Garden, Plant, Cook!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Recipe Ideas from Others

Dear Folks,

I love checking out recipes from cookbooks and magazines. Usually I find myself thinking 'this is great, now I would do it this way...' or I'm disappointed that the chef/cook missed the opportunity to make something really great. I find recipes which start out with "Herbed...." disappointing when their idea of "herbed" is to add a bit of garlic or parsley. There are sooo many great herbs which work well together that to use only one seems too limiting particularly when the recipe comes from a known chef.

Well the following do not disappoint. In the current (August, 2009) issues of Body & Soul and Food & Wine they offer some of the neatest ideas.

Food & Wine offers up Basil Limeade Slushies and several other great sounding recipes like Iced Basil and Lemongrass Tea and Herb and Endive Salad. The slushie is a variation on a Mojito with lime and mint.

I've made a Cilantro infused Limeade for some of my demos at Boyce Thompson but the idea of a slushie version is great. Herb and Fruit flavors to try in variations of this would be:

Apple -- basil, cinnamon basil, mint
Berries, All -- basil
Blackberries -- thyme
Blueberries -- rosemary
Cherries — thyme .
Cranberries -- cilantro
Lemon -- lavender
Lime -- cilantro
Mango -- cilantro
Orange -- rosemary
Papaya -- cilantro
Peach -- basil (all flavors), chamomile
Pears -- lavender, rosemary
Pineapple -- mint, cilantro, rosemary
Raspberry -- basil
Tangerine -- rosemary

Do not limit yourself to the combinations above. If something different sounds appealing, try it.

When watermelon is in season, I make ice cubes from the juice. I found the infused ice cube recipes in Body & Soul magazine, August, 2009, super ideas as well.

Cucumber Basil Puree
Combine 1 cup water, 1 cucumber (peeled and seeded), 1/4 cup chopped basil, and a touch of coarse salt in a blender and freeze in an ice cube tray.

Orange Lime Mix
Mix 1 1/2 cups of orange juice, 2 tablespoons of lime juice, and 1 teaspoon of lime zest in a bowl, then freeze in an ice cube tray.

Lemonade Raspberry
Dissolve 2 tablespoons of sugar in 1 cup of warm water; stir in 1/3 cup lemon juice. Divide 6 ounces of fresh raspberries into an ice cube tray and place a sprig of mint in each cube. Add the lemonade and freeze.

Both issues of these magazines seemed to be particularly full of ideas right up my cooking alley. Hope they are as interesting to you.

If you have the freezer space, make sure you save some of these ice cubes for use later in the winter - a sample of summer time can lift the winter blues.

ON THE gardening side of things, I am readying a new service newsletter for desert gardeners to help with the often repeated refrain I get "I don't know when to plant... in the desert" - variations of which are "I grew this back in .... but I kill it here."

If you have an interest leave your screen name at the link below. It is for information only and there is no obligation.

Edible Gardening Success in the Desert

Have a great day,

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Growing Horseradish -- Success in The Desert Southwest

Howdy Folks,

I finished harvesting the horseradish on June 30th.

In reading about horseradish growing in the usual areas (not the desert) this is not only not the time to harvest the root, but also that the root may not be nearly as "beam my up Scott" hot and pungent as usual.

However, I was very pleased not only with the healthy growth on the plants, but also the resulting grated product.

To grow your own horseradish in the desert southwest, you need to reverse the growth pattern, because the roots will not survive our summer heat. Plant in the fall beginning October 1st and harvest in the spring in Later May or early June. One of the plants I pulled was just starting to flower.

I will keep about 10 healthy roots in my refrigerator crisper drawer to replant in the fall. I give the top of each root a straight cut, and an angle cut at the bottom to keep it straight in my mind which is which. I wrap them in a slightly damp paper towel and place in a zip lock bag and store in the crisper drawer.

Following general directions for grating I peel the roots, cut them in small dice, place with ice water in a blender or bullet blender and process to the thickness I want. I wait about 5+ minutes and add vinegar and this time I will remember to add salt (although the first batch I did in early June was great without it). 2-3 tablespoons of vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt per 1 cup of grated root.

I am really pleased to be able to grow yet another food my grandmother used and also to find a way for the gardeners of edibles to more fully expand their gardening and eating pleasures in the Desert Southwest. I also found the plant very attractive with it's large leaves, somewhat resembling many large leaved ornamentals.


Horseradish, like its mustard relative, goes with so many foods. Add some to mashed potatoes, in salad dressing, add to a dip for a little kick, some chefs shave the fresh root -- I think a little very finely shaved root in cole slaw would be awesome. Fun stuff and it is a good source of some vitamins and minerals.

If you are not familiar with Gernot Katzer, he has the most incredible site for information on (mostly) culinary herbs and spices. Check out his page on horseradish

Have a grate (great!) day,

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady