, they have been thinned and are growing faster than anything else.

I’ll just watch and see how long they keep growing. Carrots as a fall crop are new in my garden. I’ll sow more carrots in the spring.

A packet of carrot seed has about a gazillion seed. Buy it and you will have enough for two crops a year. There are dozens of varieties.  You can get a generous packet of carrot seed for two bucks at Nichols Garden Nursery

I pulled up some short fat carrots, Chantenay Red Core Carrot, I think. It’s an old heirloom and it is growing well in my Southeast Missouri garden. They take up so little space in the garden.  Try to grow carrots if haven’t.

There's lots of parsley in the garden this fall.

There’s lots of parsley in the garden this fall.

Parsley

Parsley is loaded with vitamin C. It’s a real asset in chicken soup. I’ll add a heaping helping in the last minutes of simmering.

Some parsley will stay in the garden because it is a biannual and will appear early in the spring. It will flower and go to seed in the second year.

Calendula

Calendula

Calendula

And finally, perky little blooms are hard to come by in November. Calendula, “Flashback” is a volunteer. They frequently self seed. Anywhere this colorful plant appears, it’s welcomed to stay. This bright orange bloom brings pollinators to the garden.

Yaya

Yaya

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Scarlet Nantes

 

Baltimore

Baltimore

More information:

Grow 2 crops of carrots this season

How to grow long straight carrots

Nichols Garden Nursery – Fine Seeds & Herbs. Has some good carrot growing tips. Plus, they have 11 varieties of carrots. several good varieties that are under $2 a packet. I may have slightly exaggerated in saying there are a gazillion seeds in a packet.

There are approximately 18,500 carrot seeds per ounce or 650 seeds per gram.

 In the soup pot today: Washed and coarsely chopped chunks of  these Leeks, kale, carrots, onions, oregano, garlic, parsley and rosemary are simmering in a big pot destined to be a vegetable broth by tomorrow. Beef, chicken, or vegetable both will make any soup brighter, adding another levels of taste.

When cooking a chicken for chicken soup, cook it in your homemade broth instead of water. The resulting golden chicken broth is the best. Really. I mean it. Double broth may have originally come from heaven.

Becky’s Flowers


2013
10.22
delivered October 22, 2013

Borage (Borago officinalus)

An herb, borage is a sun-loving annual that reseeds from one year to the next. Once it is established, borage may be returning to your garden every spring. Even though it is an annual, it freely reseeds.

IMG_4194

Find two or three colors on one plant. Photo by Patsy Bell Hobson

Each plant has dozens of blooms continuously all summer and until frost. In my garden, it tends to sprawl and reaches a foot or two in height. I love the periwinkle-blue blooms, a few of the flowers are pink, lavender and, rarely white.

borage bud

The dill and borage grow tall, perfect in the back of the herb garden border. Photo by Patsy Bell Hobson

Borage flowers are Becky’s flowers today, each plant is a bouquet of  colored blooms.

The blooms are edible. Sometimes flowers are served on tea sandwiches, the taste is a mild hint of cucumber flavor. They can garnish a salad or cold soup. Candied borage flowers will decorate cakes or cookies and maybe cup of  sorbet.

borage

Pale blue to a sky blue in color, the sweet 1″ flowers are beautiful served candied and decorating the tea tray.  Photo by Patsy Bell Hobson

In the garden, borage grows well in containers, bed and borders. It is a blooming delight, a little taller than many herbs, it is a good choice growing in the back of the herb bed.

It is believed to have originated in Syria, but borage has naturalized throughout most of Europe and the USA. Because it reseeds easily, you often find it near abandoned farm homes and junk heaps.

Bees love borage, it may increase the amount of honey produced in the nearby hives. Leaves can be added to green salads. Add sprigs to wine, cider or tea. Borage is a good companion plant for strawberries.

*Becky Funke is in a hospital that does not allow flowers in the rooms. So, not to be deterred, I’ll send them on Pinterest. You can stop by her CaringBridge site to leave well wishes and get updates. The girls, her 3 beautiful daughters, keep the site up to date. 

