Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Capture Summer Flavor with an Herbal Honey - How Tuesday

I used up the last of my personal stash of lavender honey making frozen pops (see the how to on July 21.) So I needed to make a honey for flavoring my iced tea and grilling sauces.  I wanted something with a bright summer flavor and decided that lush summer herbs would be perfect.

The lavender was blooming,

the scented geraniums were flourishing and
Mabel Grey Scented Geranium

and the lemon thyme, well I grow a lot of that.

However this combination of herbs will make a citrus scented, flower accented honey that will capture the essence of a blooming warm summer day.

Here is how I made Summer Herb Flavored Honey:
lemon thyme, lavender, lemon rose geranium and rose geranium (lft to rt)
I gathered honey (I get mine locally from a bee keeper who used to be my neighbor) and my ingredients.


Warm the honey so that is it soft and liquid.  You can do this in a saucepan or as I prefer in a microwave.  Heat for 45 seconds and test to see if it is liquid enough.  I ten began by adding the thyme, then the scented geranium.

I chose two varieties, the small round leaves are old fashioned rose geranium and the irregularly shaped ones are a lemon/rose cross called Hillary (yes that Hillary).  They are two of my favorite scented geraniums and this year I am propagating them (POST TO COME SOON) several different ways.

I added the geraniums to the honey.  Note that the jar is not full.  It is hard to estimate how much displacement will happen when you add the herbs to thick honey, so you start with a jar half full.


The final herb added was the lavender flower heads.  I tucked them in and used them to stir the other herbs into the honey.


Once I got the herbs down into the honey, I put the lid on the jar and turned it upside down and let the herbs and honey flow to the other end of the jar.  Once it collected, I flipped it over and let it settle again. 


I did this for 24 hours until the herbs were well coated with honey.  Only then did I fill the jar the rest of the way.  


Now I wait two weeks before this honey will be fully infused with the flavor of these summery herbs and ready to use.


Flavor of Summer Honey

2 cups Honey
2 Tbls Lavender
2 Tbls fresh lemon thyme sprigs
1 Tbls rose Scented Geranium
1 Tbls lemon rose Scented Geranium

Directions: 
Warm the honey in a saucepan or in the microwave until thin and liquid.          

Here is a great recipe to use with this Flavor of Summer Honey.

Herb Salad with Lemon and flavored Honey (Serves 4)
This recipe originated from the Niagara Estate Winery and uses a wide variety of herbs to make a flavorful salad enhanced by the herb flavors in the honey. The lemon juice brings out the citrus notes in the honey.  It makes this salad a treat for the tastebuds.

½ cup baby arugula
1 bulb fennel, fronds attached
1 bunch basil (green or purple)
1 bunch tarragon
1 bunch dill
1 bunch of chervil or parsley
1 bunch of chives
2 lemons, juiced 
2 Tbls flavored honey (Flavor of Summer Honey is perfect)
2 Tbls olive oil

Directions:

Pick the green fronds from the fennel bulb and reserve. Cut fennel in half, vertically, and slice thinly. If possible, use a mandolin. Gently pick the leaves off of the basil, tarragon, dill and chervil and place in a bowl. Slice chives very finely and add to bowl.  Toss in the cut fennel and arugula.

In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, honey and olive oil, mixing well. Finish by seasoning your salad with salt and pepper to taste.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Salad Burnet Egg Salad - Weekend Recipe

I am on the quest for the best egg salad sandwich.  I will try one at a deli or lunch counter if given the option every time.  This amuses my friends because I cannot eat fried or scrambled eggs at a restaurant under any circumstances.  Every time I try it I regret it.  The only person who can cook me eggs for breakfast is my husband.  I blame it on my years working morning shift at a truck stop in high school, but whatever the cause I focus my attention on egg salad.  


I collect recipes for egg salad and deviled eggs which you can turn into egg salad too.  I recommend Alton Brown's 4 pepper deviled eggs if you want to try it.  As for egg salad recipes, this is my current favorite. I shared it a few years ago on my website as the recipe of the month.  It features salad burnet which is an evergreen herb that I grow from seed.  It likes shade and dry conditions so I have placed it in the side yard as an edge plant.  The tender leaves taste like cucumber and are perfect in egg salad.

Egg Salad with Salad Burnet

To make a hearty sandwich serve this egg salad on fresh slices of whole wheat herb bread.

