By Lisa Shaub
The following is posted with permission from "D.I.Y. Herb Oils - Thrifty and Tasty"
Check out more at www.lslivewell.com
A FEW DROPS OF FLAVOUR
Herbs in summer are delightful. They smell great, they look cool and they can help your body to function better. I have been making my own herbal oils for years. These taste way better than the store bought versions and take your food up a notch. With a tiny bit of effort, you too can create a nice collection of herbal oils. I have outlined some super quick techniques for those of us that need fast flavour for their busy lives. I have also included a recipe that takes a bit longer, but is well worth the effort. These herbal oils are great in a salad, on an avocado, or in a stir-fry.
FAST HERBAL OIL #1
Wash and chop 1 cup fresh herbs, place in the blender with 1 cup good quality oil (see note below). Blend on high until mixed. If you have company and want to be fancy, pour through a tea strainer to get rid of miscellaneous bits. Serve immediately. Works well for delicate herbs such as basil, lemon verbena, fennel and tarragon.
FAST HERBAL OIL#2
Heat 1 cup good quality oil ( see note below) on low heat. Add 1 cup dry or fresh herbs, chopped fine. Cook on low heat for 20 minutes. Pour into a glass container. Keeps on shelf for 1 month. Works well for stronger herbs like garlic, chilli, oregano, thyme, and rosemary.
1/2 c good quality oil (see note below)
1 cup of unwashed fresh herb
Chop up herbs into small pieces. Put into a mortar and pestle and grind. If you don’t have that, place the herbs in a ziplock and pound with a hammer covered by a dishcloth. The goal is to pulverize the herb so the oils will be released. Put herbs into a non metal bowl. Pour oil over. Place in the sun for 24 hours. Once done, pour the oil through a sieve to separate the herbs. Keep in a glass container in the fridge. Lasts a year in the fridge.
On flavour– Depending on the type of herb that you are using you should use different oils. For strong herbs such as garlic, chilli, rosemary or oregano, olive oil works well. For a milder herb, or those that are delicate, try using a more neutral tasting herb, such as safflower or almond oil. This works well for basil, tarragon, mint, and fennel.
On washing- It is important not to wash your herbs as adding water them tends to introduce micro-organisms and can spoil your oil. If you must wash your herbs, shake them out after, pat with a towel and spread them out to dry before commencing the processing. You can also use dried herbs for this procedure.
You are off to a good start. Future tasty salads will thank you.
I want to see what you came up with! If you have some nice pics of your oil, please send an instagram snap to #lslivewell.
By Lisa Shaub
The following is reposted with permission from "Join a C.S.A. - Eat Like a Champion"
Check out more at www.lslivewell.com
SO YOU WANT TO SAVE MONEY?
Many people tell me that it is challenging to afford organic produce. Organic produce is expensive and sometimes a bit sad after a five day trip from California. I have found a great solution for my family to bring affordable, organic produce into our lives. If want to eat healthy food and save money at the same time, the answer is simple, join a local C.S.A..
Community Supported Agriculture( C.S.A.) means paying to join a community that purchases part of a local farm’s harvest. It can cost around $30-50 per week depending on your share size. I joined the C.S.A. at the Sixth Street Community Center on East 6th Street about five years ago. The experience for me has been affordable, sustainable, delicious, and community satisfying.
ABUNDANCE IS DIVINE
Even though we are a family of three, with one very picky eleven year old, I always get a full veggie share with a fruit share. I just can’t resist!!! This is a massive amount of food, but I just don’t care. Everything is so yummy, smells so good, and I love opening my fridge and seeing it bursting at the seams with delicious, organic food.
Every week I create a marathon in my house to completely use the whole week’s C.S.A. In the time that I have been participating in the CSA, I have come up with some strategies that I wanted to share about how to use up the whole thing. It can be daunting, but rest assured that this road leads towards more energy for you and your family, and your little steps to helping our planet. Even though some of you may not belong to a C.S.A. or maybe don’t want to, below are some tips on helping you to preserve your food. I hope they help you and give you some yummy options on the winter nights when tomatoes are no longer in season.
PLAN FOR THE FUTURE
Herb Rendition- We can count on one or two fresh herbs and big bunches of chilli peppers most weeks. Instead of racking my mind for recipes to use them I immediately dry or freeze them. Chillies and bunches of herbs can be posted on a bulletin board until they are dried, then stored in ziplocks. Fresh herbs may be blended with walnuts, garlic and olive oil and frozen into ice cubes. If you feel like it later dried herbs can be rendered into olive oil or vinegar.
Dehydrate it- If you have a dehydrator, you can dry fruit, radish, beet slices, or zucchini. Season with herbs and you have yummy low calorie snack. If you lack a food dehydrator, just roast them the oven on a cookie sheet on a low temperature with a little olive oil and seasoning. Store in glass containers. Way better than store bought veggie chips.
Juice it- Any left over greens can be juiced. If you don’t feel like drinking it, you can dehydrate and make your own green powder for smoothies.
