Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Peas.....A Garden Treat!!!


The Pea is a frost-hardy, cool-season vegetable that can be grown throughout most of the United States, wherever a cool season of sufficient duration exists. For gardening purposes, peas may be classified as garden peas (English peas), snap peas and snow peas (sugar peas). Garden pea varieties have smooth or wrinkled seeds. The smooth-seeded varieties tend to have more starch than the wrinkled-seeded varieties. The wrinkled-seeded varieties are generally sweeter and usually preferred for home use. The smooth-seeded types are used more often to produce ripe seeds that are used like dry beans and to make split-pea soup. Snap peas have been developed from garden peas to have low-fiber pods that can be snapped and eaten along with the immature peas inside. Snow peas are meant to be harvested as flat, tender pods before the peas inside develop at all. The Southern pea (cowpea) is an entirely different warm-season vegetable that is planted and grown in the same manner as beans.

Recommended Varieties

The following varieties (listed in order of maturity) have wrinkled seeds and are resistant to fusarium wilt unless otherwise indicated.
Daybreak (54 days to harvest; 20 to 24 inches tall, good for freezing)
Spring (57 days; 22 inches tall; dark green freezer peas)
Main Season
Sparkle (60 days to harvest; 18 inches tall; good for freezing)
Little Marvel (63 days; 18 inches tall; holds on the vine well)
Green Arrow (68 days; 28 inches tall; pods in pairs; resistant to fusarium and powdery mildew)
Wando (70 days; 24-30 inches; withstands some heat; best variety for late spring planting)
Snowbird (58 days; 18 inches tall; double or triple pods in clusters)
Dwarf Gray Sugar (65 days; 24 to 30 inches)
Snowflake (72 days; 22 inches to harvest; high yield)

When to Plant

Peas thrive in cool, moist weather and produce best in cool, moderate climates. Early plantings normally produce larger yields than later plantings. Peas may be planted whenever the soil temperature is at least 45°F, and the soil is dry enough to till without its sticking to garden tools.
Plantings of heat-tolerant varieties can be made in midsummer to late summer, to mature during cool fall days. Allow more days to the first killing frost than the listed number of days to maturity because cool fall days do not speed development of the crop as do the long, bright days of late spring.

Spacing & Depth

Plant peas 1 to 1-1/2 inches deep and one inch apart in single or double rows. Allow 18 to 24 inches between single or pairs of rows. Allow 8 to 10 inches between double rows in pairs.


The germinating seeds and small seedlings are easily injured by direct contact with fertilizer or improper cultivation. Cultivate and hoe shallowly during the early stages of growth. Most dwarf and intermediate varieties are self-supporting. The taller varieties (Green Arrow and Bolero) are most productive and more easily picked when trained to poles or to a fence for support; but they are no longer popular. Peas can be mulched to cool the soil, reduce moisture loss and keep down soil rots. Some of the snap and sugar peas are vining types with heights of 6 feet or more that require fencing or other supports.


Garden Peas
When the pea pods are swollen (appear round) they are ready to be picked. Pick a few pods every day or two near harvest time to determine when the peas are at the proper stage for eating. Peas are of the best quality when they are fully expanded but immature, before they become hard and starchy. Peas should be picked immediately before cooking because their quality, especially sweetness (like that of sweet corn), deteriorates rapidly. The pods on the lower portion of the plant mature earliest. The last harvest (usually the third) is made about one week after the first. Pulling the entire plant for the last harvest makes picking easier.
Sugar Snap Peas
Snap peas should be harvested every 1 or 3 days, similarly to snow peas to get peak quality. Sugar snaps are at their best when the pods first start to fatten but before the seeds grow very large. At this point, the pods snap like green beans and the whole pod can be eaten. Some varieties have strings along the seams of the pod that must be removed before cooking. Sugar snaps left on the vine too long begin to develop tough fiber in the pod walls. These must then be shelled and used as other garden peas, with the fibrous pods discarded. Vining types of both sugar snap and snow peas continue to grow taller and produce peas as long as the plant stays in good health and the weather stays cool.
Snow Peas
These varieties are generally harvested before the individual peas have grown to the size of BBS, when the pods have reached their full length but are still quite flat. This stage is usually reached 5 to 7 days after flowering. Snow peas must be picked regularly (at least every other day) to assure sweet, fiber-free pods. Pods can be stir-fried, steamed or mixed with oriental vegetables or meat dishes. As soon as overgrown pods missed in earlier pickings are discovered, remove them from the plants to keep the plants blooming and producing longer. Enlarging peas inside these pods may be shelled and used as garden peas. Fat snow pea pods (minus the pea enlarging inside) should be discarded. Fibers that develop along the edges of larger pods, along with the stem and blossom ends, are removed during preparation. Pea pods lose their crispness if overcooked. The pods have a high sugar content and brown or burn quickly. Do not stir-fry over heat that is too intense.
Pea pods can be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for two weeks. Unlike fresh green peas, pea pods deteriorate only slightly in quality when stored.

Common Problems

The first signs of fusarium wilt and root-rot disease are the yellowing and wilting of the lower leaves and stunting of the plants. Infection of older plants usually results in the plants producing only a few poorly filled pods. These diseases are not as prevalent on well-drained soils. Double-dug raised beds amended with abundant organic matter can greatly improve soil aeration and drainage. Fusarium wilt can be avoided by growing wilt-resistant varieties.

Questions & Answers

Q. Should I inoculate my peas with nitrogen-fixing bacteria before planting?
A. When peas are planted on new land, you may increase the yield by inoculating peas with a commercial formulation of nitrogen-fixing bacteria. In an established garden, however, inoculation is less necessary. If you are in doubt, inoculation is a relatively inexpensive process that is easy to do and ensures better plant-nutrient status.