12 eggs
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup plain yogurt
2 Tbls fresh salad burnet, chopped fine
1 Tbls fresh thyme or lemon thyme, chopped fine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Place the eggs in a large pan, fill the pan with water and place it on the stove on high heat. When the water comes to a boil turn the heat down to medium and cook the eggs for an additional 12 minutes. 

Remove the pan from the stove, drain the water and run cold water over the eggs until they have cooled down. Remove the shells from the eggs and chop them up.  Then place them in a large bowl, add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Serve this salad with assorted breads and crackers if desired.




RECIPE THEME
Each month a theme is chosen and a number of recipes on that theme from my massive archive will be shared.  This year we have 12 new topics, different from the topics of last year.  To find the recipes of last year, check out this recipe link or search the blog with the topic Recipe2018, or Recipe2019 

You can search the monthly theme by looking for the theme keyword in the search box and it will pull up the recipes on that theme as posted, so look at the bottom of the recipe in each posting for the KEYWORD in the () to search for each  month.  All recipes this year will be tagged Recipe2020 so you can find them all.


The themes are:

Feb 2020 - Footbal Tailgate Favorites (AppFeb)
March 2020 - Kabobs (KabobMar)
April 2020 - Brunch (BrunchApr) more in 2021 also
May 2020 - Non-Traditional Pizza (PizzaMay)
June 2020 - Stir Fry Dishes (StirJun)
July 2020 - Salads with no lettuce (SaladJul)
August 2020 - Pickled things (PickleAug)
September 2020 - Quiche (QuicheSep)
October 2020 - Squash Soups (SquashOct)
November 2020 - Pumpkin (again) (PumpNov)

December 2020 - Turkey Recipes (TurkDec)

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Sundials in the Garden

Herb Garden Luthy Gardens, Peoria, IL
I have a thing about sundials.  I love them!  I search them out when we are visiting public and private gardens.  I decided it was time to share a few of my favorites.

Luthy Botanic Garden one of two made in 1905
This sundial is nestled into a wonderful herb garden at the Luthy Botanic Garden.  It had great plants, a bee skiff, and a wonderful brass entry gateway with the word "HERBS" which is must say I would like to have a similar version of one day.

I find that many times Sundials get broken, the center item that casts the shadow (called a gnomon) can be snapped off.  This one at the Chicago Botanic Garden suffered this fate.

Chicago Botanic Garden
Another at the Chicago Botanic has a single spire in the center.  This is not a common style it is called a Equatorial Sundial, as it can be read in both summer and winter, but differently so it needs a center spike rather than an angled gnomon.  However they are usually mounted at an angle to match latitude and this one is mounted horizontally, so it may have been relocated.



Before we go too far, I thought I would explain how they work.


The Gnomon is the item which casts the shadow to tell the time.  The Style (surface) of the gnomon always points directly north.  One has to figure out north whenever placing a sundial in the garden and then adjust it due to the latitude you live at to get an accurate time. This is more important with a Vertical Sundial so that it remains pointing North and set at an angle to the horizontal equal to the Latitude of the Sundial location. The Gnomon therefore must be set at an angle to the 'dial' of 900. minus Latitude.

Sundials are categorized by how they are mounted - horizontal, vertical, circular or cylindrical.  Most garden sundials are horizontal, like those shown above.  They are easy to position.  You make them level and point them north.  Vertical sundials are often found on the sides of buildings.  To be placed on the building they must be on the south facing side  Circular (called Armillary actually) use spokes or wheels to tell time rather than a gnomon. They are a bit more actuate than those with a gnomon, but take some time to install and they must be placed at a proper angle. Cylindrical are the most rare and are more common in Europe than in the U.S.  I have yet to see one.

We saw a great Vertical Sundial in New Harmony, Indiana on one of the restored buildings in this former Utopian village from the 1820s.


I used to drive by this one when I lived in Indianapolis, Indiana.  It is on the Publix Theater Building.


This sundial is Armillary.  I actually found two of them on the same trip, but it was sunny when I found this one, so you can see the time which shines as a number.  The in-between minutes are judged by the thin line on the surface of the sundial. This one is located in a formal garden at the Rotary Gardens in Janesville, Illinois.

Rotary Garden Janesville, WI
Most armillary sundials have an axis arrow (gnomon) and a series of circles being the equator, Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn, making it resemble a globe.  The gnomon is angled to the latitude of the location the sundial resides. This one is located at the Master Gardeners display garden at Purdue University.