Enjoy! 

 

Winter comes to Cape


2012
12.31

WinterBluSpruceThe first day after a snow is the most beautiful, isn’t it?  This snowy blue spruce has been moved so many times. It was only about 18″ tall when it was planted the first time. Now in it’s permanent home, the tree is about 5′ tall.

I've had this a little over a year. I got it out for morning coffee and a few minutes of prayer for our country and all out leaders. Do you think they can put the well fare of out country ahead of politcs?

I’ve had this a little over a year. I got it out for morning coffee and a few minutes of prayer for our country and all out leaders. Do you think they can put the well fare of out country ahead of politcs?

 

 

 

 

 

 

I forgot to pull the leeks out  of the garden before this first big snow.  Hope theywill survive under their snow blanket. I am looing forward to potato-   leek soup.  I’m stll working on a  multi allium soup recipe. Something like a 3 onion soup. However,  my recipe will still be topped with a crouton and cheese. Those French can cook! don’t cha think?

 

wintergardenThe garden is pretty with the first snow, but I feel that it wants to be blooming again. I’m still tossing around plant ideas for those chimney tiles. Any thoughts?

I love the week between Christmas and New Years. Seems like there is always time for a walk with your sweety, the occasional nap, and that little happy moment when the eggnog is finally all gone!

Well , call me or send me your phone # to  hobsondotpatsybellatgmaildotcom I lost everyons phone, so call me.

Streets and sidewalks are clear. We have plenty of coffee and tea, so come on down. There’s always a fireplace on somewhere.

 

 

 

 

Grow wild wasabi arugula


2012
11.09

Plants From Seed

Try something new this spring. photo: Renee’s Garden “Wasabi” arugula.

Something new and green that I’ll be planting come spring: wasabi arugula. It tastes  just as snappy as you might imagine. And, while you probably won’t want a salad bowl filled with it, a few leaves on a plate of fresh mixed greens is delicious.

When my seeds came in the mail, I thought the packet was empty. When I opened and looked inside the packet, it was hard to even see those tiny seed. Traditional arugula seed dwarf these teeny tiny wasabi arugula seed by comparison.

Sow sparingly every 2 or 3 weeks from the earliest date you dare plant in your area. In my zone 6 SE Missouri garden, the plant did best in spring and fall.

I encourage you to grow this tasty new arugula variety. Once it is growing  in the garden, you will think of many flavorful ways to use it in the kitchen. Add a few leaves to your own mesclun mix.

We tucked it into fish tacos, roast beef or tuna salad sandwiches, even topped a pizza with these greens as soon as it came out of the oven.

Hub pages has more information: How to grow organic arugula.

Buy the seed from Renee’s Garden. But don’t limit yourself to just one variety of arugula, I’ve tried several of Renee’s selections. My other favorite arugulas are “Rustic” and “Rustic Style.” “Wasabi” Arugula is a Renee’s Exclusive, a wild discovery that really does taste like it’s namesake.

Renee’s Garden has the best new thing in the early spring garden: “Wasabi” arugula. Photo: Renees Garden.

 

Scented or Flavored Sugars Recipe


2012
08.07

How to make Lavender or Vanilla Flavored Sugars

L-R small jar of pure sugar; middle, 4 cups of vanilla sugar, and right, lavender sugar

The last of the lavender is blooming. Bees are abuzz. They have hovered aroud the lavender all summer. Noticing the last of the blooms nudged me on make a quart  (4 cups) of lavender flavored sugar.

I always keep these flavored sugars in the kitchen cabinet. Each summer I bake a pound cake to go with the season’s berries. Substitute lavender sugar for regular sugar in your favorite recipe. Or try Paula Deens Pound Cake recipe.

Pollinators frequent the lavender from the first bloom to the last.

Vanilla Sugar
Vanilla sugar is also easy to make. Substitute vanilla scented sugar in any cake or cookie recipe. It is also good in ice cream recipes.

