We’ve recently discovered herb salts as savory, mouth-watering additions to recipes, and also as an ingenious way to prolong the life of fresh herbs. Salt preserves the herbs, and the herbs infuse the salts, making a flavor combo you can’t resist. Try herb salts on meats, roasted vegetables, popcorn, garlic bread, and even in your cocktails! With the holidays around the corner, you’ll want this new ingredient in your culinary arsenal.
3 cups loosely packed, fresh herbs
½ cup coarse salt
1. Wash and dry herbs thoroughly.
2. Either pulse herbs and salt in a food processor (careful not to create a paste), or finely chop herbs and salt together with a knife.
Store your herb salt in a glass jar in the fridge. Shake periodically over 7 to 10 days while flavors blend. Herb salts will last about 6 months or longer in the refrigerator.
Italian blend: Basil, oregano, parsley, and salt
Summer blend: Dill, parsley, and salt
Thanksgiving blend: Sage, thyme, parsley, and salt
Salsa blend: Cilantro and salt
Bloody Mary blend: Celery leaves and salt
As you can see, the possibilities are endless!
When your garden tomatoes get into high gear and start producing, start saucing! We used heirloom tomatoes in this recipe, creating more color and flavor diversity. We enjoy Black Krim, Brandywine, Aunt Ruby’s German Green, Pineapple, and Oxheart, but any tomato will make delicious sauce.
5 lbs. fresh heirloom tomatoes
2 medium cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/3 cup sweet peppers, finely chopped (like Italian Marconi)
1/8 cup mild to medium hot peppers, finely chopped (like Hungarian Wax – optional)
2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. dried oregano leaf
1 1/2 tbs. honey, agave, or sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice or red wine vinegar
black pepper to taste
1.Using a paring knife, gently cut out the top of your tomatoes, where the stem was connected to the fruit.
2. Slit an “X” into the bottom of each tomato, and drop them into boiling water in batches. In about 60 to 90 seconds (larger tomatoes may take a bit longer), the skins will begin to wrinkle and split. Remove tomatoes and plunge into ice water, allowing them to soak for another 60 to 90 seconds. Remove from ice water and gently peel skins away from the tomato.
3. Using a blender or food processor, pulse the skinned tomatoes to the consistency that you prefer (chunky or smooth).
4. Pour the tomato sauce and the garlic and peppers in a saucepan. Bring to a low boil, adding remaining ingredients as it heats.
5. Reduce the sauce to almost half, stirring occasionally for about 45 minutes.
6. Allow your sauce to cool, and continue to thicken before using or freezing. Tomato sauce can stay fresh up to a week in the refrigerator or up to several months if frozen.
One of the best vegetables fresh from the garden is green beans. They are also surprisingly versatile in the kitchen. This recipe delivers on crunch and keeps the beans crisp, too!
1/2 pounds fresh green beans
1–2 cups seasoned breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup canola or olive oil (may use more depending on number of batches)
- Pour flour into a plate, 2 eggs in another plate or bowl (lightly scramble), and breadcrumbs in another plate or bowl.
- Toss beans in flour, shake off excess.
- Dip into egg mixture to fully coat beans.
- Toss beans into breadcrumbs, completely covering.
- Over medium heat, cover bottom of frying pan with oil.
- Add breaded green beans and fry until lightly browned. Turn over after 1 to 2 minutes. Remove to a paper towel to drain. Salt to taste.
- Repeat step 6, wiping pan and using new oil for every batch.
Serve with our garlic aioli!
Candied flowers are delicious, and can last for several months. Use them as edible decorations on desserts, or even savory dishes like quiche.
What you’ll need*:
1 egg white, slightly beaten until just frothy.
1 small paint brush
¼ cup super fine sugar
freshly picked, edible flowers
Using the paint brush, brush egg whites onto flower petals front and back. Sprinkle sugar over all painted parts of the flower. Let dry on wax paper for 12 to 24 hours. Flowers should be hard and brittle to the touch. Store them in an airtight container until ready to use.
* Amounts depend on how many flowers you wish to candy. This is based on making only a few.
Try something new on the grill this weekend! Everyone enjoys the smoky sweetness of grilled peppers, onions, and tomatoes. But if you want to try a new side dish and wow your guests and family, grill cauliflower, carrots, and green beans!
Grilled Cauliflower “Steaks”
Whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning, and 1 teaspoon sugar. Set aside. Remove leaves from the cauliflower head and cut the cauliflower into thick slices. Brush marinade mixture over cauliflower “steaks” and marinate for 10 to 15 minutes. Place on grill over high heat for five minutes on each side. Enjoy their tangy, sweet flavor with a hint of spice as a vegetarian entrée or side dish.
Grilled Italian Carrots
Peel 5 or 6 whole carrots. Whisk 1/4 cup each olive oil and balsamic vinegar together. Stir in 1 or 2 teaspoons of granulated garlic and dried rosemary. Brush mixture over carrots. Grill carrots on high heat 15 min, and then turn off flame and leave in grill, covered, for another 5 to 10 minutes to make sure they are tender. The sweet char created on the carrots makes a flavor reminiscent of sweet potatoes.