Selection & Storage

There are two common varieties of peas, green garden peas that need shelling and edible-pod peas that are eaten whole. Snow peas, sugar snap peas Chinese pea pods and many others fall into this category. They are low fiber pods with small wrinkled peas inside. The entire pod is eaten, cooked or raw.
Green garden peas are legumes just like dried peas, except they are eaten at the immature stage.
They are a cool weather, early spring crop. Harvest edible-pod peas when they are flat. Use both hands. Holding the plant stem in one hand use the other hand to pull off the pod. Using one hand, you can easily pull up the entire plant.
The smaller pods are sweeter and more tender. Use them for eating raw and cook the larger ones. The shelled peas should be plump but not large. Check one until you become familiar with the appearance. The plumpest peas should be gathered before the pod starts to wrinkle on the stem. Old peas taste starchy and mealy.
Fresh peas keep for 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator. The sugar in them quickly begins to turn to starch even while under refrigeration. As much as 40 percent of the sugar is converted in a few hours. Store unwashed peas in perforated plastic bags for a few days. The sooner they are eaten the better.

Nutritional Value & Health Benefits

Green garden peas are a valuable source of protein, iron and insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber helps to reduce serum cholesterol thus reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Sugar snap peas and the like, contain much less protein, but they are an excellent source of iron and vitamin C that work to keep your immune system functioning properly.
Nutrition Facts (1/2 cup cooked garden peas)
Calories 67
Dietary Fiber 2.4 grams
Protein 4.3 grams
Carbohydrates 12.5 grams
Vitamin A 478 IU
Vitamin C 11.4 mg
Folic acid 50.7 micrograms
Iron 1.2 mg
Potassium 217 mg
Magnesium 31 mg
Nutrition Facts (1/2 cup cooked snow peas)
Calories 34
Dietary Fiber 1.4 grams
Protein 2.6 grams
Carbohydrates 5.6 grams
Vitamin C 38.3 mg
Iron 1.6 mg
Potassium 192 mg
Magnesium 21 mg

Preparation & Serving

Wash garden peas just before shelling. To shell, pinch off the ends and pull the string down on the inside of the pod and pop the peas out. Wash edible pod peas and trim both ends. Remove the string from both sides of the pod. Cook briefly or serve raw. Steam, sauté or stir-fry quickly to retain the bright green color and vitamin C content. Vitamin C is easily destroyed by over cooking.

Home Preservation

Peas freeze beautifully if they are fresh. Fresh frozen peas do not need to be cooked upon thawing. Just add to soups, stews or heat briefly before serving.
To Prepare Garden Peas or Sugar Peas for Freezing
Since freezing does not improve the quality of any vegetable, it is important to start with fresh green pods. Avoid old tough pods as they will only get tougher during freezing.
  1. In a blanching pot or large pot with tight fitting lid, bring about 5 quarts of water to a rolling boil.
  2. Meanwhile, wash, trim and string, pea pods.
  3. Blanch no more than one pound of peas at a time. Drop peas into boiling water and immediately cover with a tight fitting lid.
  4. Start timing the blanching immediately and blanch shelled peas for two minutes and pods for five minutes.
  5. Prepare an ice water bath in a large 5 to 6 quart container or use the sink.
  6. Remove the peas from the blanching water with a slotted spoon or blanching basket.
  7. Emerge the peas in the ice water bath for 5 min. or until completely cool. If ice is unavailable, use several changes of cold tap water to cool the vegetables.
  8. Remove from water and drain.
  9. Label and date, quart size, zip-closure freezer bags.
  10. Pack peas into prepared freezer bags, squeeze out as much air as possible by folding the top portion of the bag over. Gently push air out and seal. Freeze for up to one year at 32°F or below.
Note: Blanching water and ice water bath may be used over and over again. Return blanching water to a boil after each batch of vegetables is blanched and replenish water if necessary.


The flavor of fresh garden peas is complimented by spearmint, marjoram, rosemary, and thyme.
They hold up well in stir-fry preparations. Boost the nutritional value of meals by adding them to pasta, soups, stews and rice dishes or raw in a fresh garden salad.
Sugar Snap Peas with Toasted Sesame Seeds
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 3 baby portabella mushrooms, sliced (1/2 cup)
  • 2 cups fresh sugar snap peas, fresh snow peas orthawed frozen snow peas cut in half
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seed
Wash and string peas, slice mushrooms measure soy and sesame seeds and set aside. Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and stir-fry until lightly browned. Add peas and stir-fry until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in soy sauce. Cover and cook 1 minute longer. Sprinkle with sesame seed and serve. Makes 4 servings.
French Peas
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1-1/2 pounds shelled fresh peas or frozen tiny peas, thawed
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots or white part of green onion
  • 1 large whole sprig parsley
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
Heat oil in a 3 quart saucepan. Place lettuce on top of oil. Add peas, shallots, parsley, sugar, salt and pepper. Simmer covered, stirring occasionally, 10 to 15 minutes, or until peas are just tender. Remove parsley sprig before serving. Makes 6 servings.