Vanilla Sugar Recipe
Break whole vanilla bean pod in three or four pieces and distribute throughout a quart canning jar filled with white sugar. Wait 3 or 4 weeks for the vanilla to infuse the sugar. I buy spices from Penzey’s.

I’m making lavender sugar and vanilla sugar. Scented sugar or flavored sugars add another level of flavor to your recipes. It’s my secret ingredient and a sweet and suttle accent to baked goods.

Lavender Sugar
I’m collecting half a dozen lavender flowers to make lavender sugar. A little goes a long way. Lavender can quickly overpower the food it is meant to flavor. Lavender scented sugar adds just a hint of floral flavor.

Lavender Sugar Recipe

Three stems of fresh lavender flowers will infuse the 4 cups of sugar.

To make your own lavender sugar, add three or four whole flower heads in layers as you fill a pint jar with white sugar. Seal and wait two weeks to use the sugar. Test the flavor after the first week. Use a teaspoon of dried culinary flowers if fresh lavender is not available.

Using lavender sugar instead of lavender flowers in baking will add the light touch that will accent a recipe, not overpower it. Sift out the lavender flowers before adding the sugar to the recipe.

Use scented sugar in pound cake and/or the glaze. Substitute lavender sugar for regular white sugar in any baking recipe. Try lavender sugar cookies or blueberry muffins made with scented sugar.

Make scented sugars your secret ingredient. Adding vanilla extract to your baking is optional if you are using scented sugars. Also, try cinnamon stick or fresh mint leaves. If you have pesticide-free roses, make rose flavored sugar.

Make More

If your cake recipe calls for 2 Cups of sugar measure out what you need and sift out nd flower bits. Refill the quart jar with more regular. Tighten the lid and gently shake or roll the jar to mix the new and remaining flavored sugars.

Let your taste or smell be the judge about when to replace the herbs or spices. I bake very rarely, so I refresh the herbs or spices in a quart jar once each year. Wait two weeks to infuse  the additional sugar.

Todays Harvest Basket


2012
08.01

July 13, 2012

tomatoes, cucumber, squash, hot peppers.

This horrible heat has caused the tomatoes to stop blooming.  Tomatoes are suffering, even though I am watering the tomato plants. It is just too hot to bloom or produce fruit. Even when we get a temperature drop, it will take 5 week to produce a tomato. It takes about 3 weeks for the tomato to grow and then 2 more weeks for the big ones to ripen.

Today I harvested the ingredients, along with the home grown onions and garlic, for ratatouille.

I have loads of tomato information on Pinterest Tomato Everything

On Hubpages  Read My Hubpages about saving seed and tomatoes.

Hubs like this one: What causes tomatoes to crack?

Top Tomato Tips: When Size Matters

Why hot tomatoes stop growing

Sungold tomato. photo: PBH

This tangerine colored cherry tomato is little and the sweetest tomato I’ve ever eatin. This is the only tomato that I will for sure have in the garden next year.

 

Homemade Buttermilk Dressing (ranch dressing)


2012
07.30

I am a herb gardener. Herbs are thriving in this summer heat. Since fresh tastes best.

This is my version of Ranch Dressing.

Homemade Buttermilk Dressing (ranch dressing) with fresh herbs

Use fresh herbs when you have them. Substitute Penzeys Fox Point seasoning for onions and garlic.

1 cup mayonnaise or Greek yogurt (low or fat-free may be used)

1 cup buttermilk (low-fat is ok)

juice of ½ lemon

1 small clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

salt & freshly ground black pepperto taste

Combine yogurt and lemon in a pint Mason jar. Add garlic,chives, parsley and, dill. Pour in half the butter milk. Whisk or shake all ingredients are well blended. (Or I use an emersion blender.)

Continue adding up to ½ cup of buttermilk until dressing is the desired consistency. (I use 1 whole cup of buttermilk.)

