Those Who Care

If you really care for your friends and family, you will prepare yourself to care for your own needs and have a little extra for those less fortunate.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Are There Any Old-Fashioned Cooks Anymore?

My herb garden did beautifully this year.  I have an abundance of fresh herbs.  My two parsley plants are the size of an old style washtub.  I've used and dried and still have far more than I need.  So, of course, I have offered to share.  As prices for fresh herbs are $1.99 for about an ounce, you would think someone would be interested.  But no!  Everyone just looks at me with either a blank look or a look that asks "What cave did you just crawl out of?"  I've yet to find anyone that uses fresh herbs!  I'm not talking about unusual herbs, just common cooking herbs (I only share medicinal herbs with those who have shown me knowledge).  You know, parsley, chives, dill, oregano, sage.  Really common ones.  Once they understand what I'm talking about I get another common response.  Either "I don't cook like that" or "I just use what comes in a can."  And so I am worried.

Those little cans of herbs are very expensive, the nutrients are long gone because of age and I don't trust the ingredients.  The cheaper herbs may be sweepings for all I know.  I sure hope they aren't but how can I be sure?  With my own homegrown herbs I am sure.  I am also sure of receiving all the precious vitamins and nutrients from a living food.  Even if I dry them, at least I know how the plant was raised and that it is very fresh.

So, if any of you are new to using herbs, here is a great starter recipe.  My husband loves this salad dressing.  Although it takes a little time, it is worth it.  And the time is mostly in allowing the flavors to meld.

Mama's Ranch

Thinly slice 1 clove of garlic and 2Tlb of shallot.  Sprinkle with Redmond Salt and mash with a fork. Allow to stand for about 20 min, occasionally mashing again.  (This allows the salt to cook the shallot and garlic for a less biting flavor.)  Add to 1/4 c buttermilk. (I make my own with dried milk and a half teaspoon of lemon powder or vinegar and let stand 5 min.)  Add dill and parsley to taste. (I use about a tablespoon of dried dill and a tablespoon of dried parsley.  Less in the summer with the fresh herbs, just adjust to your taste.)  Add 1 Tlb of dried onions and a dash of onion powder.  (This is a lot of onion I know but the flavor is just not the same without these different types of onion.  Each adds its own taste.)  Add a bit of fresh or dried lemon peel.  (This lightens the whole dressing but you can do without.  Since I use a lot of lemons for medical reasons, I have a lot of dried lemon zest.)  Let stand awhile for the flavors to meld.  (This is the best point for adjusting to your own taste.)  Place 1c mayonnaise (can use a lite version or homemade) in a bowl.  Add 1/4 sour cream (or yogurt or even just more mayonnaise).  Stir and add the buttermilk and herbs.  Taste and adjust.  This has kept in my fridge for over a month without spoiling and just improved in taste as the flavors mingled.  This is such a basic recipe that any of you could improve it or change it to suit your family while allowing you to be sure of what you are eating.  It also costs a lot less than bottled dressings from the store.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Peach Pie Filling

I took the last of the peaches, a few weeks ago, and canned the most delicious peach pie filling.  Although I've canned apple pie filling before, and learned a few great tricks I'll share sometime, this is the first time for peaches.  The taste was wonderful and we are excited to make a few crunches and pies this winter. 

I found the recipe and directions here: 

I chose to use the almond extract and it really added a new dimension to the overall flavor. 

Here is the results, absolutely fantastic!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Rhubarb Crisp

It has been a little hectic around here lately.  We've had tremendous thunder storms this week.  Sunday's was probably the worst I've ever experienced.  We had spent Saturday harvesting garden herbs and were we ever glad on Sunday as the remaining plants were beat into the ground. I had intended to wait until the next day so the strawberries would be perfect but alas they are no more. I still can't go into the garden as it is too muddy.  We needed to bring the awning in and were drenched, as in just a few seconds, and had to hang our clothes up in the shower to dry! 

In addition, I began teaching early morning Seminary (a religion class for high school age) this week and have been busy preparing for that new adventure.  So the blog has been a little neglected but today I want to post the best ever (in my opinion) and easiest Rhubarb Crisp recipe.  I made it just a couple of week ago as our rhubarb was finally ready.  We have enough growing for one more this year.

Rhubarb Crisp

1c flour
3/4 c oats
1c brown sugar ( I use white sugar and add 1Tlb of molasses)
1/2 c melted butter
1tea cinnamon

4c diced rhubarb
1c sugar
2Tlb cornstarch
1c water
1tea vanilla

Mix together the topping ingredients until crumbly.  Press half of the crumbs into a greased 9" baking pan.  Cover with diced rhubarb.  In a small saucepan combine sugar, cornstarch, water and vanilla.  Cook, stirring until thickened and clear.  Pour over the rhubarb and top with remaining crumb topping.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 50-60 min. 
Yield: 8 servings

I like this recipe because there is no need to cook the rhubarb first.  That always seems to make such a mess.  I baked it in the Sun Oven with great results. 
Notice the upside down bottle of molasses.  That was the end of that bottle!

All done!