Homemade Corn Syrup

What to do with some frozen corn lefted over from last summer's crop. Well I found the recipe for homemade corn syrup on Brave Tart. Stella, has some amazing stuff over there. She makes everything from scratch;  someone I would love to meet and she's a Kentucky Girl!!! My Gardner Guy has plans some day to go back to Kentucky for a visit so perhaps I will get to meet this great cook!!!
"In Kentucky and some parts of the south, many thrifty cooks make corn cob jelly to squeeze every last drop of value from their corn. The jelly has a mild, honey-like flavor. While enjoying some with butter and biscuits, she thought how lovely the flavor would taste with vanilla, and further thought how nice it would taste in a soda. (according to her she is obsessed with soda!!! ). To that end, she made some corn flavored syrup and along the way discovered it can be used like “corn syrup” in many recipes. Not that a giant jar of sugar syrup is a health food, exactly, but for those with a fear of commercial corn syrup or a desire to reduce the amount of factory foods in their life, this is a great alternative."

Next on my list to make or try is some corn cobb jelly!!!
Suckers with my batch of corn syrup and this fall popcorn balls!!!

Yield: About 2 1/2 pounds corn syrup

  • 14 ounces corn on the cob. The corn is just there to impart flavor, so if it's a little bit over or a little bit under, it won't matter.
  • 5 1/4 cups water (use 2 1/2 cups water if you plan to leave the corn off)
  • 2 pounds sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 vanilla bean (I did use vanilla flavoring and it turned out okay for me)
  1. Slice corn cobs into one-inch slices.   Note: If you plan to leave the corn off, skip directly to step five.
  2. Bring a medium-sized saucepan filled with the water and cut corn to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until water is reduced by half - about thirty minutes.
  4. Using a colander, strain out the corn, reserving the corn-flavored water.
  5. Return the water to the saucepan and add the sugar and salt.
  6. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add both the seeds and the pod to the saucepan.
  7. Turn heat to medium-low and stir until sugar is dissolved.
  8. Simmer until the mixture is thick enough to stick to the back of a spoon.  
  9. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
  10. Store in the refrigerator with the vanilla bean until ready to use.
  11. When ready to use, if necessary, microwave with a touch of water and gently stir to remove the sugar crystals.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Garden Peas and their many uses!!!

The  garden pea can have many uses in your kitchen....from pesto to soup or try a pasta with this garden delite!!! 
Sweet Pea Crostini

Sweet Peas:
2 cups chicken broth or water
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 (16-ounce) bag frozen peas,  or fresh
1/4 cup fresh chopped mint
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup whipping cream
3 ounces finely diced prosciutto

1 baguette, sliced into 1/2-inch thick slices
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
3 to 4 cloves garlic

For the Sweet Peas: Warm the chicken broth and red pepper flakes in a medium

saucepan over medium-high heat until the broth boils. Add the frozen peas and cook until the peas are tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the peas in a mesh sieve.

Place the peas in a food processor with the mint, salt, and pepper. Puree the pea mixture. Place the pea puree in a medium bowl and refrigerate until cool, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, for the crostini: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the baguette slices on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Bake in the oven until toasted and golden around the edges, about 10 minutes. While the crostini are still warm, drizzle the tops with extra-virgin olive oil. Using a whole clove of garlic in your fingertips, rub the top of the crostini a few times to give a hint of garlic.

To finish, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the pea puree. Top each of the crostini with about 1 tablespoon of pea puree. Sprinkle with a bit of the diced prosciutto. Serve immediately.


Garden Pea Pesto (without nuts)

1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas, defrosted
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
1/3 cup olive oil

8 (1/2-inch thick) slices whole-grain baguette or ciabatta bread, preferably day-old, * see Cook's Note
1/3 cup olive oil

8 cherry tomatoes, halved or 1 small tomato, diced

For the pea pesto: Pulse together the peas, garlic, Parmesan, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a food processor. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil until well combined, about 1 to 2 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper, if needed. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

For the crostini: Preheat a stovetop griddle or grill pan on medium-high heat. Brush both sides of the sliced bread with olive oil and grill until golden, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the bread to a clean surface and spread 1 to 2 tablespoons of the prepared pesto on each slice.

Top with tomato halves and serve

Linguine with Pea Pesto

1 1/2 cups (from approximately 1 1/2 pounds peas in pods) fresh pea or a 10-ounce package frozen peas, defrosted
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted and cooled
1/2 cup (1 1/8 ounces) finely grated parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon table salt, plus more for pasta water
1/3 cup olive oil
12 ounces dried linguine
Garnish (optional): thinly slivered basil or mint leaves
If you’re completely maniacal about your peas getting overcooked (I am!), prepare an ice bath, a large bowl filled with ice water. Bring a small saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add peas and cook for 2 minutes (this leaves them with a bit of structure). Drain peas then add them to the ice bath (if using) and drain again. If you haven’t used an ice bath, let your peas cool to lukewarm before making the pesto.
Set aside 1/2 cup of your cooked peas. Whirl the remaining cup of peas in the work bowl of a food processor with garlic, pine nuts, 1/3 cup parmesan and salt until smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl as necessary. With the machine running, drizzle in olive oil. You can stop right here, toast some baguette slices and make some fine, fine crostini. Or, you can continue…
Cook your linguine until al dente. Reserve about two cups pasta cooking water (yes, this is a lot, the pea pesto will be surprisingly thick) then drain linguine and return it to pot. Over moderate heat, toss pasta with pesto, reserved peas and as much reserved pasta water as needed to smooth and distribute pesto; let cook for one minute so that the pesto adheres. Adjust salt to taste, add freshly ground black pepper if desired. Serve immediately, garnished with fresh herbs, if using, and remaining parmesan for passing.

Pea and Pesto Soup


3 cups water
3 cups frozen peas 0r fresh
2 scallions
1 teaspoon Maldon salt or kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon lime juice
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) fresh pesto (not jarred)

The quickest way to proceed is to fill a kettle first and put it on to boil. When it's boiled, measure the amount you need into a pan and put on the stove to come back to a boil.