Makes 1 pint. Keeps for a week in the fridge. Always shake before using.

Note the expiration date on the buttermilk and let that date be your expiration for this Ranch Dressing. Always shake before using.

If you use fat free yogurt instead of mayo, the dressing is still creamy and now low fat salad dressing. Try it. I prefer it with yogurt because you can not tell the difference.

Mix ingredients in a bowl or jar.

Use these dried herbs in winter or to make a gift mixes.

Dry Ranch Mix

1/2 cup instant minced onion
1/4 cup onion salt
1/4 cup garlic salt
1/4 cup onion powder
1/4 cup garlic powder

2 cups dry parsley flakes
2 tablespoons dry dill weed

Measure first five ingredients, minced onion, onion salt, garlic salt, onion powder and garlic powder, into a blender or food processor and blend until combined. Stir in parsley and dill. Store and keep mix dry. A Mason jar or freezer bag work well. Label and include instructions for dressing or dip. Label it. You think you will remember, but you won’t.

Include these instructions on the gift tag:

Buttermilk Dressing

1 cup plain yogurt (or mayonnaise)

1 cup of buttermilk

juice of ½ lemon

2 Tablespoons Dry Ranch Mix

Combine 2 Tablespoons dry mix, one cup plain Greek yogurt, lemon and one cup buttermilk. Allow flavors to blend for at least an hour in the fridge before using.

The original recipe called for mayo instead of yogurt but I pinky swear you will not be able to tell the difference.

If you make ranch chicken, ranch dip, ranch potatoes, ranch flavored oyster crackers or, ranch burgers, substitute this recipe for the packaged recipe with too much salt, msg, and other unpronounceable ingredients.

Sliced tomato with buttermilk dressing.

This is how to share with the Ranch Dressing store bought bottled users:

At “pass the ranch.”  give him your homemade version.

There is no need to  discuss that half the calories are missing, most of the salt and fat are gone. AFTER he says he likes it Then you can tell him.

Bluecheese crumbles and chopped basil.  photo PBH.

 

 

Homemade Buttermilk Dressing with blue cheese and basil.

Start with 1/4 cup blue cheese and 1 tablespoon of basil. Taste, adjust cheese and herbs.

Raised beds and high hopes


2012
07.06

Tomatoes

I have raised beds and high hopes for Southeast Missouri garden, zone 6A. We are still a couple of weeks away from the juicy giant tomato of my dreams.

“Do you want a tomato sandwich?” I yelled out the back door last summer.

“Tomato sandwich? You mean without the Bacon?” Jules replied.

This was an un paralleled act of generosity on my part. I was offering to share the first big red, ripe tomato of the summer.

Jules won’t come in for a lunch-time tomato sandwich.  He will come in for a Bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich.

Let’s share our tomato favorites throughout the season. Leave a comment, please.

Indigo Rose Saladette tomato. photo PBH

I have a new raised bed that is 4 ft square and I plan to see just how much I can produce in this small space. My point is that we can have fresh home-grown produce in the space of an apartment balcony, or a suburban front porch.

I’m growing great tomatoes in a 5 gallon bucket. Plus, there is room to tuck in a basil plant, some thyme or, some chives.

I am also growing a brand new tomato, Indigo Blue. It is a saladette tomato, meaning bigger than a cherry tomato but smaller than a Celebrity. Saladette is a GIANT Cherry or a really small beefsteak.

All my garden seed is from:

Renee’s Garden

Baker Creek Heirloom Seed

Nichols Seeds

Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

Green Beans, bugs and bunnies


2012
07.02

Garden Report 2012

Green Beans are a summer favorite I seldom eat in winter. Because as you know, everything tastes better home grown and garden fresh.

This recipe is made from last summers dried tomatoes and pesto. This summers green beans and onions. photo: PBH

Green Beans

Green beans are grown from Renee’s Garden seed. I pulled the onions from my garden the last week of June. At first the beans were being eaten up by bugs and bunnies.

