Garden, Plant, Cook!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

National Herbs And Spices Day - June 10th

Dear Folks,

Today is National Herbs and Spices Day!

I'm re-sharing my post from April on how I dry my herbs from my garden.  Two ways:  In the Sun and In The Refrigerator.

[Pictured in jars are dill and cilantro and drying are Chervil and Parsley.]

I have jars and jars of my own dried herbs to use individually or together in our meals.

Click on this link to read the entire column on drying.  Drying herbs and more.

Besides just simply using basil or oregano in your meals, think about making your own signature blend(s).

Then take the creativity to the next level and make your own dried bouillon - incredible taste and NO SALT.

I discuss the bouillon in the drying herbs post but the above link takes you through the whole process from drying to grinding.

There is an easy way to make your own blend.  Your own blend will be uniquely you if you follow this simple method because it is all about your sense of smell.

Put a dried or fresh bit of herb in the palm of your hand, rub to release the oils in your hand.  Smell it, if it smells good to YOU, it will taste good to you.

Next add another herb to the first, rub together and then give a sniff.  If it still smells great, add another one, and another.  Putting 4 or 5 herbs and spices together will give you a blend uniquely yours.

Not sure where to start?  Start with Thyme.  If you look at packages of blends on the grocery shelf, you will find thyme is almost always included because it is considered an "anchor herb" in blends, around which everything rotates.

I created my own proprietary blends some years ago and the ingredients ranged from just 3 up to 17!  So the options for you are limited only to your sense of smell and taste.

In honor of National Herbs & Spices Day, be creative and make your own great aromatherapy in the kitchen!

Not growing enough herbs in your garden?  Purchase my PDF Herb Planting Chart for the Desert Southwest and USDA Zone 9B and above. It covers 48 culinary herbs you can grow and use yourself.  The link is in the upper sidebar here.  There is a preview available see "preview" under the picture when you click on the link.

. . .

There are still 2 more days to purchase the new PDF e-bundle on handling everything from emergencies to homesteading and sustainable practices.  Click here.

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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Wednesday, June 07, 2017

New e-Bundle PDF offer - Sale open through June 12th

Dear Folks,

The Self-Reliant School folks have a new e-bundle you may find very helpful.  $29.97 which is 90% off the total value of $309.67 for 30 e-books and additional bonus offers.

If you are trying, or interested in trying, more Do It Yourself projects around your home, this prepper e-bundle is for you.  It is not just for emergencies, but more self-reliance with some real money saving concepts.

This $309.67 value of 30 e-books, plus bonus offers, is just $29.97 for the PDF downloadable files.  You have the option to purchase on a flash drive or you can purchase both the downloads and the flash drive.

This e-bundle sale is available through June 12th

Alternative cooking techniques and recipes
Seed saving and gardening
Edible and medicinal wild plants
Creating a wholesome, healthy food storage
Learn about bushcraft and primitive survival
How to build the ultimate bug out bag
The blueprint to a first class first aid kit
Preparing for extreme weather
Plus learn how to do more things yourself, manage a small homestead, and much much more!

The list of e-books is on this link with titles, authors and descriptions.

SRS is donating $1.00 from each sale to a Veteran's support charity.  Gary Sinise Foundation.

Some of the bonus offers are (books listed first then bonus offers and purchase options):

Sun Oven - $164 off a Sun Oven package
Trayer Wilderness Academy - 1 month membership free
MadeOn Skin Care - Free bug block (just pay shipping)
Seeds For Generations - 25% off seed purchase - Beyond Off Grid - 50% off Beyond Off Grid course & 25% off DVD + online access pass
Pioneering Today Academy - 1 month membership free

FYI - I do not have a book in this bundle, however, I thought it worthwhile enough to share with you..


-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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Monday, June 05, 2017

Root Vegetables With Cheese and Cool Link to Interesting Vegetables to Grow

Dear Folks,

Yesterday for our Sunday breakfast I cooked up Chantenay carrots (THE best carrot in the garden), Purple "Molokai" sweet potatoes and regular potatoes all from the garden, covered with some cheese and topped with a fried egg!

