Sage Flowers! Who Knew?

HERB FLOWER PESTO:

 

If your herbs are soon going to seed, use the flowers to make a delicious sauce… Feel free to experiment with most types of herb flowers. If you do not have the luxury of an herb garden or a source, you can substitute 1 cup of chopped herbs of choice for the flowers.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 2 cups basil, oregano, or sage flowers (or any combination)
  • 1/2 cup walnut or sunflower oil
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 green onions, including green parts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Take from http://homecooking.about.com/od/condimentrecipes/r/blsauce6.htm

You can also use the flowers in salads according to our herb book!

 

 

What to do with all those mustard greens (the spicy stuff, like arugula, mizuna, etc.)…

 

Balsamic-Glazed Chickpeas and Mustard Greens

(printer-friendly version)

I’d say this fits into the category of warm dinner salads, but you could serve it as a side dish to up to four people.

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces mustard greens
  • 1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4-6 tablespoons vegetable broth, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon agave nectar or sugar
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Instructions

  1. Remove any large stems from the greens and discard. Tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces.
  2. In a deep pot or wok, sauté the onion in a tablespoon or two of vegetable broth until mostly faded to pink, about 4 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and red pepper and another tablespoon of broth and cook, stirring, for another minute. Add the mustard greens, 2 tablespoons of broth, and cook, stirring, until greens are wilted but still bright green, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in the salt, if using. Remove greens and onions from pan with a slotted spoon and place in a serving dish, leaving any liquid in pan.
  3. Add the balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, and agave or sugar to the liquid in the pan (if there is no liquid, add 2 tablespoons of broth). Add the chickpeas and cook, stirring, over medium heat until the liquid is reduced by about half. Spoon the chickpeas over the greens and drizzle the sauce over all.
  4. Serve warm, with additional balsamic vinegar at the table.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s) | Cooking time: 15 minute(s)

 

Tropical Black Bean and Collard Green Soup

 

One of my favorite ways to cook collard greens—and the best way to get my daughter to eat them—is to simmer them in soup. There’s something magical about adding a huge pile of greens to a pot, an amount so big that the lid can barely be squeezed shut, and then coming back a few minutes later to find that the greens have melted into the soup. It’s a disappearing act that intrigues even my greens-hating daughter, who always wants to be the one to add the greens and impatiently waits until it’s time to remove the cover and reveal the “miracle.” The most miraculous thing about the whole transformation is that she eats more greens because of it. She can’t quite bring herself to “like” them, but she’ll tolerate them if she’s had a hand in their preparation.

I’ve cooked collard green soups with white beans, with black-eyed peas, and with no beans at all, but never with black beans until recently. I wanted to do something a little different than my Stormy Black Bean Soup (still my favorite) and settled on a combination of seasonings based loosely on Jamaican jerk seasoning—allspice, nutmeg, thyme, and pepper—with a little ginger thrown in for fun. What holds it all together, though, is the sweetness and acidity of orange juice, added just at the end of cooking. Try it with fresh-squeezed juice, if you have it.

A word about chili powder: In the U.S., chili powder can have a couple of different meanings. In most grocery stores, the chili powder that you find in the spice aisle is a combination of powdered chilies and other seasonings, including cumin and salt. What I used in this recipe was a pure chili powder—ground chile peppers and nothing else—and if you read a lot of ingredient labels, you may be able to find it marked simply as “chili powder,” but more often to get it you have to buy a specific type, such as Ancho chile powder. (Note: If you buy chili powder in an Indian grocery, it will be hot; I find it hotter than cayenne.) I used Ancho here because it’s mild and delivers a chile flavor without heat (I used a little chipotle for that), but feel free to use whatever chile powder you like, as long as it’s pure; the other spices in American chili powder will change the flavor of the soup.

 

Tropical Black Bean and Collard Green Soup

(printer-friendly version)

Long-cooking or cooking in a pressure cooker often mellows out seasonings, so I add them in two stages, some before the beans are cooked and some after. Be sure to taste your beans to decide if and how much extra seasoning they need.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried black beans (about 2 cups)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons ginger-root, minced
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Ancho chili powder (or other pure, mild chili powder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder or cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup carrots, diced or sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • additional chili powder, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • 12 ounces collard greens, cut into bite-sized pieces (or use the greens of your choice)
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 orange, sliced, for garnish

Instructions

Rinse the beans and pick over them to remove any debris. Cover with water and either allow to soak at least 8 hours or do a quick soak by bringing to a boil for 1 minute and then allowing to soak for an hour. Keep soaking until you are ready to cook, and then drain the soaking liquid.

Heat a large pot or pressure cooker; spray lightly with olive oil if desired. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring, until softened. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute.

Add the drained beans, 7 cups of water (6 if pressure cooking), thyme, chili powders, allspice, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil.

If pressure cooking, lock on the lid and bring to high pressure. Cook at high pressure for 9 minutes. Remove from heat and allow pressure to come down naturally.

If cooking in a regular pot, simmer until beans are very tender, 1-2 hours depending on your beans. If beans seem too dry, add additional water.

Once beans are tender, puree using a hand blender or in batches in a regular blender. Return to pot and add remaining ingredients, except orange juice, and add salt and chili powder to taste. Simmer until carrots and collards are tender. Add orange juice just before serving. Serve garnished with orange slices on top or on the side.

Preparation time: 1 hour(s) | Cooking time: 1 hour(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8

 

Bettny says, “Oregano is an underated herb”…Here’s why

Medicinal Properties of oregano:

Colds, Headaches, Simple gastric intestinal and nervous disorders, add oil to bathwater, ointments, or bathwater

Promotes sleep (sedative)

Externally applied as an antiseptic for swelling, stiff neck, rheumatism, tooth ache

 

Link on how to dry herbs:

http://gardening.about.com/od/vegetablepatch/a/DryingHerbs.htm

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