The bunnies came and went. Bigger gardens next door or a neighborhood full of cats and dogs sent the bunnies on their way. Repeated Safer’s Soap sprays slowed down the bugs.

I’m growing “Tricolor Bush” and “Tricolor Pole”. Why bush and pole? because the pole beans are ready about a week after the bush beans. I’ll keep replanting beans and hopefully get another crop or two here in Missouri.

We love pickled green beans. These long straight beans are meant to be stuffed into tall skinny jars and pickled. They are refrigerator pickles, meant to be eaten fresh out of the jar. My crisp pickled beans are not cooked by the long process of canning.

Maybe we will have enough to freeze a few of these three colors of long straight green beans. The multi colored beans are beautiful in winter time vegetable soup.

Earlier this summer I grew a great crop of French, “Rolande” bush beans. Extra-slim,

“Roland” is a “haricot vert” of filet bean. Pick them and cook them. These straight, skinny beans are tender and need very little cooking.

long and deep green filet or “haricot vert” snap beans. These are a long, skinny French bean that does very well in my zone 6A home garden.

They grew in a square 4′ x 4′ garden. Every week for four weeks I planted another quarter of the garden. It kept us in fresh beans and a bit more to share with Neighbor Patty.

They are extra-crispy, making it possible for Jules and I to come to a middle ground in the kitchen. One of us likes Southern style “cooked to death” green beans and the other likes the California style “crispy and full of vitamins” version.

Green Beans are meant for sucession planting. Planting one patch and a little later planting a few more beans will stretch out fresh green bean season spring to fall. The best way is to plant a few beans, or part of a row every week.

When the first plants are finished producing beans, cut them down, mow them or, snip off the plants. Replant that spot again with more green beans.  If you want to freeze or can a lot of beans at once, this method is not for you.

If I have a few too many green beans, I can share them with the neighbor. Or, it is quick to blanch and freeze a quart size plastic zipper lock bag of green beans. Next, I’ll plant cow peas.

Onions

Had to do a little research on how to harvest and store onions because I’ve never had much luck growing them before. It was not a great crop. But the variety of onions were so much more successful than ever before.

Red onions are still in the ground. As are the leeks and shallots. Garlic was lifted mid June.

Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis


2011
12.19

There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.” – Shakespeare’s Hamlet to Ophelia

RosemaryRosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis) – Christians referred to rosemary the “Holy Herb,” associated with Mary, who, according to Spanish legend, draped her cloak over a rosemary bush on the Holy Family’s flight to Egypt, turning the color of the blossoms from white to blue.

Rosemary was once used by the poor or lower classes as a substitute for expensive frankincense or myrrh-based incense in ancient Greece and Rome. Before the advent of modern medicine rosemary was burned, along with juniper berries, as a disinfectant in French hospitals.

Romantically, rosemary’s legend grew in the 14th century, when 72-year-old Queen Elizabeth of Hungary used rosemary as a medicine for her rheumatism and gout. Her potion of rosemary and lavender supposedly so enhanced her health and beauty that it fanned the passions of the 26-year-old King of Poland, who requested her hand in marriage. The potion became known as Budapest or Hungary water and was the beauty aide of choice for women for hundreds of years.

Rosemary for cooking, a favorite winter herb, I use it fresh and dried. One of my favorite ways to cook with rosemary is to put a sprig in the body cavity of a game hen before roasting. Or, drizzle a little olive oil over new potatoes or whole fingering potatoes, then sprinkle a little salt, and a few crushed rosemary leaves before baking.

Rosemary tea is made by steeping a short sprig in hot water for about 5 minutes. Or, put a teaspoon of dried rosemary in a warmed teapot and add a cup of boiling water. Steep for 5 minutes.

Medicinally, rosemary tea is said to be good for colds, flu, indigestion, headache and fatigue. It is an antioxidant, antiseptic, antidepressant, a circulatory stimulant. Rosemary is a rich source of vitamin A and vitamin C, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, and zinc. 

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