Archive for June, 2015

A Tale of Four Fruits

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

The squirrels got every single one of our peaches. They seemed to know which day we would be harvesting and staged their own harvest the night before. Somebody leaked the information to them and we’re not amused!

The blackberry crop was a good one and blackberries made their way into almost every breakfast we served for about 3 weeks. Now, we’re blackberried out.

The birds, especially the dreaded mockingbirds, are steadily harvesting the blueberries now. After last year’s debacle, we placed a net over our 4 blueberry plants this spring in hopes of splitting the berries 50-50 with our winged friends. I don’t know why someone came up with the term “birdbrain” as an insult because these birds are certainly outsmarting us–lifting up the net at the ground and waltzing into blueberry nirvana. Oh well.

Next up–the figs. Looks like a bumper crop and we are salivating in anticipation. The squirrels probably are, too. We plan to move the net over the blueberries to the fig tree but maybe we are kidding ourselves. Anyway, here’s a fun fig recipe, as served at the Camellia Cottage B&B, to tide you over until they are ready to pick.

Figgy Rum Ice Cream
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream
2 cups pureed fresh figs
(Approx. 2 dozen large figs or 4 dozen small figs, stems removed)
1/4 cup dark rum

Mix together. Freeze. Serve.

Herb Blog

Monday, June 8th, 2015

Our front yard here at Camellia Cottage Bed and Breakfast is loaded with all kinds of herbs this time of year.  This summer we have rosemary, lavender, Italian basil, Thai basil (very anise-y), peppermint, apple mint, chocolate mint (think Peppermint Patties) and oregano.  They are flourishing and lush.  When you brush by them on your way to the front door, the fragrance in the air is a riot for your senses.

They all make their way into our dining room, whether it is basil and oregano in an Italian Vegetable Frittata, chocolate mint steeped in the cream before it is made into fresh ice cream or anything strewn  (artfully placed) on the plate as garnish or tucked into the floral arrangement on the table.  I tend to use them fresh, as opposed to drying them.  The basil gets pureed into a pesto with grated lemon zest , olives and enough olive oil to find your favorite consistency.  No nuts, no cheese, so hardly anyone is allergic to it, and, if so, well more for me.  This is great on pasta, risotto, pizza, but I really love a heaping tablespoonful in a Hollandaise sauce.

This year I am going to try drying some of the lavender and grinding it with a very coarse sugar.  This is great sprinkled on grapefruit before broiling or topping your cobbler before baking.  All of the sweet herbs are fabulous as syrups.  To make a simple syrup, boil equal parts sugar and water.  After the sugar dissolves, the mixture will thicken to, you know, syrup consistency.  Chop some of your mints and add to the liquid, then store in the fridge.  Use in iced tea, fruit salads or soak chunks of pound cake to make a trifle or ice cream sundae.

Beautiful to look at, fragrant to smell and tasty to eat, as my mother-in-law would say, “What could be bad?”