Archive for the ‘green’ Category

Thyme, mint, and Basil OH MY! ….. (but mostly Basil)

 

 

 

We survived hurricane Irene without a hitch. It was the first time our area had been threatened since Max was born and truth be told I was very anxious. We prepared as good as we knew how and hunkered down. I am so thankful that we had no real damage, nor did we lose electricity. We were truly blessed.

What was left of my garden fared nearly as well, the peppers are still standing and promising to give me a few more before calling it quits for the season. I had grown basil between my tomato plants and when the tomatoes were finished and removed, the basil took over. It was waist high and resembled a shrubbery rather than an herb. It did not weather the high winds quite as well as the rest of us. Upon going out and assessing the damage I found the basil laying on its side. I had meant to harvest it for some time so now was as good as any.

Have some basil....

Preserving herbs is very easy and very rewarding during those winter months when everything outside is brown and dry. The more hardy herbs (rosemary, thyme, oregano) do well tied into bunches and hung to dry. Once all the moisture is gone seal them in an airtight container and they will keep for up to a year. The more delicate herbs (basil, mint, tarragon) do best frozen. You can place whole or chopped leaves in a ice cube tray, cover with a little water and freeze. Once frozen pop out of the tray and place in freezer bag, thaw as you need.

My favorite way to preserve Basil is homemade pesto. I love being able to add that summertime freshness to meals in the dead of winter.

All the measurements are approximate. This recipe should really be adapted to you personal taste. Remember, I was working with an ungodly amount of basil, so you may have to adjust the portions according to however much you have.

Homemade Pesto

yummy

8 cups washed basil leaves, stems removed. (makes about 2 cups chopped basil)

1/2  cup pine nuts

1/2 cup Olive oil

1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese

4  medium cloves Garlic

salt to taste

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pulse basil and olive oil in food processor until coarsely chopped.

Add Pine nuts, Parmesan, Garlic, and Salt.

Process until desired consistency.  If it seems dry, add more oil.

At this point TASTE, TASTE, TASTE. Make needed adjustments, I always end up adding more salt and cheese.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spoon into ice cube tray and freeze.  When frozen, remove and place in freezer safe bag.

Now you have homemade pesto in convenient portions that will be approximately 1 oz. each.  Ready to used to season chicken, accompany pasta, or spruce up sauces.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I bet you’re wondering what I did with all the left over basil (yes, there was left over basil). Turns out it makes a very fragrant, if not colorful centerpiece!

Thanks for reading:)

Cuckoo for Coconut Oil

I really am, I love the stuff. If I could get away with slathering myself with it on a daily basis I would. But alas, until my financial situation improves I’ll have to stick to using it in more…. conventional ways.

Why coconut oil you ask? What makes it so great? Truth is the more I learn about it the more impressed I am with all its properties. Nutritionally, it’s made up of whats called a Medium-chain fatty acid. Yes I know I said the “F” word, I’m even going to add the “S” word too. Truth is these are actually Saturated Fats *gasp*. Now before you get all pseudo-nutritionalist on me, these are not the same fats that McDonald’s was using to expand our waistlines. The fatty acid in Coconut oil actually is proven to help kick start your metabolism, and in moderate amounts can help you work off those french fries. It is also known to increase HDL (good cholesterol) and help decrease LDL (bad cholesterol). Try getting that out of a stick of butter! It’s high in vitamin E, and is naturally anti-microbial and anti-fungal, that’s why I use it when I make Max’s baby wipes. (I have also been known to use it as a moisturizer myself from time to time)

It is solid until about 75 degrees and it’s smoking point is about 350 degrees making it great for cooking. I use it instead of butter to scramble eggs, deeelish! I don’t recommend using it in dressings or marinades due to the fact that it solidifies at relatively high temperatures. It can however, be used as substitute for butter or shortening in most baking recipes. A good rule of thumb is a 3/4 to 1 conversion although I have used a 1 to 1 conversion without any problems.

Here is a simple cookie recipe that is out of this world!

Coconut Oil Sugar Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the coconut oil and sugar until smooth.

Beat in egg and vanilla.

Gradually blend in the dry ingredients.

Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls, and place onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden.

Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.

When finished dust cookies with a little extra sugar.

Variation- Consider adding 1/2 tsp lemon zest to batter, or dusting with a flavored sugar like vanilla or rose.

Enjoy!

Thanks for reading:)

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