Add the frozen peas, scallions, salt and lime juice and let everything bubble together for 7 minutes.

Discard the scallions and blitz the peas and their liquid with the pesto in a blender.*

Pour into a thermos flask that you've left filled with hot water and then emptied and make sure you screw the top on securely.

*When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.

Sweet Pea Salad and Ricotta Cheese Crostini

2 cups fresh sweet peas
1/4 cup minced shallot
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
1 teaspoon lemon, zested
1 lemon, juiced
Olive oil, for brushing
1 loaf focaccia bread, cut into 1 1/2-inch thin squares
1 cup ricotta cheese

Preheat grill to medium.

In a large bowl, add peas, shallots, garlic, salt, pepper, basil, mint, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, lemon zest and lemon juice. Stir to combine and set aside.

Brush focaccia squares with remaining oil. Grill on each side for 2 to 3 minutes until well marked. Remove from the grill to a serving platter. Spread ricotta cheese on each square and top with sweet pea salad.

12 Recipe Ideas for Crostini

Crostini.....(meaning "little toasts" in Italian) is an Italian appetizer consisting of small slices of grilled or toasted bread and toppings. The toppings may include a variety of different cheeses, meats, and vegetables, or may be presented more simply with a brush of olive oil and herbs or a sauce. Crostini is typically made using French or Italian baguettes...Yummy for your tummy and many ways to serve it and they are all good!!!

My favorite way to enjoy Crostini is with Pesto......follow this link for some great Pesto Recipes!!!
My Gardner Guy...Grow, Create, Cook and Eat...: Oh the Pesto!!! Making good use of those greens!!!

Tomato and Avocado Crostini

One small baguette, sliced diagonally into 1/2 inch slices
Olive oil
One ripe avocado
One tablespoon lemon juice
Coarse salt and pepper
1 pint cherry tomatoes, chopped


1. Preheat oven to 350. Brush the bread slices with some olive oil, arrange in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake until golden, about 8 minutes. Don't worry if the center isn't browned - as long as the edges are golden you are in good shape!
2. Peel and pit the avocado and mash with a fork with the lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper.
3. When the crostini are cool enough to handle, spread with avocado and top with tomatoes and whatever other garnish catches your fancy!

Roasted Cauliflower and Raisin Crostini

24 thin slices baguette (from 1 small loaf)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 head cauliflower, cut into small pieces
kosher salt and black pepper
1/4 cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons capers
4 ounces goat cheese

1. Heat oven to 400° F. Place the baguette slices on a baking sheet and brush both sides of the bread with 2 tablespoons oil. Bake until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes per side.
2. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the cauliflower with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil; season with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Roast until tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Add the raisins and capers and toss to combine.
3. Dividing evenly, spread the goat cheese on the toasted baguette slices and top with the cauliflower mixture.

Roast Beef and Pomegranate Crostini

24 thin slices baguette (from 1 small loaf)
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces thinly sliced roast beef
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1 scallion, thinly sliced
kosher salt and black pepper

1.Heat oven to 400° F. Place the baguette slices on a baking sheet and brush both sides of the bread with the oil. Bake until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes per side.
2.Dividing evenly, top the toasted baguette slices with the roast beef, sour cream, pomegranate seeds, and scallion; season with ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
Artichoke and Olive Crostini

24 thin slices baguette (from 1 small loaf)
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts (rinsed and chopped)
1⁄2 cup pitted kalamata olives chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
kosher salt and black pepper
2 ounces Parmesan, shaved

1. Heat oven to 400° F. Place the baguette slices on a baking sheet and brush both sides of the bread with 2 tablespoons oil. Bake until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes per side.
2. In a small bowl, toss together the artichoke hearts, olives, and parsley with the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil; season with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
3.Dividing evenly, top the crostini with the artichoke mixture, then the Parmesan.

Salami and Fennel Crostini

24 thin slices baguette (from 1 small loaf)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 fennel bulb, thinly sliced, plus 1 tablespoon chopped fronds
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
kosher salt and black pepper
3 ounces thinly sliced salami
1. Heat oven to 400° F. Place the baguette slices on a baking sheet and brush both sides of the bread with 2 tablespoons oil. Bake until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes per side.
2. In a medium bowl, toss together the fennel with the orange juice and zest and the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil; season with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
3. Dividing evenly, top the toasted baguette slices with the salami and fennel mixture; sprinkle with the fennel fronds.

 Smoked Salmon Crostini

24 thin slices baguette (from 1 small loaf)
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
kosher salt and black pepper
4 ounces smoked salmon

1. Heat oven to 400° F. Place the baguette slices on a baking sheet and brush both sides of the bread with the oil. Bake until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes per side.
2. In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, horseradish, and 1 tablespoon dill; season with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
3. Dividing evenly, spread the cream cheese mixture on the toasted baguette slices. Top with the salmon and sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of dill.

Mushroom and Herb Crostini

24 thin slices baguette (from 1 small loaf)
3 tablespoons olive oil
12 ounces assorted mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 cup white wine
kosher salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

1. Heat oven to 400° F. Place the baguette slices on a baking sheet and brush both sides of the bread with 2 tablespoons oil. Bake until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes per side
2. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the mushrooms. Cook until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until the liquid has evaporated, 3 to 4 minutes; season with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
3. Dividing evenly, top the toasted baguette slices with the mushrooms and sprinkle with the chives.

