Archive for September, 2011

Herbs for Everyone!

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

We humans have been using herbs to flavor our foods for over 100,000 years.  And this was even  before food processors! The days of fresh basil, oregano and sage here may be numbered till next year, but here are some simple ways to preserve the flavors of summer.

Traditional Pesto

2 cups fresh basil leaves

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 cups slightly roasted pine nuts

¼ cup grated Romano or Parmigiano cheese

1 cup good quality olive oil

Throw basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts and cheese in bowl of food processor.  Pulse till mixed.  Slowly add olive oil, till creamy.  Store in fridge or freezer.

 Lemon Pistachio Pesto (my current favorite)

 2 cups fresh basil leaves

Peeled zest of 2 lemons (no pith, please)

½ cup mixed olives

1/8 cup pistachios

1 cup good quality olive oil

Throw basil leaves, lemon zest, olives and pistachios in bowl of food processor.  Pulse till mixed.  Slowly add olive oil till creamy.  Store in fridge or freezer.

You can freeze your pesto in a jar or in ice cube trays.  Use in soups, vinaigrettes, pasta sauces or in scrambled eggs. 

Make a simple syrup to store in your fridge for ice tea or sorbets by boiling 1 part water to 2 parts sugar for 5 minutes.  For the last few minutes, throw in sprigs of mint, lemon balm, or other herbs you fancy.  When cool, remove herbs and store. 

Toss any of your mints, flavored or not, into a fresh fruit salad.


Loving the Dark

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Hurricane Irene stole the power on our block in historic downtown Wilmington for 38 hours. You rarely appreciate something as much as you should until it disappears for a while. 38 hours without electricity at the Camellia Cottage Bed and Breakfast meant:
 Opening the refrigerator door as little as possible
 Not opening the garage door to get to the car
 Washing and drying laundry the old fashioned way
 Candlelight breakfast for our guests
 Digging out the fans to replace the central air conditioning, only to realize that plugging them in was futile.
 Wishing we had a smart phone so we could get to our email and online reservation system
 Handing guests flashlights along with the keys to their room at check-in.

Now here are the upsides to 38 hours without electricity:
 Neighbors sharing their small generator to run our refrigerator
 Friends inviting us to dinner
 Fun-loving and adventurous guests who may have had a better time without electricity than they would have had with it
 Caring innkeepers who didn’t lose power trying to help those of us who did