Tag Archives: cukes

Leading by a nose…..

Herbal Inspirations.

This is the time of year that the garden is just bursting….

and it’s cool enough to want to eat it all!

cuke3

cool as a cucumber – they don’t even realize that their days are numbered

 

Thyme, ready to hang up and dry

Thyme, ready to hang up and dry

oregano

oregano

Basil

Basil

This time of year just plain smells good!

Herbs in the Kitchen was one of the earliest herbal reference book I bought.Herbs in the Kitchen I’m pretty sure I got it from the Paperback Booksmith in Hanover Mall, in either ‘75 or ‘76. It was one of the standards.  I still love it, and get inspired every time I read it.

My modern herbal library- not to be confused with my early modern herbal library – has grown since then.

Helen Morganthau Fox, gardening with herbsMrs Grieve, modern herbal

Eleanour Sinclair Rohde  ESR a garden of herbs I’ve read them and studied and collected all.

AGSAdelma Grenier Simmons inspired trips to Caprilands in Connetitcuct and I was able to attend several of her lectures and workshops, as well as collect her books;

Jeanne Rose’s Herbs and Things, herbsthingsnew_smallwhich nicely bridges the centuries of herbal lore;

Susan Wittag Albert and the China Bayles series. China Bayles even has her own book of herbal days, China Bayles Book of Days. China Bayles Book of DaysYes, a fictional herb guru has her own book!

Carolyn Dille and Susan Belsinger have written together and separately….

This is a together one

This is a together one

But it’s only recently that herbs and other things you eat that come from the garden can be equal (ish) partners between the covers.

Vegetable Literacy Deborah Madison has her chapters based on plant families…..it’s very different kind of organizing and makes a whole lot of sense. This is from her blog

‘Vegetable Literacy’ is centered on 12 plant families and how they meet in the kitchen. It’s also a cookbook (some 300 recipe). Mostly it’s about connecting the dots between botany and the garden and the cook. People ask me what inspired this exploration and I have to say that I don’t recall a single moment in which that intention suddenly leaped to the fore. It was more like the idea of botanical families and the relationship between them and the kitchen had been there for a long time. Maybe it’s in my genes—my father was a botanist and gardener and farmer among other things. And even though it didn’t occur to me plant anything until I was in my mid-thirties, something must have rubbed off.  And it rubbed off from my botanist brother, Michael, my many farmer friends and the gardeners I have known. Most of all, though, it was starting to garden that made plants and their families come into view with increasing clarity. Once I started to grow vegetables, I saw them in different ways: how much space they need, how large and many their leaves, how similar the blossoms within a family, the possibilities of eating more of them then what we see in the store or even the farmers market—hence the many little pointers about eating the whole plant—and more. The garden reveals the big and sometimes gnarly world that lies behind the pretty vegetable.’

Deborah Madison with allium

Deborah Madison with allium

So, stop and smell the mint,mint close upand the fennel

fennel flowering

fennel flowering

and the borage….

borage

borage

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Filed under Books, Influencers, Summer

Salad Noodles

The salad days of summer continue……
Some people have signature dishes, something that they always bring, that they always serve.
I am not one of those people.
In part because, I have a very, very low threshold for boredom.
In part because there is very little I don’t truly believe that I could do better next time – and that means  little changes, and those little changes add up over time.
In part, because once I ‘file’ a recipe – out of sight, out of mind.
Going through my books and folders for this blog has been a real trip down memory lane.
In the ‘why did I stop making that’ category:

RAINBOW PEANUT NOODLES

It’s tasty, it’s easy, it travels well…..but once I put my copy of  the cookbook Asian Noodles  away…….when I picked it up, it fell open to the peanut dressing recipe.

Rainbow Peanut Noodles

 

Chinese Peanut Dressing

One 1/3 inch thick slice fresh ginger, peeled and cut in half

8 cloves garlic, peeled

1 teaspoon hot chile paste (or more…)

½ cup smooth peanut butter (or more…)

¼ cup soy sauce

3 ½ tablespoons sugar

3 1.2 tablespoons Chines black vinegar or Worcestershire sauce

3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons chicken broth or water (or more)

  1. In a blender or a food processor fitted with a metal blade, finely chop the ginger and the garlic.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients in the order listed. The dressing should be the consistency of thick cream. If it’s too thick, add more liquid; if it’s too think add more peanut butter.
  3. Refrigerate in a cover container (this is a good time to use a Mason jar). The dressing will keep for 2 to 3 weeks, she says – mine has never lasted past the 10 day mark.

Page 122.

Rainbow Noodle Salad

1 # thin noodles, cooked until just tender, rinsed under cold water, drained and tossed with 2 teas toasted sesame oil

8-10 carrots (2#) peeled and grated

4 good sized cukes, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, shredded and squeezed dry

4 cups bean sprouts, rinsed and drained

2 ripe bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut into thin strings (about 2 cups)

4 cups sliced cooked chicken, cut into thin strips (or the meat from a Friday night special supermarket  rotisserie chicken. Save the bones for broth)

2-3 tablespoons minced scallion greens (or garlic scapes)

  1. Arrange noodles in a large serving bowl or platter.
  2. Arrange vegetables in concentric circles over the noodles and pile the chicken in the center – or if there are vegetarians or food allergy issues, arrange the meat and veggies in smaller bowls/plates around the noodle bowl.
  3. Sprinkle the scallions or scapes all around on top.
  4. Serve at room temperature or chilled with the Chinese Peanut Sauce.

12 servings, depending on your crowd and what else is on the table.

Nina Simonds. Asian Noodles. Hearst Books. 1997. p.82.

Nina Simonds

Nina Simonds

Nina Simonds has a blog that has a tahini version of this sauce at ninasimonds.

Asian Noodles Nina SimmondsThe leftovers, should there be any, are great with eggs as a fritatta , just  leave off any cheese.

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