Shrimp and Tarragon Crostini

24 thin slices baguette (from 1 small loaf)
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 ounces cooked peeled and deveined medium shrimp, chopped
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
kosher salt and black pepper

1. Heat oven to 400° F. Place the baguette slices on a baking sheet and brush both sides of the bread with the oil. Bake until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes per side
2. In a medium bowl, combine the shrimp, mayonnaise, tarragon, and lemon juice; season with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
3. Dividing evenly, top the toasted baguette slices with the shrimp mixture.

Pesto, Radish, and Sea Salt Crostini

24 thin slices baguette (from 1 small loaf)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup pesto
8 radishes, thinly sliced
flaky sea salt

1. Heat oven to 400° F. Place the baguette slices on a baking sheet and brush both sides of the bread with the oil. Bake until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes per side.
 2.Dividing evenly, spread the pesto on the toasted baguette slices, top with the radishes, and sprinkle with the salt.
Ricotta and Roasted Tomato Crostini

24 thin slices baguette (from 1 small loaf)
4 cups grape tomatoes
5 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper
1 cup ricotta
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

1. Heat oven to 400° F. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the tomatoes with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Roast until the tomatoes are beginning to burst, 20 to 25 minutes
2. Meanwhile, place the baguette slices on a baking sheet and brush both sides of the bread with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Bake until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes per side.
3. Dividing evenly, spread the ricotta on the toasted baguette slices, top with the tomato mixture, and sprinkle with the thyme.

Blue Cheese and Fig Crostini

24 thin slices baguette (from 1 small loaf)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup fig chutney
4 ounces blue cheese, thinly sliced

1. Heat oven to 400° F. Place the baguette slices on a baking sheet and brush both sides of the bread with the oil. Bake until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes per side.
2. Dividing evenly, spread the chutney on the toasted baguette slices and top with the cheese.

Grilled Corn, Bacon and Chile Crostini 

2 ears corn, shucked
Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing and drizzling
Kosher salt
4 strips bacon, julienned
2 Fresno chile peppers, cut into thin rounds
3 to 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 scallions, thinly sliced on the bias
6 thick slices baguette
2 cloves garlic

Preheat a grill to medium. Lightly brush the corn with olive oil and season with salt. Grill, turning occasionally, until the corn is charred on all sides and the kernels are soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove and set aside until cool, then cut the kernels off the cobs.

Drizzle a saute pan with olive oil; add the bacon and bring to medium heat. When the bacon is browned and crispy, add the chiles and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the corn kernels and toss to combine. Season with salt and stir in the vinegar. Toss in the scallions and remove from the heat.

Toast the baguette slices on the grill until lightly charred. Remove the toasts and rub with the garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and top with the corn-bacon mixture.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Fresh Herbs...information from Farm to Table post....

A Visual Guide to Fresh Herbs

Get to know your parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme

I found this article very interesting to add a few things like recipes ideas to my long list of recipes to try!!!

Read More

Herbs like mint, basil, and tarragon have long been prized throughout the world for their curative properties (mint for indigestion, basil for kidney problems, and tarragon for snake bites). This guide focuses on their culinary applications.
Consider growing your own herbs if you can. Having fresh herbs available minimizes waste, since there is no rush to use all of the herbs immediately. Visit your local nursery garden for seeds, seedlings, and other garden supplies. For some of the more obscure varieties, consider online catalog companies such as Cook's Garden, Burpee and Park Seed.
For advice on buying and preparing fresh herbs, check out these tips.

Herb Visual Guides



Alternate names: Coriander leaf, Chinese parsley, koyendoro, Mexican parsley, pak chee, yuen-sai, green coriander, coriander green, dhania
Characteristics: You either love cilantro or hate it. Its leaves look like flat-leaf parsley's, but note the smaller leaves and lankier stem. Cilantro's flavor is described by some as bright and citrusy, and as soapy by others. This herb pops up in the cuisines of India, Mexico, and Vietnam in dishes like dhania chutney, salsa, and pho. The seeds of the plant are called coriander and are used in some pickling recipes, as well as in boerewors, a South African sausage.
For recipes using cilantro, click here ›



Characteristics: In the United States, the two most widely available varieties of mint are peppermint and spearmint. The leaves of both plants look similar, with their rough-fuzzy, jagged leaves, but they part ways when it comes to their taste: Peppermint has a strong, cooling aftertaste due to the high concentration of menthol; spearmint is lighter and sweeter to the palate. Lesser-known types of mint include ginger, apple, and curly mint, which, when used in large quantities, impart the flavor that is connected to its name. Mint is a common ingredient in Thai food like rolls, as well as in Middle Eastern dishes such as tabbouleh, and in traditional mint tea from North Africa. It's not unusual to see mint paired with lamb or chocolate; other popular uses for the herb are jellies, sauces and cocktails such as the Mint Julep and Mojito.
For recipes using mint, click here ›



Pictured, left to right: Curly parsley, flat-leafed (Italian) parsley
Characteristics: This unsung hero can do more than just garnish a plate. In French and Italian cooking, many a stock, stew, and soup calls for bouquet garni flavored by this herb. Generally speaking, flat parsley has a peppery bite whereas the curly kind is relatively bland. And as their names denote, they have textural differences, too. Pastas and egg recipes often benefit from a sprinkling of chopped parsley; the herb's clean, light flavor cuts down on heavy creaminess and also acts as a palate-cleanser. For something different, try substituting parsley for basil when making pesto.
For recipes using parsley, click here ›



