Category Archives: preserving the harvest

Herb Vinegars

Make extra for gifts

Buy this at the store and it could cost you $20. Make it at home for pennies. Plus, your custom blend always tastes better.

Finally! It’s time to fill you salad bowl with home-grown greens. I love those little bitty butter lettuces, so tender and perfect. Place the whole head of butter lettuce in each salad bowl. Get a jump on spring with this selection of lettuces.

tarragon Begin adding layers of flavor in your herb vinegar by adding more herbs as they each become plentiful. Start with a good vinegar. If it doesn’t taste good now, it won’t get any better with the addition of herbs. Stock up on your own blends of herb vinegar.

Tarragon vinegar is a popular herb vinegar and so easy to make. Start with a white wine vinegar. Only two items are required: tarragon and vinegar. More instructions are here: Make Tarragon Vinegar

Tarragon is a low growing, disorderly bright green herb. It likes full sun, well-drained soil. Adding compost in the summer and leaf mulch in the winter is all the care, this little herb needs.

Once it is well established, you have a bonus in the garden traders plant exchange. You must have a starter plant, it does not grow from seed. Rarely does it bloom, but the seeds are sterile.

Fines herbes

Fines Herbes – parsley, tarragon, chervil, chives. A beautiful herb combination for a container garden near the kitchen door. photo by Patsy Bell Hobson.

Tarragon, (Artemisia dracunculus

You must have tarragon or you can’t make Béarnaise sauce, channel Julia Child, or cook like a French chef. Buy a starter plant. It’s lovely and fragrant. Say hi to Julia for me.

Becky’s Flowers

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! 

 

It’s Peach (Bellini) Season!

Choose sweet, ripe peaches and crisp, dry champagne

Bellini is this summer's patio drink at the historic Hobson Estate.

Bellini is this summer’s patio drink at the historic Hobson Estate. Photo by Patsy Bell Hobson

In Italy, the Bellini is made with Prosecco, the Italian sparkling wine. Elsewhere, Bellini is a champagne cocktail.

A Bellini requires only two ingredients: champagne (or prosecco) and peaches. Created in the 1930s or 1940s by bartender Giuseppe Cipriani at Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy. He named the drink for his favorite painter, Giovanni Bellini.

Bellinis are 1 part peach puree and 3 parts prosecco.

Directions – Peel, chop, fruit and discard the pit. Puree the freshest, ripest chopped peaches. Start with two small or one large peach. Puree then sweeten to taste with stevia or sugar. I use a homemade peach butter. (made like apple butter or applesauce only with peaches.)

Pour enough peach puree into glass to fill ¼ of the champagne flute. Slowly add champagne. Stir gently. Garnish with a peach slice or mint leaves. Makes two cocktails. Enjoy!

Champagne Cocktails

Sweet peaches and dry champagne. The Bellini is a celebration of summer's best. Photo by PBH.

Sweet peaches and dry champagne. The Bellini is a celebration of summer’s best. Photo by PBH.

When we stopped at Les Bourgeois Vineyards on a sunny, summer afternoon, a glass of bubbly seemed in order.  We had Brut, a cheese plate, and enjoyed the bluff top view of the Missouri River.  We ended up buying several bottles, and bringing home the key bellini ingredient, Les Bourgeois Brut.

I’ll use the Brut from Les Bourgeois Vineyards for Bellinis. At last, I found an affordable version of Missouri-made champagne.

Here is what Les Bourgeois has to say about Brut: “Using primarily Vidal grapes gives the methode traditionale sparkling wine a refreshing aroma with a crisp effervescence and dry finish.” All I know is that it is the best made-in-Missouri version of champagne I’ve ever tasted.

Go to: Les Bourgeois Vineyards – 14020 W. Highway BB – Rocheport, MO 65279 – 1.800.690.1830

More cocktails

Create your own signature cocktails by combining any of summers best berries or stone fruit. Just use the same proportion of fruit to  prosecco. Try strawberries, blueberries, nectarines or plums. Some fruits are sweeter than others, so sweeten fruit purees to taste.

More about peaches

and the recipe for home made  Peach champagne jam

A beautiful cheese plate adds to the celebratory nature of champagne.

A beautiful cheese plate adds to the celebratory nature of champagne at Les Bourgeois Vineyards. Photo by PBH.

It’s Peach Season!

A fresh, juicy taste of summer

Peach season is short and sweet - possibly stretching to six weeks. Photo: Patsy Bell Hobson

Peach season is short and sweet – possibly stretching to six weeks. Photo: Patsy Bell Hobson

This is my favorite Peach Jam Recipe. It turned out great last year, so I’m making it again this year. I made little jars of jam and shared it with neighbor Patti. She loved it and returned the two empty jars within a couple of weeks.

Peach champagne jam

4 cups peaches, peeled, pitted, and chopped
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 T. Ball flex batch powdered pectin
2 T. bottled lemon juice
1 cup champagne*

This year, I'm making two batches. Photo: Patsy Bell Hobson

This year, I’m making two batches. Photo: Patsy Bell Hobson

Prepare four half pint jars by sterilizing.
Add sliced peaches to stainless steel or enamel cast iron pot. Cook on low stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes. Using an immersion blender or potato masher crush the peaches till the recipe is smooth. Add the sugar and lemon juice. Bring the temperature to medium, stirring constantly to bring the mixture slowly to a boil. Note: The jam with splatter like a volcano erupting so where an apron.

