Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Death In The Herb Gardens~

Middle Tennessee is experiencing 30's temps at night with heavy frost...alas...the beautiful and delicious Basil...has instantly died...the death was quick and total :) But...all is not lost. I had a couple of pots left from the last plant sale and had combined those into one large potting, so there is a yummy pot of Genovese basil in my basement to get me through the withdrawal period.

Try basil leaves on sandwiches in place of or an addition to lettuce.

When you have the munchies...instead of chips or cookies or as an appetizer's for your guest...your choice of thinly sliced meat...
( I use organic turkey )
a thin layer of pepper jelly and spreadable Goat cheese on the meat-and a couple of basil leaves atop the jelly...roll up and hold with party stickers ( aka-toothpicks ) Talk about good ! ( you'll get a healthy dose of vitamins and protein without the empty calorie count )

And of course, dried basil is a must in your favorite soups, chowders, and red sauce.....and, you are in luck...the perfect place to get it is....

Need through the past months of this blog or the recipe archive on the website.

Happy and deliciously good...fall season.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Old Timey Lavender Cookies

1 1/2 cups real butter, softened

2/3 cup pure cane sugar

1/4 cup sifted confectioners' sugar

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh lavender

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

2 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour

1/2 cup Arrowroot ( or ) cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt


1.In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the lavender, mint and lemon zest. Combine the flour, cornstarch and salt; mix into the batter until well blended.

Divide dough into two balls, wrap in plastic wrap and flatten to about 1inch thick. Refrigerate until firm, about 1hour.

2.Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F 
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Cookie stamps will work well on these too. Place on cookie sheets.

3.Bake for 18 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, just until cookies begin to brown at the edges. Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
My Favorite Lavender Cookie~
1 tablespoon dried lavender blossoms

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon raw turbinado sugar (you can also use pure cane sugar)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 eggs, beaten (for egg wash)
extra sugar for sprinkling on top

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Set aside.

In a small spice grinder-1 tablespoon lavender and 1 tablespoon sugar. Grind it up! You could also use a mortar and pestle to grind the sugar and lavender together.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment add butter, ground lavender mixture, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Cream on medium speed until slightly more pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. There will still be raw sugar bits floating around. That’s fine. Stop the mixer, add the flour. Mix on low speed until dough comes together. The dough will be crumbly, then begin to form when it continues to mix. Dump dough mixture out onto a clean surface and form into a ball with your hands. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

Divide refrigerated dough into quarters. On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough out to a 1/4-inch thickness. Use a 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter to cut cookies, or use a pizza cutter to slice cookies into squares. Use a fork to prick cookies. Brush very lightly with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Refrigerate cookies while oven preheats.

Place racks in the center and upper third of the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. When oven is preheated, bake cookies for 8 to 11 minutes, until just browned around the edges. Remove from oven. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cookies last, in an airtight container at room temperature, for up to 4 days.

Tip...when using Lavender , always make certain it has not been sprayed with any chemicals. Dried lavender is much better for culinary use than fresh. The difference being the essential oil content is more potent in fresh, and will sometimes impart a heavier taste than you might want.
Never use more of Lavender than a recipe calls for....with this herb, less is more :)

Happy munching !

Recipe For Autumn Kick-Off~

Grains-Greens-And Salmon

Enough greens for 2 servings ( washed and drained ) turnip, collard, or kale
Enough grains for 2 servings ( grits or quinoe )
1 small sweet onion sliced thin
2 small Salmon fillets-sprinkle with Sage Hill Farms Cajun seasoning and allow to sit for 10 minutes

Cook grains to package instructions and season with Cajun blend
Saute' onion and greens until just tender with a shake of your best white wine
Broil Salmon just until flaky

If not using Sage Hill Farms Cajun blend seasoning...sea salt, freshground black peppercorns, a pinch fresh garlic, and a pinch of cayenne pepper will do.

Layer greens onto a dinner plate, top with your grain of choice and lay salmon atop the grains...lightly squeeze fresh lemon over the entire dish...

Yummy and your better self will thank you:)

For the Sage Hill Farms Cajun seasoning and other selections please visit our website...we thank you~

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Holiday Menus-A Perfect Time To Tweak~

Have you ever made this statement...I'll change my eating habits after the holiday's.....big boo-boo :)
The perfect time to tweak your diet is now...prior to the onslaught of rich and tempting main course foods, sugar laden desserts, and snacks on every counter.

Now, before you label me a party-pooper-rest easily that begin the 'season' of food with a plan, and stick to it-you will enjoy the feasting just as much and walk into the new year with no extra pounds to haunt you until next October :)

Many make the mistake of depending on the next party or gathering to eat-when we do this we are left with options out of our control to fill our needs.
Make simple and healthy meals at home-eat before you go out...then you can pick and choose from the offerings in a manner that doesn't fill you with unwanted or needed calories and carbs.

Concentrate on the guest, join in on good conversations ( start one ) and through it all...keep a glass of water ( after one glass of your favorite sipping tonic ) in hand...water with lemon, lime, or any fruit/berry that is available is a good choice. This will keep your appetite in check, fill the need for something in your hands, and your body will thank you for the hydration.

Tip...if one does not have the willpower to do this...ask yourself...why..and work on that....if you feel the need to do so.

Happy Holiday Season

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Joyful Moments-in the garden

One of the most joyful ways to enjoy your garden is to simply let it be. Allow some areas to grow within their own boundaries, to spread, mix, and go wild :)

One place I allow this is just outside my drying barn...small beds on each side of the doors are never 'planted'...I use the space to sweep seed and cuttings from the barn floor-whatever germinates and grows is what we enjoy.

This year we have zinnias, parsley, fennel, and a grapevine, all happily living and growing together.

Take your joy where you find it....we often can't control the events or the outcome of a day, week, or year...but we can make or find one joyful moment in each and every day- and embrace it for good.

Have a joyful season~
Bea Rigsby-Kunz
Sage Hill Farms

All your holiday herbs, seasonings, tisanes , and teas are available at the Sage Hill website...fresh dried and flavorful...and as always-chemical free~

Saturday, October 01, 2011

October-A Time To Balance

Balance is about knowing and understanding both sides of any issue. Then finding a line that you can walk without compromising your comfort level.

One of those balancing acts for me is Halloween-as we know it is one of many celebrations that dates back to  pagan practices. I've heard much about the dark side of this holiday-my personal thinking is the dark side of any subject lies within the person/persons who would seek the dark side...and not in the concept of a celebration .

If one does not approve, then one simply does not join the crowd.
This is finding and walking your comfort line.

When I think of witches...I don't think of Halloween, pagan rituals or evil beings...I think of all the innocent lives that were taken during the period of burning witches at the stake....closed minds and pre-formed ideas about any issue can often times lead to unspeakable deeds.

My balance for October is taking the good from the mix of all that was so, to bring us to this place in time.

Do you know...Sage ( probably White sage ) was used in rituals during the pagan times...does this mean I won't be using sage in my holiday  cooking...I think not :)  and I'm growing White sage for a customer in my gardens ( a medicinal variety )

Embrace October, the changing of the seasons, the color, texture, and scents that seem to beckon us into the realm of a time like no other...the Holiday Season~

Bea Rigsby-Kunz
here you will find fresh dried sage for your holiday needs, a fabulous special for the season, and hopefully something that will help your balancing act too.