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A Pinch of Herb

This blog is my journal of starting a small herb garden in my kitchen. I will share recipes and tips about herb gardening.

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Location: United States

My family has many hobbies. The boys enjoy working on cars, trucks, and other farm machinery. The old men (hubby and father-in-law) enjoy palm trees, hunting and fishing. The old men own a palm grove together. The boys also enjoy hunting and fishing. My hobbies include keeping the boys and old men in line. This is out of necessity, but I do have hobbies, which I do for fun. I love computing, and you will find me on the computer at all hours of the day and night. I also enjoy fishing, reading and canoeing. If I could lift that big old canoe by myself, I would be at the lake paddling around all by myself with a fishing line over the side. Since I can’t, I have to take the boys and men along, which means I have to spend a lot of time taking care of them and keeping them all out of trouble. I enjoy reading mystery books and collect recipe books. The most recent book I have read is Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Friday, November 11, 2005

English Mint Sauce

English Mint Sauce

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves
1 cup malt vinegar
2 tablespoons white sugar
small bottles for storage

Rinse young, healthy mint leaves, strip from the stems, and chop into fine pieces. I usually process most of the leaves in the blender, with a little of the vinegar, leaving some aside to chop by hand. The leaves chopped in the blender will be very fine, and infuse a fine flavor, while those done by hand are a little coarser and will be more visible in the decorative vinegar jar.

Bring vinegar to a simmer in a small saucepan, add sugar and chopped leaves. Simmer for about 20 minutes to infuse.

Choose an appropriate glass jar to store the sauce. Wash containers thoroughly, then sterilize by immersing the jars in a pan of hot water and simmering for 10 minutes. Once jars are sterilized, remove from the simmering water and invert on paper towel to dry. Fill while the jars are still warm and seal tightly. If using corks and you intend to store the vinegar for an extended time, seal the corks by dipping in paraffin; if using a screw top, place a small square of waxed paper on top of the jar before screwing the lid on tight.

Vinegar has natural preservative qualities, and mint sauce should keep for 2 to 3 months in cold storage or for 6 to 8 months in the refrigerator.

You'll find that the mint settles to the bottom of the jar, so the mint sauce should be gently shaken or stirred before serving. Mint sauce can be served over lamb or pork or can be used to add a bit of flavor to peas or new potatoes.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Italian Herb Mixture

2 Tbsp dried Oregano
2 Tbsp dried Basil
2 Tbsp dried Rosemary
2 Tbsp dried Thyme
2 Tbsp dried Sage

Place all herbs in a sandwhich baggie and shake to mix well. Pour mixed herbs into a shaker jar and use in your favorite Italian recipes or to give to a friend for a gift. This recipe makes 5/8 of a cup and can be increased or decreased incrementally to suit your needs.

Helpful hint 2 Tablespoons equals 1/8 cup.

Pesto Sauce

2 cups fresh Sweet Basil
3 Cloves Garlic
4 to 6 Walnut Halves
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese

Blend first 4 ingredients in blender until smooth paste is formed. Add 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese and blend well. Serve over cooked noodles.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Eggshell Planters

I ran across the cutest little planters for starting herbs. My mom had cracked off the very top of the pointy end of eggshells, added potting soil, and seeds. They were really cute and provide a nice starter pot that is bio-degradable later.

I also found ceramic egglings on Amazon. They look like real eggs, and they are available in Basil, Italian Parsley, Mint, and Thyme measuring 2.125" X 1.875". Herbs will easily grow in container for up to 5 months.

These containers will cost you about $8.95. Just click on the picture to go to Amazon's secure ordering page.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Spaghetti Sauce

Mom sent me the following recipe to get me started when I get my herbs growing. She knows spaghetti is my favorite. She also says to add a little oil to the water when boiling potatoes or spaghetti to keep the water from boiling over. Love ya mom :-D

Spaghetti Sauce

2 medium onions chopped
3/4 cup green and red peppers diced
4 oz fresh mushrooms sliced
1/2 c water
1 can 28 oz diced tomatoes
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup tomatoes cut up
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt

Simmer on low heat for 30 mins.

Herbs in a Bag

Price $7.25 at last check.

I found the cutest Herbs in a Bag in Amazon from CalliopeBoutique. These are leak-proof bags with picture labels. The seeds and potting soil are already in the bag, so all you need to do is add water. The bags are 3" X 6" X 7" and are very inexpensive at around $7.00. These look like lots of fun and you can also find flowers in a bag too.

Click on the picture of Herb in a Bag, and the link will take you directly to Amazon where you can order securely.

Monday, August 15, 2005

I chose 3 candle holders, a favorite mug and a champagne glass. Posted by Picasa

This is the wrought iron tea serving tray I chose. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Plant Marker Fun

I used several odd-ball bowls and mugs as containers for my growing herbs. I considered painting the herb name on each but thought I might want to use them for something else at a later date and wouldn't want to have to remove the paint. Instead, I will be searching for a unique way to make inexpensive plant markers to place in each with the corresponding herb name. If anyone has any good ideas, feel free to post ideas for me in the comments section. You ideas are greatly appreciated.

Friday, August 05, 2005

The Pots

I finally got all the pots picked out, and the display table set into place. Need to get the seeds planted and borrow a friends digital camera. The display table is looking very nice I think.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Pics Arriving Soon

I have set up my plant stand, and decided on my containers for my chosen herbs. I will be taking pictures this week with the digital camera. It is looking really cute. I want to see how these turn out, then I may decide to also includes herbs for oriental cooking next so I have a good excuse to get the wok out more often.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Starting an Herb Garden

Starting My Herb Garden

Click the picture to go to Amazon for secure ordering --->

I have always loved herb gardens, and today is the day I have decided to start my own in the kitchen. I do not want to spend lots of money on this garden so I am using many things that I already have around my house for planters. I have several old flower pots under the sink with nothing growing in them that I might use. I have some old bowls and cups that have become miscellaneous items in my kitchen because of small children and hubby breaking other pieces from the set. I also have some candy dishes that would make pretty plant pots.

I have a few options for a display rack. I want it to be something inexpensive or something that I might find around the house until I have more dollars. I have considered cinder blocks or bricks and boards, old end table or nightstands, and one of those lovely wrought iron and glass shelving units. For now, I have decided to use a small wrought iron and glass serving table, that I already have, to display my pots, because I want to start out small. If all goes well, I may just invest in the wrought iron shelves. I do have a large window in the kitchen where I can put them to get sunshine.

I think I will start with some Italian herbs just to keep it simple and useful to me. Tony, my son, and I love making pizza and pasta. Maybe I will start with parsley, basil, oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme. I will keep you updated with my successes and/or failures. :-) I will also display a photo or two of my finished product.