Once at a boil add champagne and stir for about one minute then add the pectin. Bring mixture back to a boil which will happen quickly and keep at a boil for one minute continuing to stir. Remove from heat.

Immediately ladle peach jam into jars leaving 1/4″ headspace. Wipe rims and add hot lids/rings and process in water bath for 10 minutes at a full rolling boil.

Try this champagne cocktail recipe: Bellinis using sweet, fresh and local peaches.

BTW, I’ve tried several canning recipes from this site. Each one turned out perfectly and was loved by all. Canning Homemade! Sustainable Living and Preserving the Future!

* I used Brut from Les Bourgeois Vineyards  – 14020 W. Highway BB – Rocheport, MO 65279 – 1.800.690.1830 It’s the best Missouri version of champagne that I have tasted.

Caramel Apple Layer Cake

with Apple Cider Frosting

I found this recipe on Pinterest. But first, I made the applesauce and then, I made the caramel sauce. Finally, I made  Caramel Apple Layer Cake with Apple Cider Frosting from the web A Hint Of Honey.com

Caramel Apple Layer Cake with Apple Cider Frosting    photo: PBH

No, funny girl, I did not grow the apples or press the apple cider. Missouri has a wide variety of apples. When Missouri apples appear each fall, we are in for weeks of fresh, crisp apples. Learn everything about Missouri Apples here. The Missouri Apple web site at the University of Missouri includes recipes, storage, locations of orchards, nutritions and cultivars.

You will learn that about 46% of the apples grown in Missouri are Jonathan, 32% Red Delicious, 10% are Golden Delicious, 5% are Gala apples, and the other 7% are other cultivars such as Rome, Empire, Fuji, Winesap, and Paula Red.

I’ll make this Caramel Apple Layer Cake with Apple Cider Frosting for Thanksgiving. It’s very moist and will keep well, in the rare event that there are leftovers.

I’m on Pinterest. The recipe sites for applesauce, caramel, and this fabulous apple layer cake are on Apple Everything.

Todays Harvest Basket Sept 18, 2012

Todays Harvest Basket Sept 18, 2012

End of the garden vegetables. A few green beans that haven’t been eaten up by the bugs. They will be steamed and served with lemon and chives. (RG)

Peppers are beautiful but smaller than usual this year.

The red peppers are Red Cheese, sweet and mild. So called because at one time the red pepper was used to color the wax used to coat cheese. (BC)

The black peppers are just barely hot Black Hungarian. Thinned walled (BC)

I picked a couple dozen TAM jalapeno. These peppers have the flavor of jalapeno but are with less heat. I’ll use some of these to make a bottle of pepper vinegar. (BC)

The yellow pepper is called Ozark Giant. It is big, thick walled, sweet and juicy. (BC)

A couple of beautiful Gold Medal tomatoes, also much smaller than usual. When sliced, these tomatoes are a beautiful gold yellow with red centers. Gold Medal is an heirloom with that rich  tomato flavor. (BC)

Riesentraube Tomatoes are the 30 or 40 sweet red 1-oz fruit (BC)  An excellent salad tomato and I have dried hundreds of these tomatoes this year. This winter they will go into soups, stew and chili. (BC)

There are some small eggplants that will be become a simple version of ratatouille to serve over pasta. There are three small eggplants in the upper right corner of the basket. The leaves of this plant are lacy with so many flea beetle holes. (RG)

Ozark Giant

Hungarian Black

Red Cheese

 

(RG) = Renee’s Garden

(BC) = Baker Creek Heirloom Seed

Spiced peach cobbler

It’s peach season! I ate half of my entire peach crop in one setting. The squirrel ate the other one. So, these peaches are from the local orchard.  Just across the Mississippi River is Cobden Illinois, famous for their peaches.

The region if known for the wine trails. Cobden also grows some of the best apples and peaches. photo by PBH

Though it is an easy drive, we like to make our trip to the peach orchard a get away weekend.  We love staying at Makanda Inn B&B, 855 Old Lower Cobden Road, Makanda, Illinois 62958. Southern Illinois newest bed and breakfast located in the heart of the Shawnee Wine Trail.

Robin Sue of Big Red Kitchen says “This is my go-to Peach Cobbler recipe. It has never let me down. This dish is very moist, super fast to make, and wonderful served warm with vanilla ice cream, perfect for summer cook-outs.”

Miss Jean’s Peach Cobbler  Cooks and recipe collectors on Pinterest wil love her Big Red Kitchen boards.

So rich and buttery, just a bit of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream will do. photo by PBH

I made this recipe, except I added a touch of spice: ½ teaspoon each cinnamon and nutmeg and the tiniest pinch of ground cloves.

This is my version of Miss Jean’s Peach Cobbler. It sounds like one of those great 70’s recipes we loved before we were told butter is bad. You know those kind of dump cakes that amazed us when they really worked?

Spiced Peach Cobbler

4 cups fresh peaches sliced and sweetened if necessary
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 pinch ground cloves
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup sugar
1 stick butter, melted

Set oven to 350. Put stick of butter in a 9×13 inch pan. Set pan in oven for a minute or until butter is melted. Remove from oven.
Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Mix combined dry ingredients with milk and sugar until smooth.
Pour batter over melted butter.
Put peaches and any juices on top.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.
Let set at least 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

My recipe is adapted from Miss Jean’s Peach Cobbler

To read more about Makanda Inn go to Striped Pot: The Makanda Inn B&B Learn more about the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail.

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