Thursday, July 31, 2014

Herb Basil and Fried Green Tomatoes

Herbs have quit a history. Dating
back to earlier times we see basil, 
saffron, sage, savory, tarragon and
thyme being used. Ancient Greeks
crowned their heroes with dill and
laurel. Sweet marjoram was used
as a valuable tonic. In America,
early settlers brought herbs to use
as remedies and flavorings. They
also burned herbs for fragrance
and stored their linens with herbs
as well. Their gardens being very
important for survival contained
herbs and they soon learned about
the wild herbs growing locally. By
sharing remedies, seeds, recipes,
and plants, important knowledge
became widespread. Herb gardens
still provide us with a steady supply
of fresh product. Herbs are fun to
grow, use, and share!

Let's look at BASIL…
A highly recognized, warm season annual.
Very aromatic, with a "clove-like"taste,
 kind of peppery to me with a hint of anise
(licorice) undertones. With large, deep
leaves, basil will grow bush-like and tall.
In our area it has a long growing season.
Just keep pinching the leaves. If you start
to see flowers then pinch that off for further
growth. Basil likes sun to part shade, and
soil kept moist. Likes hot weather, and is a
Basil Pesto
great companion plant to tomatoes. So plant
them together and at the same time. Doesn't
like the cold so harvest well when fall arrives.
Always use fresh basil when cooking. I don't
think dried provides the same taste. Basil herb
contains high levels of beta-carotene, and a good
source of iron, and other minerals. Very healthy!
Chopped fresh basil is a great addition to salads,
pastas, vegetables, and fruits. To enjoy its full
flavor, add it to the end of your cooking time.
See EARTHLY DELIGHTS for my Tomato
Caprese recipe. (add lots of basil) Delicious!
Look for the many varieties of Basil too.
Cinnamon Basil is great in breads. For a taste
of lemon in salads try the Spicy Globe.
Like Pesto, this is your herb!! See EARTHLY
DELIGHTS for Basil Pesto recipe.

Have you ever had Fried Green Tomatoes?
My mom used to make these towards the
end of every summer. My dad loved them,
while my brother, sister and I did not. I
thought they looked slimy. Having grown
up, I've come to appreciate many different
kinds of foods. The recipe I kind of put
together from looking at a lot of them.
Did you know there is a green tomato
bred to be green and then there is the
standard unripe red tomato that is green?
Amazing, but they taste the same. A little
tangy though. You can generally find
them at the farmer's market. So try this
for a wonderful end of season treat.

The healing comes from nature and not from the physician.
  Therefore the physician must start from nature with an
     open mind                                 ~ Paracelsus ~



Friday, July 25, 2014

Odds and Ends From the Garden

Husband Ron went out to pick a handful
of cherry tomatoes. We're picking those
around the bottom of the stem not fully
ripened, just to save them from the evil
squirrel. Every day I'll see partially eaten
tomatoes lying around in the garden. Yes
the squirrel is the culprit. The tomatoes
will ripen on the counter and taste just
fine, so picking them a little early helps.
I'm on a mission to stop the squirrels.
Three solutions I've read about include:
building a cage around your plant. Using
a urine powder (Repel-All) that I've tried
What a guard dog!
and it works, but it has to be reapplied
after heavy rain. Third, having a dog.
Sam the Pug, is always a welcome
visitor. Two other options; planting
some extra tomato plants by the tree
where you see the squirrels.. (they have
their own tomatoes, and hopefully
leave yours alone), and ok get this…
remove the squirrels…by catching them,
or termination! Well just let me add this..
if you use this method, more will arrive
to take their place. So no to the last two!                                        
On to some beauty..friend Jan sent me
this beautiful picture of a white gardenia
from her very own plant! Gorgeous! She
has had many blooms from her plant. It
sets on her deck, gets a fair amount of
sun but is protected from harsh winds.
She waters as needed but doesn't let it
dry out. Jan says the scent is fantastic.

If you want the rainbow, you
gotta put up with the rain!
                           - dolly parton

We are having some glorious days! Can
you believe it's the middle of July! Even
though our tomatoes want that heat and
sun to fully grow and turn red, I must
say, I'm enjoying the cooler temperatures.
Porch sitting, walking in the evening,
is so much easier without the bugs biting.
Less humidity helps too. So yes rain, yes
some heat, just take a little thyme to
notice and nuture ourselves with nature.
You'll be glad you did!!  

We'll sing in the sunshine,
We'll laugh every day,
We'll sing in the sunshine,
And I'll be on my way…...        


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Peach Pie Recipe and Herb: Sage

Neighbors Natalie, Dathan, and the girls
took a trip recently to Hilton Head. They
brought me a bag of South Carolina
peaches and a jar of homemade peach
jam. They were beautiful, tasted sweet,
and oh so juicy. I had to make a pie.
Husband Ron said this was "one of your
better efforts." Meaning he loved it! It
was good and after sharing a couple of
slices with a friend, Ron and I enjoyed
a few days of peach pie. Add some
vanilla ice cream…now that's a summer
treat! The jam, very tasty as well. Hit
the spot on a fresh bagel. My peach
pie recipe is available on Earthly
Delights. Thanks neighbors!!

By definition an herb is any plant with 
leaves, seeds, or flowers used for food, 
flavoring, or perfume. Pronounced
like its spelled, no silent h. When used
for culinary purposes, they are used 
to provide flavor more than substance.
Drying herbs is a useful way to save 
or preserve for future use. Not all
herbs can be dried in the same method.
A food dehydrator, (a device that 
removes moisture from food and herbs,
& can be found at Walmart), and dried
by hanging bunches of stems upside 
down, are 2 easy methods for drying.
When dry harvesting, strip the dry 
leaves from the stems and store in an
airtight container. Follow herb guide-
lines in determining which drying
method is best for a particular herb.