Alternate names: dill leaf, dillweed, dill weed
Characteristics: This herb resembles a finer, more delicate fern with leaves that are soft, like super fine hairs. Dill elicits strong reactions: Some describe the flavor as clean and grassy, while others dislike it for being tangy and earthy. And even though this herb is often associated with Scandinavian cuisine (especially salmon)—gravlax, anyone?—it's found in other international dishes, as well: tzatziki (Greek), corn (Indian), and borscht (Eastern Europe). Often used in pickling, dill goes well with potatoes and dips that incorporate mayonnaise and sour cream.
For recipes using dill, click here ›



Pictured, left to right: Sweet (Italian) basil, purple basil
Characteristics: Basil is the most commonly used herb in the United States, and as seen here, the two varieties usually available have very different appearances. The leaves of the purple basil tend to be smaller, and while both kinds of basil share a similar flavor profile—peppery and minty with a touch of sweetness—sweet basil is relatively sweeter than its purple counterpart. Green basil is largely showcased in dishes from Italy (basil pesto) and Southeast Asia (green chicken curry), proving its versatility. The dark color of purple basil makes it a wonderful garnish in dishes. Regardless of which kind you cook with, add the leaves at the end of cooking for maximum flavor.
For recipes using basil, click here ›



Alternate names: Wild marjoram, pot marjoram
Characteristics: Oregano's hint of sweetness combined with some spiciness adds warmth to any dish. Fresh oregano can be difficult to find in the marketplace and because dried oregano has a stronger flavor than the fresh, use it sparingly. Mediterranean (Greek) oregano is typically milder than Mexican oregano, the former being used in pizza seasonings and the latter sometimes called for in chili recipes.
For recipes using oregano, click here ›



Characteristics: Rosemary has a strong, even pungent, pinelike fragrance and flavor. Recipes that call for rosemary tend to require the needles to be stripped off their branches and chopped before cooking. But don't overlook the woody stems, which can be used to flavor soups and roasts. Native to the Mediterranean region, rosemary gained popularity with Italian cooking in Tuscan favorites like schiacciata, a flatbread that is sometimes made savory with rosemary-infused oil, and chicken cacciatore. The herb pairs well with pork chops, poultry, and even fish, (especially when grilled). Vegetarians can enjoy the herb in potatoes. For an unusual sweet-savory treat, consider rosemary shortbread cookies.
For recipes using rosemary, click here ›



Characteristics: Related to onions and other bulb vegetables, this herb looks a lot like lawn grass. Its deep-green hollow stems lend a refreshingly light oniony taste, which helps cut down on the heaviness of rich foods such as blue cheese and chive dressing and risotto cakes. When finely chopped, chives work well as a garnish.
For recipes using chives, click here ›



Characteristics: This plant's light gray-green leaves are soft and fuzzy, and its taste ranges from mild to slightly peppery with some touches of mint. Because of its pronounced flavoring, sage is a good herb to pair with foods traditionally considered heavy, rich, and creamy, like meats (sausage), and certain dairy products such as cheese and cream (ravioli with sage cream sauce), as well as sweet and savory breads (cornbread). Unlike more delicate herbs, sage can be added in the beginning of the cooking process.
For recipes using sage, click here ›



Alternate name: Bean herb, mountain savory
Characteristics: There are two varieties of savory: winter savory (pictured here) and summer savory. In general, savory has a peppery flavor, although winter savory is more pungent and stronger flavored than the summer variety. This herb has long been incorporated into European cuisines such as beans,meat, and poultry. It is also commonly added to soups and stews that have meat or poultry and/or beans, as in this Georgian Pork stew and white bean and pasta soup.
For recipes using savory, click here ›



Characteristics: The tiny leaves on this low-growing woody plant work best in tandem with other herbs and spices such as basil, sage, and lavender. Thyme is a major ingredient in the classic French flavoring herbes de Provence. And it plays a major role, next to parsley and bay leaf, in another blend of French herbs, bouquet garni a crucial flavor component in broths, soups, and stews. Thyme's importance in Middle Eastern cooking cannot be understated; along with oregano and marjoram, it is a crucial element in zaatar. This herbal blend is often used in flatbreads such as pita, as well as to flavor roasted meat and poultry. Like rosemary, recipes calling for thyme require you to strip the leaves off the woody stems. Using the entire herb infuses a headier scent and flavor.
For recipes using thyme, click here ›



Alternate name: French tarragon, Dragon herb
Characteristics: Tarragon's glossy, long, tapered leaves impart a delicate anise flavor (like licorice and fennel) that is more sweet than strong. The herb is often paired with foods that easily absorb other flavors such as chicken, scallops, and eggs. Once considered the king of herbs in French cuisine, tarragon is an essential ingredient in the classic béarnaise sauce . It's not an easy herb to keep for long periods of time so it is often placed in a bottle of vinegar. Elegant in form, the herb also makes for an elegant garnish.
For recipes using tarragon, click here ›



Alternate names: Sweet marjoram, knotted marjoram
Characteristics: This herb is often mistaken for its relative oregano when judged solely on its looks, but marjoram's grassy, lemony taste proves to be the sweeter of the two. Like thyme, marjoram works well in ensembles (herbes de Provence and zaatar) and pairs nicely with meats and poultry, especially in stews. In Mexico, marjoram, thyme, and oregano are combined to create a lively pungent hierbas de olor, the Mexican equivalent to the French bouquet garni. Try also using marjoram in tomato sauce, white bean salads, fish dishes and vinaigrettes.
For recipes using marjoram, click here ›

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Sunday, June 10, 2012

June Garden Pictures and Back yard face lift...

Every month I have posted a few garden pictures so that we can look back and see the progress of growth. That is one reason...the real reason is My Garden Guy love's it when I toot about him, the big PRAISE!!!        See his garden grow!!!