Pickle it- I keep an ongoing jar of pickles, kimchee and saurkraut. As you use it add more. Throw in your extra cucumbers, radish, carrots and cabbage. I always taste to re-adjust the seasoning. The liquid keeps forever and has loads of probiotics.
Dry it- Anything with seeds can and should be dried and saved. In ten years it might be hard to get organic seeds, Everyone should have their own seed library. Just put miscellaneous things with seeds- beans, peas, chilies, etc, on a plate and let them dry in the air. Label, date, and keep in the freezer.
Make Sauces- Tomato, hot pepper, green chili… the list goes on.
Share it- Kindness is a virtue, keep it cultivated. If you know you are not going to eat everything, or there are things that you don’t love, put together a bag for someone else. Give to a friend or drop it off at a food pantry. Someone will definitely enjoy it.
IF YOU LOVE FRESH TOMATOES, JOIN MY CLUB
So, think about it. If you want to eat organic, there may be a C.S.A. in your neighbourhood that you can join and have some yummy produce starting tomorrow. For more info about what to expect from a C.S.A. and where to find one close to you, visit Local Harvest. If you do choose to jump in, get ready to eat like a champion.
By Laura Dobbins and Anna Curran
We’re full on into cucumber season, so Anna and I have been making use of the varieties that we’ve been getting in the CSA. Then we just had some more wonderful radishes too, so Anna pickled the dickens out of them--check out the gorgeous picture. (She also made some more of her mung bean radish green dish that was in the last blog we submitted--those radish greens don’t go to waste in our kitchen!)
You’ll see recipes below with pictures of what we’ve made for:
Simple Cucumber Shepherd’s Salad
1 large cucumber, peeled
1 large fuzzy-skinned tonga melon cucumber (the delicious thing in our CSA 7/18/17 but doesn’t look like tonga melons on the internet), peeled
Fresh basil, small handful
Fresh mint, small handful
Fresh parsley, small handful
2 tablespoons olive oil (approx.)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (approx.)
Cut cucumber and tonga melon in half, remove the seeds, then cut each half in half. You end up with seedless cores--they are quartered, and then slice these so you have perfect ¼ inch to ½ inch chunks. Put them in a large bowl. Chop your herbs--basil, mint, parsley. Add to the bowl, and add sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste (probably around ½ to 1 teaspoon). Add olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Toss all the ingredients so they are well mixed. Refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours so the flavors have time to come out before serving.
Pineapple Cucumber Gazpacho
Loosely based off this recipe: http://memeinge.com/blog/pineapple-cucumber-gazpacho/
4 cups chopped pineapple 1 pineapple
6 cups English cucumber 1.5-2 cucumbers, unpeeled
1 1/2 cups 100% pineapple juice
4 TBSP minced jalapeno 1 jalapeno
4 TBSP chopped green onion 2 green onions
1/2 cup cilantro
1/4 tsp sea salt
Raw macadamia nuts
Add the pineapple and cucumber to a blender or food processor. Blend for 30 seconds.
Add remaining ingredients. Taste and add additional pineapple juice, cilantro, and/or salt if desired. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to combine. Chop the macadamia nuts and sprinkle on top. Drizzle olive oil on top. Serve cold, and enjoy!
Tomato Cucumber Salad with Mint
I loosely followed the recipe below from AllRecipes: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/86808/tomato-cucumber-salad-with-mint/print/?recipeType=Recipe&servings=6&isMetric=false
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 large cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch slices
3 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2/3 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Spicy Quick Pickled Radishes
Loosely adapted from https://cookieandkate.com/2014/spicy-quick-pickled-radishes/
1 bunch radishes
¾ cup white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
¾ cup water
3 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (this yields very spicy pickles, so use ½ teaspoon for medium spicy pickles or none at all)
½ teaspoon whole mustard seeds (optional)
Anna added in: garlic cloves, black peppercorns, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, fresh dill
To prepare the radishes: Slice off the tops and bottoms of the radishes, then use a sharp chef’s knife or mandoline to slice the radishes into very thin rounds. Pack the rounds into a pint-sized canning jar. Top the rounds with red pepper flakes and mustard seeds.
To prepare the brine: In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, honey or maple syrup and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally, then pour the mixture over the radishes.
Let the mixture cool to room temperature. You can serve the pickles immediately or cover and refrigerate for later consumption. The pickles will keep well in the refrigerator for several weeks, although they are in their most fresh and crisp state for about 5 days after pickling.
by Amanda Anderson
Here are a few of my pointers on how to make your herb arrangements last:
Martha Stewart has been praising herb bouquets for years, and I find that they make great displays for dinner parties and day to day beautification. Also, if mine are displayed attractively on the kitchen counter, I’m more apt to use them here and there as opposed to when I throw them in a bag in the corner of the fridge.
No need to limit yourselves to herbs, either; I find some of the lettuce and swiss chard from the CSA so beautiful that I can’t help but mixing them with flowers and herbs for summertime arrangements, too!
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