Considered a perennial and will  
do well in a sunny area. Sage has
many varieties, with a soft gray-
green color as it matures. Very
aromatic and considered to be
a Mediterranean herb, it has a
long history of being used for
medicinal purposes.  The name
comes from Latin salvere, which
means "to be saved." A savory
flavor, use this herb in pork
dishes, with sausage, and in
stuffings. Add the herb near the
end of cooking so it retains its                         
essence. Store fresh leaves in a                                                    
damp paper towel and place in                                                              
a loosely closed plastic bag in 
refrigerator for a few days.                                                 
Does well in a container. Can                                                
grow shrub-like in the ground. 

"A garden is a poor man's apothecary."  (German Proverb)                                                                     

Monday, July 14, 2014

July Chores, Garden Pests

Nope, this is what I don't look like when I'm out working
in my yard/garden. There's a hat (baseball cap) and
gloves, but make-up and perfect hair… no way. An
ironed shirt, tucked in ?…are you kidding me! I'm a
sweaty mess in tee shirt and baggy capris. There I
admitted it, but hey, my yard looks pretty good. Love
those vintage pictures of the gals doing their thing. My
Mom had her aprons and something called a "duster".
Like a short robe with snaps. I also remember her pin
curls…remember bobby pins? Am I dating myself?
Good memories though. Moving on to…

Now don't get overwhelmed! You look
around and see weeds, leaf drop, signs
of mildew, root rot, slug and aphid
invasion. With the rain, hot weather,
and humidity; it's like where do I start!
One area at a time…start by weeding the
beds. You should have your bucket with
gloves, garden trowel and fork, and
clippers. This way you can do some
deadheading, turn the mulch or soil over,
and prune some of the dead plant material. Look for signs of pests.
Holes in the leaves, brown spots, tender leaves curling and yellow
discoloration.. problem signs. Think sanitation, proper air
clean up, pull up, prune and discard. Remember pruning and deadheading
stimulates new growth. Use chemicals only when necessary and make
sure you read labels carefully. First consider organic or the least-toxic.
Water in the mornings, (soil, not the leaves). Annuals and containers need
watering daily especially with sun and wind. Consult your garden center
with specific  problems..take in a picture, leaves or the root of the plant,
they can advise. Fertilize as needed your flowers, roses and garden as
dictated by what you are growing. Stake up some of those tall growing
flowers, support the climbing vines, harvest as needed, (I'm picking and
eating some cherry tomatoes), and cut some wonderful bouquets. My
hydrangea are beautiful. Zinnias, daisies, lavender make lovely displays
in vases. If you have some dead spaces where you had to clean out, head
to the garden center and pick up ready to go large sized annuals. Add
some garden sculptures, metal flowers, ceramic birds….yard art as I like
to call it, "stuff" as husband Ron says, but it will make a difference.
Keep up on the little things daily and you won't regret it.

How about the good bugs eating the bad bugs! Nature wants to be in balance. Observe your garden,
watch nature as it happens, create a welcoming habitat, and what you don't know…find out!!
How about some pics of yard art, purchased from ETSY, enjoy my quail family and tree face.
Thanks Joan and Marilee. And the watering can, clippers, and gloves…thanks Christina, a
fantastic Mothers Day gift!              


Next up: herbs & peach pie

Monday, July 7, 2014

Parsley and Picture Sharing

Growing herbs does not take a lot of effort.  They are versatile  and grow well
in the ground or in any container (remember drainage hole). I grow herbs for
culinary use. I've never grown from seed. I love going to the garden center,
selecting ready to plant herbs from all the many varieties. I'll spend a lot
of time smelling even tasting the herbs before I come away with a couple of
flats. I usually pick the same herbs each year, knowing my needs.
Let's look at PARSLEY...
There are two types: flat leaf(also called Italian
parsley) and curly leaf. Parsley can be found in
the supermarket fresh all year long and you get
a lot for for what you spend. Stems and leaves can both be used in cold and cooked dishes.
Fresh is better than the store bought kind. See for the herb's additional uses.
Parsley can be stored in the refrigerator with
stems in water, and covering the leaves with
a plastic bag(for about 2 wks.). Curly Parsley
is the one used for garnish and because of its
high chlorophyll content, it makes a natural
breath sweetener. Flat leaf has a more robust
taste. Looks a little like cilantro, but there is
a different taste. I think this one is a better flavor for hot dishes. It is used
in Mediterranean cooking. Also parsley leaves are high in iron and vitamins
A, C, and E. Flat leaf tolerates hot weather better than curly, but both do well
in the sun. It is considered a biennial, grows the first season and blooms the
second, but really, treat it as an annual. I just replant each year. Curly works
as an edging for borders too. Parsley goes well in just about any dish, and a
choice for bouquet garni. Hmm, think Parsley Potatoes, Pasta Salad, or Parsley Pesto!

Enjoy pictures of my home & "garden" areas..


                 Where flowers bloom so does hope….  
                                                                    Lady Bird Johnson

*next up…garden pests
  & July chores




Friday, July 4, 2014

4TH of JULY !!!!!


(from Martha Stewart)
(US Stamp)

      GOD BLESS 

                                 CELEBRATE…BECAUSE YOU CAN!