We are currently re-doing our back patio and adding a paver side walk from the front yard to the back yard with a few planter boxes so that I can have some flowers!!! I really love flowers...this area houses a lot of slade until late after noon. I am researching suggestions for what to plant.

Thank you Honey!!!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Yellow Cake With Strawberry Filling and Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting

Using up those Strawberries for a special person!!!

Happy Birthday Lila!!!
My oldest Daughter...she is wonderful...



  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pans
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, plus more for the pans
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 recipe Fresh Strawberry Filling (See Below)
  • 1 recipe Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting (See Below)
  • 1 quart strawberries, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam, warmed


  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Butter two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment, butter again, and dust with flour, tapping out the excess. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla, then the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  3. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions and the milk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix just until combined (do not overmix).
  4. Transfer the batter to the prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes for 8-inch pans and 22 to 25 minutes for 9-inch pans. Cool the cakes in the pans for 15 minutes, then turn out onto racks to cool completely.
  5. Transfer one of the cooled cakes to a plate and spread with 1 to 1½ cups of the filling. Top with the remaining cake and refrigerate to set, 30 minutes. Spread the top and sides with the frosting.
  6. Starting from the outside perimeter, place a ring of the sliced strawberries around the cake, points facing out. Continue layering concentric rings around the cake until you reach the center. Carefully brush with the jam.

Fresh Strawberry filling:

  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved (about 2 3/4 cups)
  • 1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
  • pinch kosher salt
  1. In a food processor, combine the strawberries, jam, and salt. Pulse 10 to 12 times, just until the strawberries are coarsely chopped (about the consistency of relish). Refrigerate until ready to use, up to 6 hours.

Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting:

  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • pinch kosher salt
  1. Heat the chocolate in a double boiler or medium heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water, stirring often, until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and let cool, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter on high until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low. Gradually add the sugar and beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the chocolate, sour cream, and salt and beat to combine.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

It's Strawberry Time....

Growing Strawberries

Strawberries are an easy to grow fruit crop that will reward the home gardener with ample harvests for many years. With favorable conditions, each strawberry plant should produce one quart of strawberries. There are basically 3 types of strawberry plants to choose from: June bearing, Everbearing and Day Neutral. June Bearing strawberries produce a single, large crop per year during a 2 - 3 week period in the spring. June bearers are the traditionally grown plants, producing a single flush of flowers and many runners. They are classified into early, mid-season and late varieties. The largest fruits are generally from June bearing varieties. Everbearing strawberries produce two to three harvests of fruit intermittently during the spring, summer and fall. Everbearing plants do not send out many runners. Day Neutral strawberries will produce fruit throughout the growing season. These strawberries also produce few runners. Everbearing and day neutral strawberries are great when space is limited, but the fruits are usually somewhat smaller than June bearers.

My Gardner Guy's Strawberries....

Red, ripe, and luscious, this popular fruit has lots of vitamin C and health-boosting antioxidants.
Which ever way you choose to add them to your diet, grow them or buy them, strawberries are a must for this time of the year!!!

How to Choose Strawberries: Go for plump, firm, fragrant berries that are shiny and bright red. Avoid any that are bruised or withered or have a dry or brownish cap. The smaller varieties are generally more flavorful. Inspect plastic containers and cartons for stickiness or stains, signs that the fruit inside is damaged or past its prime.                                   

How to Prepare Strawberries: Wash the berries and trim the caps just before using.

How to Freeze Strawberries
Strawberries are sensitive to both heat and cold and are very delicate, so it is wise to ‘put them up’ as quickly as possible.

Here are suggestions for a few different methods for freezing strawberries. I use all of them, as they each have their benefits.

Whole Strawberries

Bags of whole, frozen strawberries are handy to have around for adding to smoothies or baking. This method of freezing on a tray or sheet ensures the berries freeze individually, rather than in an inconvenient brick.
They can be frozen without adding sugar, at a higher risk of getting freezer burn, so it is best to use them up within six months if they are indeed sugar free. Otherwise, a light dusting of sugar before freezing will both help preserve their color and prevent freezer burn.

How to Freeze Whole Strawberries

  1. Wash and gently dry the strawberries. Don’t soak them long in water as this will result in a loss of flavor and nutrients!
  2. Hull the berries and remove any ones that are spoiled. (Save those ones for your coulis, below)
  3. Place the strawberries on a baking sheet, not touching one another, and freeze until solid.
  4. Transfer the strawberries to plastic resealable bags or airtight containers and store in the freezer for up to six months.

Strawberries in Simple Syrup

This tried and true ‘old school’ method calls for freezing the berries whole in a mildly sweet sugar-water. You can use jars or plastic containers to freeze them in.
Packed in liquid, the berries retain their color and shape when reconstituted, making them a standalone dessert. They can also be spooned over yogurt or ice cream, or heaped onto scones and topped with cream for a classic strawberry shortcake that is not lacking in flavor.
Tip 1: Make the simple syrup before you go berry picking or acquire your fruit. It keeps for several weeks in the fridge, and will be waiting, already chilled, for the moment your fresh strawberries arrive.
Tip 2: Add a subtle, natural flavoring to the simple syrup such as orange zest, green cardamom pods, or vanilla bean. Your jar of berries is now a seasonal dessert; thaw, open and eat with a spoon come January for a reminder of warmer days.

How to Freeze Strawberries in Simple Syrup

Make a simple syrup by combining 4 cups water to each 1 cup sugar. Dissolve the sugar in either cold or hot water; if hot water is used, be sure to chill the syrup before using.
Place whole or sliced berries in containers and cover with cold syrup; use about 1/2 to 1/3 cup of syrup for each pint container. Package and freeze.
To Thaw: Thaw in the refrigerator or on the counter. Never immerse frozen jars into hot water.

