Thursday, September 24, 2009

Setting Sail

My husband and I are off to sail the Greek isles with two of our dear friends. I cannot wait to share with you my pictures! A special thanks goes to out to my wonderful house sitters, thank you!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Garden Leftovers and Spicy Globe Basil!

Before I go on a trip, I try very hard to leave no stone unturned, all gardens must be weeded, all laundry done and the fridge emptied. Since we are being drowned by continuous showers, I was forced to try to accomplish the inside tasks. After checking off the laundry,it was time to try and put some creativity into dinner. The vegetables picked yesterday from the garden combined with the little bit of food in the fridge resulted in pretty good fare. I did venture out in the rain to get the Spicy Globe Basil, and it made the meal.

Here are the resulting recipes.

I had two containers of grape and cherry tomatoes from the garden. I put them on a roasting pan, sprinkled with salt and mixed them with about 1/4 cup of good olive oil. I then roasted them in the oven at 350 degrees for about 60 minutes. Upon taking the tomatoes out of the oven, I lightly covered them with Spicy Globe Basil. The smell was intoxicating!

I had several green peppers and onions. I sauteed the onions in olive oil till soft, then added the green peppers and the last of this season's tomatoes. I also added one small neglected zucchini, a pinch of salt and pepper.

After the sauce had "melted down" I placed two fresh salmon fillets in the pan and steamed the salmon in the mixture till flaky. My husband loved the salmon , he plied the roasted tomatoes on top and devoured it!

I made wheat pasta and mixed in the roasted tomatoes and a ladle full of the sauce from the salmon concoction,a couple tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese on top pulled it all together.

One last glance into the fridge tells me tomorrow's meal may be really tricky!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Rosemary and Family

is the herb sacred
to remembrance
and therefore, to friendship"

Sir Thomas Moore

Friday night I hosted an outdoor Greek Party.

It was a celebration of my son's marriage a year ago(they went to Greece on their honeymoon) plus my husband and I are going with long time great friends to Greece. We are sailing around the Greek Isles on a Tall Sails Ship. We are so excited about this adventure!!

We ate out on the back porch with " Mama Mia" playing in the background. The food was wonderful and my son's wife and her mother contributed great salads and desserts.

I think the biggest hit was the lamb. It was a major hurtle for me to cook lamb, as I had sheep previously and loved the babies so much! Everyone loved the lamb and I took some to my Mother who has always loved lamb, she could not believe the taste as well. I must admit, I still have not tasted it, my baby lambs...Garlic and Chives are too fresh in my memories. The recipe is from Ina Garten, it is wonderful.....enjoy.

Marinated Lamb Kebabs

1 lb plain yogurt( I used lowfat)
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup lemon zest
5 tablespoons fresh whole rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 pounds top round lamb
1 red onion

Combine the yogurt, olive oil, lemon zest, and juice, rosemary, salt, and pepper in a non-reactive bowl. Add the lamb, making sure it is covered with the marinade, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for up to 2 days.

Cut the lamb in 1 1/2 inch cubes.
Cut the red onion in 8 pieces and separate each piece into 3 or 4 sections. Loosely thread 3 or 4 pieces of lamb onto the skewers alternately with the sections of onion. Sprinkle both sides of the lamb cubes with salt and pepper. Place the skewers on the hot grill and cook for 10 to 15 minutes turning 2 to 3 times, until the lamb is medium- rare.

Recipe from Ina Garten

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Remembering Mary

Mary Travers of the band Peter,Paul and Mary passed away today. I was all set to blog about Rosemary,which happens to be the herb for remembrance, but Mary's death stirred so many thoughts from my past that I thought it only appropriate to have a post dedicated to her.

I had a guitar when I was young and the first song I could play was 500 miles(that may have been the only song I could play). I used to sing "Puff" to my babies and "Where have all the Flowers gone" is a song dear to my heart. Can you tell I was a 70's college student?

So for tonight just browse through my blog and listen to my tribute to Mary and think of all of the joy that Mary's words brought to our lives.
*Image from ernolaszlo.files.wordpress

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Today I spent a couple hours cutting the heads off my garlic chives. It is a very important task, that if I neglected to do, I would end up with 20 acres of Garlic Chives. I do love the blooms, they appear late in August when so few new blossoms are emerging, plus they provide a crisp accent to the late Fall Garden. The trick is to eliminate the blossom before it goes t0 seed. I took this opportunity to give all the chive plants a haircut. It made my garden look orderly, if only for a short time!

Since I already had the smell of garlic infused into my hands, I cut up some fresh young leaves and used them on our baked potatoes! Plus as an added bonus, I made some chive butter and served it on warm french bread.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Garden Party

You are cordially invited to be my guest at the garden party being hosted here.

The Consummate Hostess and I worked together to create a Dinner in Garden Party for her Saturday Soiree series. Enjoy!

