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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My lovely Herb Garden

Just wanted to share one of my favorite things:  
My herb garden!

Thank you to my neighbors, Randy & Dianne, who helped me build this last year.
It seems so simple, but it combines my love of cooking and love of gardening.  I love grabbing fresh herbs from the garden for dishes, or cutting a handful of mint for fresh mint tea.
Think you don't need an herb garden because you don't use them in cooking that much?  Think about this - it costs $3-5 to buy a package of fresh herbs.  That's also how much the plant costs.  If you use it JUST ONCE it pays for itself.  Another thing to think about - even if you never use it - it looks GORGEOUS in the garden!  You don't have to have an herb garden - plant them among your flowers as a fragrant green filler plant!




Some herb recipes you may enjoy:

Iced Mint Tea  (Good for digestion)
Put a few springs of mint in a pitcher (still on stem)
Pour boiling water over
Strain, or fish out the mint leaves
Enjoy plain, or sweeten with sugar or honey

Chimichurri (this makes a great gift too)
1 cup firmly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, trimmed of thick stem
3-4 garlic cloves
2 Tbsps fresh oregano leaves (can sub 2 teaspoons dried oregano)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp red or white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Add as a marinade or a sauce on chicken, fish, beef, veggies (but don't use a marinade that has touched raw meat as a sauce ... I don't want Sony to get sick)


Herbed Pork & Apples in slow cooker
1 teaspoon each of whatever herbs you have on hand
(recipe calls for sage, thyme, rosemary, marjoram)
salt and pepper
a couple of chopped garlic cloves (or use a small grater)
1 or 2 small pork loins
1/2 onion, large sliced
1 apple, peeled, seeded, cut in large chunks)
apple juice or hard cider

Trim the pork the best you can of fat.  Mix the herbs, garlic, salt & pepper.  Coat the pork in olive oil, then the herb/garlic mixture.  Wrap in saran wrap.  Stick in fridge overnight or at least several hours.

Put in slow cooker with onions, apples, and a couple of pours of cider (about 1/2 - 1 cup).  Cook on low for 5-8 hours.  Serve with mashed potatoes & green beans.


Chamomile astringent
1/2 cup fresh chopped mint
2 tbsp dried chamomile flowers crushed
4 cups water
Combine ingredients in a saucepan, boil 10 mins. Take off the heat and leave 5 mins.Strain into jars and refridgerate . Will keep for 2 weeks.


SALAD!
Mix any mild herbs into a green salad - parsley, mint, oregano, and basil go particularly well

PASTA!
Boil pasta al dante, then add lots of butter, fresh chopped herbs, salt & pepper, and parmesan cheese
Easy peasy!  oh, yeah ... you can add peas if you want

SOUP!
Stir herbs into any fresh OR CANNED soup - it creates a great fresh flavor

OTHER:
Dill and mint look beautiful in flower arrangements
Catnip can be used as a calming tea
Mix any combo of herbs into softened butter - spread on cooked chicken, fish, or fresh bread


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

SAVE THE BEES part 2

 Just wanted to reiterate our need for flowers - we are still losing bees, and I am soooo happy that my foxglove has come in so strong, and that these bees are loving them so much. I've gotten very close to watch.
I love the way they sneak up the flowers,  
 and then make a little buzzzz,

and back their little bee butts back out. They are weighted down with saddlebags of pollen, and they are off to the next flower. They are so important to our food growing and environment. 

SAVE THE BEES!!!