Strawberry Coulis

Strawberry coulis, or sauce, adds vibrant color and fresh flavor to many desserts, and is well-worth the effort and freezer space. Spoon it over pancakes or crepes, serve it over chocolate cake, or drizzle it over ice cream. No matter how you enjoy it, strawberry coulis offers a large reward for a minimal time investment.
While some recipes suggest cooking the berries or even adding cornstarch, all that is really needed for a tantalizing sauce is a few drops of citrus juice (to bring out the flavor of the berries) and perhaps a sprinkling of sugar if the berries are tart. This is then blended to a smooth consistency and that’s it!
Be sure to set aside some strawberry sauce for a refreshing strawberry-limeade concentrate below!

Recipe: Strawberry Coulis

  • 1 pound strawberries, washed and hulled, about two pints
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon or lime juice
  1. Combine strawberries, lemon juice and sugar in a blender or food processor.
  2. Pulse until berries are somewhat chopped then blend until smooth and the sauce looks glossy. Taste and adjust sugar if needed.
  3. If desired, pass puree through a fine sieve to remove seeds. (I usually skip this step.)
  4. Pour into two 1/2 pint jars, leaving 1/2 an inch of headspace at the top of the jar, and freeze.
Makes 2 cups.
Note: Sauce will also keep up to a week in the refrigerator.

Strawberry-Limeade Concentrate

Turn all your bruised and less-attractive berries into this snazzy summer cooler. By having this concentrate on hand, you can whip up fresh and beautiful drinks at a moment’s notice.

Recipe: Strawberry-Limeade Concentrate

  • 3/4 cup strawberry coulis (recipe above)
  • 3/4 cup sugar or whole cane sugar
  • 1 cup lime juice (approximately 8 limes)
Mix ingredients together and freeze in ice cube trays.
To serve: In a drinking glass, stir together 1 cup cold water and two frozen cubes of concentrate and stir to combine. Enjoy.

Save some of those strawberries and mix you up a fantastic tasty berry shake!!!


Mixed-Berry Shake


  • 1 quart vanilla ice cream
  • 6 ounces unsweetened frozen berries (such as strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries)
  • 2 cups whole milk


  1. In a blender, combine half of the ice cream, berries, and milk. Purée until smooth, stopping occasionally to stir with a spoon. Pour into glasses. Repeat with the remaining ingredients Mixed-Berry Shake

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Summer time is for enjoying many fresh vegetables, salads ,and homemade salad dressings!!!

I got turned onto making my own Salad Dressing after taking a cruise...yes sir there were no bottled salad dressing'. Each night the waiter would come out with a beautiful display of dressing' I was hook....and there was no Ranch dressing!!!

Basic Vinaigrette


  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 to 2 lemons)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Whisk together the lemon juice, honey, and shallot in a small bowl. Slowly add the oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly until emulsified.
  2. Season with the salt and pepper.


Creamy Herb Dressing


  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (such as chives, parsley, and dill)
  • kosher salt and black pepper


In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, mayonnaise, herbs, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.



Roast Lemon Vinaigrette


  • lemons
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Halve lemons crosswise and remove the seeds. Place the lemons in a glass baking dish and drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Turn cut-side down and roast until tender and slightly golden, 25 to 45 minutes, depending on size; let cool.
  2. Squeeze the juice and pulp into a small bowl. Add any juice from the baking dish along with the honey and salt. Whisking constantly, slowly add the extra-virgin olive oil. Drizzle the vinaigrette over shrimp or vegetables.


Simple Vinaigrette


  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 small shallot, finely chopped
  • kosher salt and black pepper


  1. In a small bowl, combine the mustard, vinegar, oil, shallot, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Whisk until well combined.


Quick Carrot-Ginger Dresssing


  • 1 cup sliced carrots (about 2 large)
  • 1 small shallot, sliced
  • 1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup white miso (soybean paste; found in the refrigerated section of the supermarket)
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup canola oil


  1. Place the carrots, shallot, ginger, miso, vinegar, and sesame oil in a blender. Blend, scraping down the sides as necessary, until very finely chopped, about 1 minute.
  2. Add the canola oil and blend until nearly smooth, about 30 seconds. If necessary, thin the dressing with up to 2 tablespoons water. The dressing will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.



Creamy Parmesan Dressing


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • kosher salt and black pepper


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, Parmesan, sour cream, vinegar, 2 tablespoons water, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.

Balsamic-Dijon Vinaigrette


  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • kosher salt and black pepper


  1. In a small bowl or jar, whisk or shake together the oil, vinegar, mustard, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.

Lemon and Shallot Vinaigrette


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • kosher salt and black pepper


  1. In a small bowl or jar, whisk or shake together the oil, lemon juice, honey, shallot, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.

White Wine Vinaigrette


  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 2 to 3 lemons)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the wine, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper.
  2. Still whisking, slowly add the oil in a steady stream. (You can cover and refrigerate the vinaigrette for up to 1 week. Whisk to recombine before using.)
  3. Drizzle over a green salad, broiled seafood, sliced roast chicken, or steamed vegetables.


Blue Cheese Dressing


  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • black pepper
  • 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (1 cup)


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  2. Fold in the blue cheese.
           I love Blue Cheese dressing mixed with a little ranch on a Cobb Salad!!!

Red Wine Vinaigrette


  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • kosher salt and black pepper


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, mustard, honey, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.

French Macaron's....they look to good to eat...

A love affair with a French Macaron...    Just the sight of these brightly colored, beautiful light treats is enough to make your mo...