P.S. If the pictures of the garden look familiar that is because they are my own!
*Image source unknown

Friday, September 11, 2009


Two wonderful ladies celebrated their birthdays at Blitz Builders this last week. As a special birthday treat, I made lunch for everyone. I used Basil as my theme herb and made delicious goodies for us to eat! After we ate all we could, I packed up the food and sent it home with the birthday ladies!!

Double the pleasure! Here are the recipes.

Roasted Tomato Soup with Parmesan Crisps

Use the previous post recipe for roasting tomatoes.
Saute 1 cup chopped onions in 2 Tb ls Olive Oil in a large pot for about 7 minutes. Stir in 2 cups water, 2 t sugar, 1/2 t kosher salt,1/4 tsp red pepper flakes and the roasted tomato mix. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat and cook for 10 minutes or so. Puree the soup,( I use an immersion blender) until smooth or to your liking! Finish soup by blending in 1/2 cup heavy cream. Sometimes I add sour cream or Greek Yogurt, just to add more texture and flavor, plus I add some basil while the soup is simmering for that last zing. Then top with some additional springs of basil, I use spicy globe basil,I love the small leaves as a garnish, no chopping required.

I also add some shredded fresh parmigiano reggiano cheese or I make Parmesan Crisps.

Parmesan Crisps
1 cup cheese shredded on the large holes of a box grater. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, make small piles of cheese and bake at 325 degrees for about 7 to 8 minutes. Allow to cool and then they easily peel off into wafers. Serve with soup.

Basil Chicken Salad
In a medium bowl combine 4 cups diced cooked chicken( I roast the chicken with skin on in the oven with some olive oil , salt and pepper. After cooked and cooled, I remove the skin and shred) Then mix it with 1 rib minced celery,1/4 cup chopped fresh basil,1/4 cup slivered almonds. In a small bowl combine1/2 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup mayo,1 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice,1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Add all together and gently mix. Then chill .

**Recipe From Paula Dean

Caprice Salad
Fresh tomatoes sliced (I love to use different colors of tomatoes), then layer slices of the tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese and basil. I use Paul Newman's' s herb vinaigrette or make my own and marinate the dish for a couple hours. For added crunch top with pine nuts.

I also made the Broccoli/Cauliflower Salad that I posted earlier.

All topped off with fresh zucchini bread and blueberry scones(recipes to be posted later). Lastly, of course I gave both ladies freshly planted herbs.

Then back to the business of selling buildings! Look us up:

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Roasted Tomatoes

This summer has not been the best tomato year for my garden. We have had a really cool,
wet growing season, plus I missed out on the opportunity to buy Heirloom's .

Par for the course, I did have a healthy collection of yellow and red cherry and grape tomatoes, which has allowed me to do what I love best, roast tomatoes! When I roast these little gems, I use them for Roasted Tomato Soup, a topping on chicken or any other dish, or just smothered with Sweet Basil.

I use many different recipes for roasting tomatoes, here is a basic one. Please be creative, don't be afraid to experiment with different herbs as the options are endless.

Roasting Tomatoes
I use whatever tomatoes I have ready to harvest in the garden. I will often line a cookie sheet pan with foil and then size the tomatoes for easy roasting. For example, I cut Roma tomatoes in half and line them on the pan cut side up.When using Cherry or Grape tomatoes I often cut them in half or just roast them whole. I generally place about 6 smashed garlic gloves in with the tomatoes and season them with salt and black pepper and then add about 1/4 cup olive oil. I roast the tomatoes at 400 degrees for about an hour.

At this point, I have so many options, just a few are as follows:

Add fresh basil and eat as a side dish
Make into Roasted Tomato Soup
Freeze for future use
Make into sauce and use on chicken, beef or rice.

In my next blog, I will share one of my favorite usages for roasted tomatoes, Roasted Tomato Soup!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Sunshine Sunflowers

When I was in Italy last summer, I was mesmerized by the fields of Sunflowers...all turning their happy faces towards the sun!!! I may not have fields but I love my sunflowers and so do all the birds.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Thyme for Cookies

Today I made a batch of Lemon Thyme Cookies, one of my favorites... Lemon Thyme grows freely on my back patio, in fact it seems to enjoy popping up in the small creek stones. At a later time I will go to the growth patterns and habits of this historically signatificant herb, but for now just enjoy this fun cookie!

Lemon Thyme Cookies
1 cup buuter
1 1/2  cup sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp cream of tarter
1/2 tsp salt
5 TBLS Fresh  Lemon Thyme or 3 TBLS dried

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs and mix well. Sift  flour,cream of tarter and salt. Stir flour mix into butter, sugar and eggs until well blended. Add lemon thyme. Refrigerate overnight. Preheat  oven to 350. Roll into to 1" balls and bake on greased cookie sheet 10 min.


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