Purdue University, Fort Wayne, IN
A new trend in Sundials at Botanic gardens is an interactive style called Analemmatic.  These dials are larger sundials on the ground where the visitor stands to become the gnomon.  You stand on a spot based on the season or month to make the time reading accurate.
Quad Cities Botanic Garden
My husband, who is 6 foot 8 makes a great gnomon. Here is another one:
Klehm Gardens in Rockford, Illinois
Sundials are often placed in public gardens as a memorial.  I have found several in cemeteries as remembrance.  This one was placed in Dellwood gardens in memory of George C. Fox Sr. a Lockport District Park Commissioner from 1945 to 1958. It was the quote I found most interesting: "Dedicated to Serving his Community   Service is the Golden Coin of Life"



Here is the surface of the sundial. It has my favorite saying on it. The garden it stands in looked great even in the fall.


If you are interested in more information on mounting and using sundials or on the locations and history of memorial and antique sundials, check out the North American Sundial Society https://sundials.org  They have a nice article about the maker of the 1905 sundial in Peoria.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Frozen Pops - How Tuesday - Lemon Balm frozen pops

We're having a heat wave,
A tropical heat wave,
The temperature's rising,
It isn't surprising,
    -- Irving Berlin

And it is Hot here! I get up at dawn and go to the garden and have to be done by 9 AM because it is too hot to be out there longer, I'll get dehydrated. If it rains the herbs pop and get huge fast.  If it does not, then they go dormant and wait for rain.  I have to go to the garden to keep up on the weeds.  Hot and humid, makes them pop too!

This week I have taken to making iced teas and cooling them with ice cubes made from the same tea so it does not get diluted.  I also made several batches of frozen pops.  I originally shared this recipe back in 2011 as a How to, but I thought since I was making them this week, I would expand on the instructions.

How to make Lemon Balm Popsicles

You need fresh lemon balm, of which I have more than my fair share this year.




Place the cut lemon balm in a bowl.  You need about 2 cups.  You can take it off the stems, but that is not necessary if you can estimate the two cups. Pour 4 cups of boiling water over the lemon balm and allow to steep for 20 minutes.

The resulting liquid will be a strong lemon balm tea that has a brownish color.
 Strain out the leaves.


Add a sweetener.  Honey will give them a unique taste.  Sugar will make them more like popsicles of childhood.  Add 1 to 3 tsp of sweetener per cup of steeped tea.  I had 3 3/4 cups of liquid so I added 2 1/2 Tablespoons of honey.  I had a slightly crystalized lavender honey that I scraped out of the bottom of a jar.  Since the tea liquid was hot it easily dissolved the crystalized sugar.


The liquid was allowed to cool a bit more while I prepped the molds.  I have several different ones to try.  These old molds of plastic and aluminum were discovered while cleaning the cupboards during covid.  I used wood skewers from Dollar tree for sticks and placed them in a baking sheet, ladling in the sweetened liquid.

 

In addition to the old style popsicle molds, I also have these zip seal bags called Zipczicles.  You can get them from zipzicles.com, but last time I checked they were out of stock, so you might try Amazon.


Once all the molds are filled, just pop them into the freezer and 4 hours later you have great naturally sweetened and refreshing lemon balm popsicles!  Since we are having our third or fourth heat wave these are perfect!





Friday, July 17, 2020

Cucumber Salads for the Weekend - Weekend Recipe

Today I have two cucumber salad recipes to share.  Both are quick and easy and will help use up a cucumber surplus, or just those two extra you bought at the farmer’s market! You can peel or score the cucumbers with a fork if you want a bit of green.

Sweet, yet tart Cucumbers
The first is a slightly sweet cider vinegar dressed cucumbers that is both sweet and sour. It came from The Little Herb Shop in Pennsylvania.
3 medium cucumbers
¼ cup sugar
½ cup cider vinegar
¼ cup water
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp minced salad burnet (or parsley)

Directions: 
Slice the cucumbers thinly and layout on paper towel to blot dry.  Combine sugar, vinegar, water, salt, pepper and parsley.  Add cucumbers and toss lightly.  Chill for several hours before serving.

Cucumbers with Dill
This recipe is from Alloway Gardens and Herb Farm also in Pennsylvania.  It is one of my favorite for creamy dill salad.

