Roses in December
Monday, December 7, 2009
Roses in December
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Hitting the Wall
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
Clove Pink - The herb of Shakespeare
Your photo looks like a very primitive, single carnation, especially the foliage, but I suppose it could be one of the other Dianthus. I can almost smell the spicy fragrance from down here below the border.
a quick internet search of "gillyflower" brings up a Encyclopedia
Britannica article: "any of several scented flowering plants,
especially the carnation, or clove pink (Dianthus caryophyllus), stock
(Matthiola incana), and wallflower (Cheiranthus cheiri). However, the
gillyflower of Chaucer, Spenser, and Shakespeare was the carnation."
your image is specifically that of the pink, though.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
GOOSEBERRY This Week's Featured Herb
Lemon-Lime Gooseberry Cordial
This is an adult lemonade. Sharp and fragrant with citrus and sugar lingering on the tongue, it makes the perfect mix for summer cocktails at the pool, barbeque or deck.
Makes 4 cups 1 L
4 cups gooseberries
1 L water
Juice of 1 lime
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup chopped fresh lemon verbena
4 cups caster sugar
1. In a Maslin pan or canning kettle, combine the gooseberries, water, lime, lemon juice and lemon verbena. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Stir in the sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The gooseberries should be soft.
2. Remove from the heat and pass through a colander, pressing down firmly on the fruit with the back of a wooden spoon. Pour the syrup into a clean jar with a tight-fitting lid and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
Serve: mix with carbonated mineral water in a 1/4: 1 ratio.
Friday, July 24, 2009
ANGELICA- this week's NTH
Monday, July 20, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
Bay is one of my favorite herbs because with its sweet, slightly pungent balsamic aroma and spikes of nutmeg and camphor, the beauty of cooking with bay is that it releases its flavor slowly, so that it is an essential herb for slow, long cooking techniques. That's why I call it one of the Big Tastes- it hangs in there for the long haul, not like some of the other more delicate herbs that are really flash-in-the-pan tastes.
Indeed, stocks, soups, stews, sauces, marinades, stuffing and pickles benefit from the addition of fresh or dried bay leaves. Garnishing cooked or cold-pressed paté or terrines with a leaf or two infuses the spicy essence of the Mediterranean, its native homeland. Fish dishes are enhanced by the combination of bay and fennel; lamb and other robust meats may be stewed or grilled with bay as a key ingredient; bay adds the characteristic flavor to béchamel sauce; tomatoes, oregano, thyme and bay are the foremost ingredients in tomato sauce; bay is a popular herb used to flavor wines; and it is positively brilliant in baked bean and lentil dishes.
Boquet Garni is the French name for a bundle of cooking herbs tied together with string and used to flavor slow-cooked dishes. Whole fresh sprigs and leaves are preferred but dried herbs are a practical option. The traditional Boquet Garni combination is thyme, parsley and bay. Often the sprigs of thyme and parsley are wrapped in a large bay leaf, tied and hung to dry and stored in a cool, dark place for using throughout the winter months.
Sweet dessert dishes also benefit from the addition of bay. Custard, poached fruit, sweet sauces, simple sugar syrup, and rice desserts are richly complex thanks to the addition of bay.
Bay complements the following herbs in foods:
I have found that many supermarkets are now selling fresh leaves in the produce section, so look there first–besides being more flavorful, the fresh will be larger and less expensive than dried bay in a jar. Fresh leaves store best if wrapped in a moistened tea towel and placed in a sealed plastic bag on the door of the refrigerator. Fresh leaves need to be rubbed or crushed to release their aromatic compounds. Eventually the fresh leaves will dry. Keep dried bay leaves whole in an airtight container in a cool dark place. Store dried bay leaves for one year and then replace with fresh because the essential oils dissipate over time.
Usually whole leaves are added to foods at the beginning of the cooking time and removed at the end. One or two whole leaves are enough to spice up a dish that serves 4 to 6 people. Rarely are bay leaves shredded before using, except when being used in a tea blend, because the smaller bits are too difficult to remove from the cooked dish. Even more rare is ground bay because the whole leaves flavor dishes without the trouble of grinding.
What people often overlook is Bay's big taste in desserts. Try these poached peaches with the Bay Custard and tell me what you think?
If you have any unusual ways of using bay in cooking, I sure would be happy to hear about them and post them here for other BayHeads.
Poached Peaches with Apricot Ginger Sauce
Use other fruit such as pears, nectarines, apples and plums in place of the peaches.
Makes 8 halves
1-1/2 cups apple juice
1/2 cup white wine
Half vanilla bean Half
1 3-inch licorice root, optional
1 bay leaf
4 peaches, halved and stoned
1/3 cup finely chopped dried apricots (or roughly chopped fresh)
1 tsp finely chopped candied ginger
1 cup yogurt, optional for garnish
1. In a large skillet, combine apple juice, wine, vanilla, licorice and bay. Bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Add peach halves, cut side down. Cover, reduce heat and gently simmer for 7 minutes or until peaches are crisp-tender.
2. Remove peach halves from poaching liquid, set aside. Remove and discard vanilla, licorice and bay from poaching liquid. Add apricots and ginger and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for 15 to 20 minutes or until liquid is reduced and syrupy.
3. . Arrange peaches on individual plates, spoon apricot sauce over. Garnish with yogurt if using. Serve immediately.
Infusing the milk as it heats imparts not only the flavor of the herbs but their medicinal benefits as well.
1/2 cup soy or rice milk
1 whole (3-inches) vanilla bean
1 bay leaf
1 sprig rosemary
12 oz firm ‘silken style’ tofu
1. In a small saucepan, combine milk, vanilla, bay and rosemary. Cover and bring to a light simmer over medium-low heat. Remove from heat and cool with lid on. Strain and discard vanilla, bay and rosemary.
2. In a blender or food processor, process tofu for 30 seconds or until smooth. With motor running, add infused milk through opening in the lid. Custard should be blended and smooth. Store: Cover tightly and keep in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.
Serve: Spoon over poached pears, peaches, cherries or baked apples. Pass as a sauce for gingerbread or breakfast grain dishes.
Friday, July 3, 2009
A Northern Orchid
With a limited range: Nova Scotia to Ontario in Canada, Minnesota, Alabama and Nebraska in the United States (has anyone seen them in New England?) we need to be respecting their habitat: rich woods and thickets.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Vegan Cook's Bible
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
Vegetarian Cook's Bible wins Gold
Gold: The Vegetarian Cook’s Bible, by Pat Crocker (Robert Rose)
Silver: Ten Talents: Natural Foods - A Diet from the Garden of Eden, by Rosalie Hurd, BS & Frank J. Hurd, DC, MD (Hurd Pictorial Edition)
Bronze (tie): A Good Catch: Sustainable Seafood Recipes from Canada’s Top Chefs, by Jill Lambert (Greystone) and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Raw, by Mark Reinfeld, Bo Rinaldi, and Jennifer Murray (Alpha Books/Penguin Group)
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
The Gertrude B. Foster Award
THE GERTRUDE B. FOSTER AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN HERBAL LITERATURE
The Gertrude Bates Foster Award is intended to encourage the dissemination of accurate herbal information and to recognize outstanding researchers, educators, and authors who exhibit exceptional scholarship in a published non-fiction book, which serves to inspire the “use and delight” of herbs. This award, established and funded in 1998 by the Connecticut Unit, honors Bunny (as she was known) and herpioneering role in the renaissance of herbal interest. She was known and respected in this country and abroad for her extensive contributions to the knowledge and interest in herbs and horticulture and for her generosity in sharing plant material, research, lecturing, and editorial leadership.
Selection of this recipient is done with the botany and horticulture chair, the communications chair, and the curator of The National Herb Garden serving in an advisory role.
Friday, May 29, 2009
The 'P' Garden
I'm in Grand Rapids
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Sweet Cicely the Star of this Flour-less Cake
8-inch springform pan, lined with parchment paper and lightly buttered
preheat oven to 375° F
1-1/4 cups blanched almonds
4 eggs, separated
1 cup caster sugar, divided
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sweet cicely
grated rind and juice of 3 oranges (about 1-1/4 cups juice and 3 tablespoons rind)
1 tablespoon Anisette or other anise-flavored liqueur, optional
1. Using a food processor, chop the almonds until they are coarse. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks with ½ cup of the sugar until thick. With the motor running, add the yolk mixture through the opening in the lid, processing until the mixture is thick and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the orange rind. If the mixture is too thick, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of the orange juice, until it is of batter consistency.
2. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the sugar over and beat until the peaks hold their shape. Fold half of the meringue into the almond mixture until just evenly mixed. Fold the other half into the almond mixture, being careful not to over mix in order to keep the air in the whites.
3. Spoon the almond mixture into the prepared springform pan. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until set in the center and a light golden color. Cool and transfer to a serving plate.
4. Make orange sauce: In a saucepan, combine orange juice and remaining sugar. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Adjust heat and lightly boil for 10 minutes, or until thickened slightly. Remove from the heat and stir in the liqueur if using. Drizzle the orange sauce over the top of the cake and let sit for 20 minutes or longer before serving.
5. To garnish, lay fresh sweet cicely leaves over the cake and sprinkle icing sugar or cocoa over the leaves to impart a leaf pattern. Garnish the serving plate with fresh sweet cicely leaves.