Since I had the Molokai sweet potato, I did not include my own purple Irish potatoes as I had when I made a great potato salad for our Memorial Day BBQ.  (I called it my Red, White & Blue Potato Salad -- I make mine with a citrus/avocado oil dressing, not mayo, and herbs from the garden.)

Back to the potatoes for breakfast.

Oh boy was this good.  Our Sunday breakfast is our weekly big breakfast treat, eggs and bacon and I mix up the methods; sometimes I make up a small pot of savory oatmeal and top with an egg, other times it is just simple egg over toast, and when Deane makes breakfast he scrambles everything together.

In the pan I would be using for the eggs, I simmered the diced potatoes for about 8 minutes in salted water until knife tender - I did not want them to be mushy.  Drained, then I topped with shredded cheese (Monterey Jack in this case) then fried up the eggs.  I cook the bacon (no nitrate type) in the microwave to reduce the fat.

We like eggs many ways, but I used to have the worst time getting fried eggs that were perfectly cooked, until I read and saw a demo on the old America's Test Kitchen on how to cook the perfect fried eggs.  The total time involved is anywhere from 2.5 minutes plus to more depending on how many eggs you are cooking.  This was a genius tip.  The video is difficult to find, so here are the steps.

Crack your eggs into a bowl - best to use eggs at room temperature.  TIP:  Crack eggs on a flat surface not the edge of a bowl, you will be less likely to end up with shells.  Season the eggs while in the bowl.

Heat a pan on medium high.  It needs to be screaming hot - takes about 4-5 minutes, seriously.  Add 1 teaspoon / tablespoon oil and swirl around until it shimmers.  Have eggs and cover ready.  Once the oil shimmers add 1 teaspoon / tablespoon of butter.  Swirl quickly, add eggs and cover and set the timer for 1 minute.

Here are the ratios:  I only do 2 eggs, and use a teaspoon of the fats.  If you have a large pan and more eggs go with the tablespoon.

Once the timer goes off I count while looking through my clear cover for the white to look "more set" - then -- and this is the important part - remove, still covered to a cool burner and reset the timer for 1 minute.

Again check through the cover when the timer goes off and maybe give it more time.  With my two eggs in a small pan, my eggs are usually done in total of 2.5 minutes.  About 1:20 for each of the two steps.

Immediately serve your perfect fried eggs.   The first time you do this it will take you a bit to learn your pan / eggs / timing / stove (electric/gas) but once you have it figured, and enjoy fried eggs you will love the technique.

The reasons this works is:  1) screaming hot pan - most people don't really let the pan heat up enough; 2) JUST enough cooking time, and 3)  Removing the still very hot covered pan to continue slowly finishing the cooking on a cold burner.

Two things I forgot with our breakfast meal.  I meant to drop some chopped onion into the pan with the potatoes for the last minute, and I forgot to sprinkle the eggs with chopped celery leaf from the garden.  Flavor flourishes that add just a bit more to the meal.

MORE cool vegetables to consider for your garden.

I have a reader in Spain and she and I share what is growing from time to time and she mentioned Yakon and Crosne two cool vegetables, I checked out when she first mentioned them last year.  At the moment I don't have a place for them, but decided to refresh my memory and found this really cool site on "24 forgotten" vegetables.  You NEED to check this out and decide if you should be growing any of these.  I do grow the purple/blue potatoes.  I need to spend some time (probably today) and carefully go through the list

While the link title is "For Vegans & Vegetarians" omnivores will love these too.

When you get to some of the neat sounding veggies like Crosne, they reminded me of Jerusalem Artichokes which have the same crinkly texture and I had seen a very cool video on how to clean these types of veggies without needing to peel them (and lose a lot of edible flesh).   Of course I can't find the video, but the gist is you rinse the roots, shake coarse salt all over them, wrap in a cotten towel and roll back and forth, scrubbing the roots with the salt.  The resulting roots are partially salted too, although you can rinse again if you like.

Ending this post with a picture of my lovely Conehead Thyme.  This lovely and aromatic herb has a combination flavor of thyme, oregano and savory.  Delicious on your food, and gorgeous in the garden.

You can find my gardening calendars and books for purchase on the sidebar here on the blog.

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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