Friday, July 31, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Cushion Spurge (Euphorbia polychrome) is a nice ground cover. However, it can be invasive, but is easy to control with weeding or clipping back. I really enjoy it in the spring as it is one of the first perennials to appear. It was given to me by one of my Master Garden friends and I never refuse a plant.I think if I had put it in a proper place, one where it could have covered the ground and appeared with spring bulbs it would have been lovely. However, I put it along the walkway to the Gazebo which was already a mess with a collection of odd plants. That was several years ago and now I am spending many hours digging and cursing free plant gifts!
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Herb Cheese Wedges
2 cups Bisquick
2 teas dried minced onion
1/2 teas each dried dill, basil, oregano
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup Sauterine Wine
1/3 cup shredded cheese
Combine Bisquick, onion,sugar and herbs. Mix the eggs and milk together, beat slightly. Add the butter and wine to the dry ingredients. beat until blended. Turn out onto a well greased 8' cake pan. sprinkle the cheese on top. Bake t 400 degrees until brown and crusty, about 25 minutes.
Allow to sit for 10 minutes and then cut in wedges.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Under the arching branches of this amazing tree much of our life has evolved. From gatherings for both my children's weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, to casual dinners and meetings, the shade of this tree has hosted it all. Our property was originally part of Squire Boone's property (Daniel's Brother) so that old tree has seen it's share of history.The Forestry Agent told me that someone many years ago brought Siberian Elms into the country and planted about a dozen in Shelby Co. I feel blessed to have four.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
The young leaves are best and have a cool cucumber taste. The flowers are lovely and edible. I have used them in salads as well as freezing them in ice cubes. I gave my Mom this hint, so for a Club meeting she was hosting, she picked some Borage flowers and froze them the ice cubes.
However, I had failed to tell her to pop out the seeds, so when she served the drinks with the frozen borage flowers, her ladies shrieked! The seeds still frozen in the borage flowers looked like frozen spiders floating in their tea!
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
It is no wonder that long ago Farmers knew to plant the catnip around the fields, thus keeping the rats away, because the cats would hang out!!
I spread catnip out for Happy Hour for the Cats..here is Poly enjoying it!
Monday, July 20, 2009
In the past, I have not had the best of luck growing Tarragon. Every year I would buy a new plant and then it would disappear by the following growing season. But recently it has seemed to thrive in my garden. It also has grown prolifically in the Herb Garden at the park.(This is part of the Master Gardener's Arboretum. Two of my Master Gardener Friends and I have been working and developing the Herb Garden portion.) So I felt it was a sign, I decided to give it another try! In the picture,Tarragon is the plant spilling out into the path, behind it is catmint.( this picture is form the Herb Garden at the Arboretium.)
I had a recipe I wanted to try that had Tarragon in it, so I picked what little I had and made the soup. Wow oh wow, I had forgotten how wonderfully fragrant tarragon is while it is cooking. When I put it into the soup the whole kitchen smelled heavenly!!
The growing conditions at the Arboretum are perfect for Tarragon. It is full sun with well draining and fertile soil. At the park it is about 2-3 feet tall which is normal, mine at home is about 8 inches tall.
The most important fact about Tarragon is that you want to buy the French Tarragon, not the Russian. The French can not be grown from seed, you will have to buy a small plant. But it is so worth it. To test the tarragon, pinch off a small bit of the leaf, it should taste of anise. In fact when my friend and I tasted a bit at the Park, we were both amazed at how strongly it tasted of anise.It was easy to see why in ancient times it was used to freshen breathe.
My favorite thing to do with Tarragon is to make a herb vinegar with the leaves. When making Tarragon Vinegar, I will use a good white wine vinegar for the base, other herbs do great with just a white vinegar but not Tarragon. This Herb vinegar is great for sauces and for Fish!
Use this herb sparingly as it is strong and bold! I used way too much in my soup, as that was all you could taste. Live and learn.
This recipe is from a cookbook my sister in law gave me from England. It has wonderful recipes, including this recipe for Tarragon and Chicken with Peaches. I have changed this recipe a bit, but it is a hit time after time.
Chicken with Tarragon and Peaches
4 chicken leg portions( I use chicken breast..or thighs)
3 oz butter
6 fresh peaches
3/4 pint Sauce a la creme
3 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
salt and pepper
Oven temp 350 degrees
Preheat the oven , Season the chicken with salt and pepper and saute the chicken in butter for 10 to 12 minutes. Peel and slice the peaches and lay them in an ovenproof dish. Place the chicken pieces on top of the peaches, heat the sauce gently and stir in the chopped tarragon. Check the seasoning and pour over the chicken. Bake in the Oven for 10-12 minutes and sprinkle with more tarragon...be careful don't overdo!