Grilled Lemon Pepper Green Beans
Whisk 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 teaspoons lemon pepper seasoning (lemon juice and crushed black pepper), and 1 teaspoon granulated garlic. Toss with trimmed green beans in large bowl. Pour the coated beans into a grill pan (or use aluminum foil with holes poked in the bottom) on the grill on high heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. The slight tartness perfectly complements the rich smokiness from the grill marks.
Cucumber plants can be prolific. So when we’re done putting cucumbers in salads, sandwiches, and vegetables trays, try this quick, refrigerator pickle recipe. They’re ready to eat in less than 24 hours, so make them ahead of your next barbeque or gift them to dad this Father’s Day.
2 large cucumbers
8 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 ½ cups white vinegar
1 ½ cups sugar
½ teaspoon mustard seed
½ teaspoon celery salt
½ teaspoon turmeric
1. Thinly slice cucumbers and onion. Tightly pack pint mason jars with cucumber slices, onions, and two garlic gloves in each jar.
2. In a pot over high heat, bring vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, celery salt, and turmeric to a boil. Allow the liquid to cool.
3. Fill jars with liquid. Seal with lids and refrigerate for at least 12 hours. Will last up to two months in the refrigerator.
This recipe will fill 4 pint mason jars, depending on how tightly you pack the jars.
With spring here and summer just around the corner, we’re getting ready for outdoor brunches and barbeques. Dill can be whipped into a dressing for chicken salad served in croissants or pitas, or poured over fork-tender, boiled potatoes for a side dish at your next summer event. It’s (just about) the same recipe, too!
INGREDIENTS for chicken salad:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh dill, finely chopped
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup shredded chicken
INGREDIENTS for potato salad:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh dill, finely chopped
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound fork-tender boiled fingerling potatoes
Whisk all the dressing ingredients until well blended. Stir in chicken or potatoes. Chill for about an hour to let flavors blend.
Bright green and full of garlic, traditional pesto is as versatile as it is delicious. Basil doesn’t have to be the only star of pesto. Try adding nasturtium leaves from your flower garden! Nasturtium adds a fresh, peppery kick to your pasta, pizza, or even eggs!
1 c. packed nasturtium leaves and stems, washed and dried
15–20 basil leaves
4 garlic cloves
½ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
½ cup or more of extra virgin olive oil
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
½ teaspoon salt
½ tablespoon lemon juice
Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth, scraping the sides periodically to fully incorporate ingredients. Add more olive oil for desired consistency.
The weather is finally warming in Colorado, and our seedlings are emerging. We’re dreaming about lazy summer Sunday afternoons outside, listening to bees buzz and watching our flowers grow. We may as well enjoy a refreshing beverage to get us ready for summer fun! Melon is an especially fresh-tasting ingredient to add to cocktails (or non-alcoholic “mocktails”). Try our recipes below and feel like it’s summer already.
Make cilantro simple syrup by bringing to a boil, ½ c. water, ½ c. sugar, and 3 or 4 cilantro sprigs; let simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Strain and cool. Purée 1 cup of cut melon in a blender. Strain and pour into a short glass. Add 1 oz. of vodka and 2 tbsp. of the cilantro simple syrup. Stir gently. Top with club soda and a sprig of cilantro.
For a mocktail: Replace vodka with club soda or lime seltzer water.
Salt the rim of a pint glass (tip: use lemon juice instead of water; the salt will stick better to the juice). Purée 1 cup of cut melon in a blender. Strain and pour into the salted glass. Add one bottle of ale. Sprinkle with cayenne for a kick.
For a mocktail: Replace beer with ginger ale.
In our neck of the woods, we’re sowing peas right around St. Patrick’s Day. But we can’t wait for our peas! So we’re growing Peas for Shoots Microgreens. Pea shoots taste like sweet, spring garden peas, but are lighter and more floral. Start some this week and make these recipes in as little a two weeks. Easy peas-y!
Pea Shoots and Garlic
1–2 cups of pea shoots
1 teaspoon olive oil
2–5 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
Rinse pea shoots and pat dry. In a wok or skillet, heat olive oil. Add garlic and pea shoots. Cook for about 20 to 30 seconds and add 1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar. Steam, covered, until shoots are wilted, usually about 30 to 60 seconds. Remove shoots from the pan and serve.
Pea Shoot Pesto
1/2 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled
¼ cup lightly toasted pine nuts (can also substitute walnuts)
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
4 green onions, diced
3 cups pea shoots
In a blender or food processor, mix olive oil, garlic, pine nuts, green onions, and pea shoots. Blend until smooth. Fold in Parmesan cheese, and add salt if desired. Serve with pasta, on pizza, with toasted bread or crackers, or as a dip. Variation: Add some mint leaves or a dash of lemon juice when blending the pesto.