2 cups thinly sliced cucumbers
½ cup sour cream
2 tsp vinegar
½ tsp sugar (I used a sugar substitute)
2 tsp chopped fresh chives
2 tsp chopped fresh dill

Directions:
Mix all items together in a bowl and chill for several hours before serving.





RECIPE THEME

Each month a theme is chosen and a number of recipes on that theme from my massive archive will be shared.  This year we have 12 new topics, different from the topics of last year.  To find the recipes of last year, check out this recipe link or search the blog with the topic Recipe2018, or Recipe2019 

You can search the monthly theme by looking for the theme keyword in the search box and it will pull up the recipes on that theme as posted, so look at the bottom of the recipe in each posting for the KEYWORD in the () to search for each  month.  All recipes this year will be tagged Recipe2020 so you can find them all.

The themes are:

Feb 2020 - Footbal Tailgate Favorites (AppFeb)
March 2020 - Kabobs (KabobMar)
April 2020 - Brunch (BrunchApr) more in 2021 also
May 2020 - Non-Traditional Pizza (PizzaMay)
June 2020 - Stir Fry Dishes (StirJun)
July 2020 - Salads with no lettuce (SaladJul)
August 2020 - Pickled things (PickleAug)
September 2020 - Quiche (QuicheSep)
October 2020 - Squash Soups (SquashOct)
November 2020 - Pumpkin (again) (PumpNov)
December 2020 - Turkey Recipes (TurkDec)

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Herb and Flower, Tomato and Cucumber Salad



April after planting
The heat is finally taking out the last of the pansies I started with in April.  We have many shady spots in the yard so I can keep pansy’s happy for quite a long time.  But when Illinois gets into patterns of 90-degree heat for days at a time, no amount of water will keep those pansies happy.  So this morning before the humidity rose and I had to turn on the air again, I went out and harvested a fist full of pansy flowers to add to a cucumber and tomato salad.

We have a few tomatoes that are nearing the end of shelf life so tossing with oil and vinegar will keep them fresher and allow me to eat more than I would in a sandwich.  Since today is my day to do all the cooking so the hubby can work on a project, I thought this great salad with a side of grilled chicken leftovers would be a great lunch.

I used a vinegar I made with pansies and violas back in April.  It is a lovely red color and looks great with red tomatoes.  The flowers I used: lavender, sage, oregano, borage, bee balm, calendula, pansy, thyme and some chamomile.

I will share the crockpot chicken stew I created for dinner later.


Herby Tomato and Cucumber Salad

2 medium-sized ripe tomatoes cut in ¾ inch chunks
1 medium onion, cut in ¼ inch chunks’1 medium cucumber cut in ½ inch chunks
8 oz. of mozzarella cheese
3 Tbls olive oil
3 Tbls Herb vinegar (chive, basil, or flower)
1/3 cup chopped fresh herb flowers, oregano, chive, basil or any combo of savory herb flowers.
A few herb flowers for garnish

calendula, sage, thyme. pansy (top lft to rt)
lavender, borage, oregano, chamomile, bee balm (bottom lft to rt)
                                     
Toss together, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, and cheese.  Drizzle with oil and vinegar.  Toss.  Add herb flowers and toss well.  Refrigerate for one hour before serving.  Garnish to with fresh herb flowers.

RECIPE THEME

Each month a theme is chosen and a number of recipes on that theme from my massive archive will be shared.  This year we have 12 new topics, different from the topics of last year.  To find the recipes of last year, check out this recipe link or search the blog with the topic Recipe2018, or Recipe2019 

You can search the monthly theme by looking for the theme keyword in the search box and it will pull up the recipes on that theme as posted, so look at the bottom of the recipe in each posting for the KEYWORD in the () to search for each  month.  All recipes this year will be tagged Recipe2020 so you can find them all.


The themes are:

Feb 2020 - Footbal Tailgate Favorites (AppFeb)
March 2020 - Kabobs (KabobMar)
April 2020 - Brunch (BrunchApr) more in 2021 also
May 2020 - Non-Traditional Pizza (PizzaMay)
June 2020 - Stir Fry Dishes (StirJun)
July 2020 - Salads with no lettuce (SaladJul)
August 2020 - Pickled things (PickleAug)
September 2020 - Quiche (QuicheSep)
October 2020 - Squash Soups (SquashOct)
November 2020 - Pumpkin (again) (PumpNov)
December 2020 - Turkey Recipes (TurkDec)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...