Recipe from "The Herb Cookbook"
by Rosamond Richardson
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
It is a major struggle for me to get into the habit of wearing a hat while I work. They seem to just get in my way! My Dermatologist is insistent that I protect my face! I would love some suggestions. These lovely hats can all be found at www.womanswork.com.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
TM's blow their coat one time a year. We have to rake and rake her coat to keep her comfortable. So I had heard about this thing called The Furminator. Wow it is great. See the pile of dog hair! I will put this by the garden. It will help keep the bunnies out and the birds will use it for nesting!
This product can be viewed at:
Monday, July 13, 2009
Last night, after having worked outside for many hot hours...I poured a glass of wine and headed out to the potager garden to weed the basil. The basil garden stimulates all my senses...the aroma is sensual and the color of the different basils are candy to the eyes! I love this garden, it is a mix of vegetables, herbs, and flowers.
In an addition to the potager garden,I grow basil in the planter outside the kitchen door, that way I can pinch and cook. It also thrives in the culinary herb garden in front of the Herb House. Often times I will use a combination of basils in the landscape. I have used African Blue Basil by the mailbox, because it has beautiful hues of purple and green and becomes a big busy plant.When I combine it with either Opal Basil or Purple Ruffles Basil , it is stunning. One of my fav's, Spicy Globe Basil makes a wonderful border plant! This is like having your cake and eating it too. Just make sure that basil is planted where it receives full sun. Remember that basil is a native of Asia and Africa, so it loves hot dry summers!
It is important to pinch the tops of basil. This is great because you can start harvesting and using the young basil and create big bushy basil plants. The basil plants should not be allowed to flower,because all the energy of the plant then goes into the blossom. My exception to that rule is in late fall when the first frost is looming, I let the basil flower, then I cut and air dried the seed heads. They are very nice in a basket and I smell the scent of basil all winter long. That is the cool thing about herbs, they keep giving all year long.
I was inspired by the young squash and zucchini popping up in the vegetable section of the potager garden so I found a great recipe to try that incorporated both the squash and fresh basil. I loved it and it was a 2nd day hit at the Office. I found it in the June Southern Living Magazine.
Summer Squash Stacks With Roasted Red Bell Pepper Sauce
1 medium-sized yellow squash, cut diagonally in to 8(1/4 inch thick )slices
2 medium zucchini, cu the same as the squash
2 TBLS olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp salt
1(8.8 oz) package fresh mozzarella cheese
16 basil leaves
Garnish: freshly shaved Parmesan
1. Preheat oven to 350. Brush squash and zucchini with oil: place in a single layer in a jelly -roll pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake 5 minutes or until crisp-tender.
2. Cut mozzarella into 8(14 inch-thick) slices. Cut each slice in half. Place half of zucchini on a serving platter. Layer with half the mozzarella cheese and the basil. Top with yellow squash.
Layer with the remaining zucchini, cheese and basil. Top with roasted red bell pepper sauce. I garnished with small basil leaves or small basil blossoms.
Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
1(7 oz) jar roasted red bell peppers drained
2TBLS chopped fresh basil( I used the small leaves of Spicy Globe Basil)
1TBLS olive oil
2tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp sugar
Process all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides as needed.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Today I am grateful for:
For Melinda and the great Pilates class!
For how amazing it is that nature has recovered from the awful winter we endured in Kentucky!
Here is another reason I love Basil: It was very humid today, I could not find a place to work where I was not being eaten up alive. So out to the Potager Garden. I weeded in the basil and no bugs!!! Basil is so aromatic that it repels bugs.
The roses are planted between the basil, chives and lavender. All in an effort to let nature protect and not sprays. They look good but unlike other years, I am already battling black spot. We have had so much rain!!......
I cut some lavender, to give to friends. Lavender is for remembering. Tomorrow I am driving up to Indiana to take my 90 year young Mom to her fav...Bob Evans!! I will take her Lavender and a bunch of Black Eyed Susans!
Friday, July 10, 2009
1/4 cup butter
3 oz cream cheese
1 egg yolk
1TBLS orange juice
1teas orange peel
i box orange cake mix
1 cup nutmeats and raisins
2 TBLS dried basil*
Mix together butter, cheese, egg yolk, juice and cake mix. Stir in nuts and raisins, orange peel,and basil. Chill dough. roll into 1/2 inch balls and place on cookie sheets(I spray Pam them..can use butter) Flatten each with a fork. bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.
* 1 teaspoon dried= 1 tbls fresh
I have decided that for ever herb I focus on, I am going to have a section on: "What I Know". Since I use the definition of an herb as any plant that has any use for Mankind, this could a very lengthy blog!
If you disagree or have anything to add to "What I Know"
please write me about the subject. I would love to learn
"What You Know". There is a wealth of information on herbs; from history, to uses, to growth patterns, to all the myths and lore's. I want to learn it all.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
The first Black Eyed Susan opened up. For as many years as I can remember my father recorded in his special black book the date of the first daffodil bloom as well as when the first Black Eyed Susan opened. It is today!