"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant."
Robert Louis Stevenson

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thank you Lemon Verbena Lady!

A big Thank You to Lemon Verbena Lady for sending me the booklet on Herbs.  What a thoughtful and kind person she is.

Have a wonderful day in your herb garden,
Many Thanks,

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Handmade Lemon Parsley Pasta Tiles with Fresh Roasted Tomato Sauce, Pasta Recipe

Our weather has finally turned hot; which means I need to use up some of the parsley I have growing before the seed heads shoot up.  Yesterday I decided to make pasta using the fresh leaves.  The results were delicious and oh so impressive!
You really need a pasta machine to make this. I used an Atlas hand crank pasta machine.  If you have strong arms and lots of time you can do this with a rolling pin like the Italian Grandmothers no doubt did for years, and years.

Handmade Lemon Parsley Pasta Tiles

1 Tablespoon lemon zest (packed from about 3 lemons)
2 to 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
14 ounces  (3 1/3 cups) all-purpose flour
7 ounces (1 1/4 cups) semolina
1/4 cup fresh parsley, leaves only all stems removed (if leaves are large, tear into smaller leaves.
5 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons olive oil

Have all ingredients measured and ready to go.  Combine flour and semolina on a large cutting board.  Form a well in the center of the flours and add the eggs, salt, oil and lemon zest and juice. 

1. Begin mixing with a fork using your other hand to support the outer edge of the flour.  Combine until you can no longer use the fork; continue mixing with both hands until all the flour is combined and you have a firm paste.
2. Roll the dough into a ball and knead with the heel of your hand for 5 to 10 minutes or until dough is smooth.  It will be very firm.
3. Place the dough in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
4. Place 2 three foot lengths of wax paper on your counter.  You will use these later.
5. Remove your dough from the refrigerator and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes.  Cut the dough into 4 sections.  Keep the other sections covered with the plastic wrap to avoid drying out. 

Beginning with one section of dough, flatten out and begin running through the pasta machine.  You will start with the #1 setting and work up to the #3 setting.  Don't be discouraged if your pasta falls apart on #1,  just fold it and run through again.  You may need to do this 3 or 4 times before it comes out smooth.  Then advance to the next setting. 

"Don't be concerned if your pasta looks like this the first time it goes through the machine, just fold it and run it through again.  I think this section of my dough was still too cold."

6. At setting #3 you will need to cut your sheet in half and work with one at a time. Place the other sheet on the wax paper, cover with a damp towel to keep from drying out.  Continue, running the pasta through the machine one time for each setting working up to the #5 setting.  Now lay your pasta on the wax paper and continue with the other sheet as with the first, working up to the #5 setting.  Lay this sheet along side of your other sheet. 

7. Place the parsley leaves on one of the pasta sheets, trying to keep them separate from each other as best you can.  If the leaves are large, tear them apart to make smaller leaves. 

Now lay the second sheet of pasta on top of the parsley sheet.  Press gently to remove any air.  If the sheets are long, cut in half again so it will be easier to handle.

8. Now run this sheet through the pasta machine again at the#3 setting, #4 setting, then on to the #5 setting. 

Lay this sheet back on the wax paper and continue with your second sheet in the same way.  Your pasta is now ready to cut into squares and cook.

The parsley leaves will break apart when rolled through the machine. Now you are ready to cut your pasta into squares.
At this stage you can place your pasta squares in zip lock bags and freeze for later use. I put wax paper between each row of squares to keep them from sticking together and this also makes it easier to remove a single serving if you are cooking for one or two.

9. In a stock pot bring a large amount of water to a full boil.  Add the pasta squares and cook for 1 minute; because this is fresh pasta it will not take any longer than that.  Drain, serve with a fresh roasted ring a tomato sauce and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

This day I also made "Pasta Tiles" with fresh Sage leaves and served it with Sage Browned Butter.  No cheese required!

Purple Variegated Sage leaves
My husband loved these.  The slight lemon taste was perfect with the sage and the butter.

To make the Sage in Brown Butter:  Cook your pasta in boiling water, drain.  Place a few tablespoons of butter in a skillet, heat until milk solids begin to turn brown.  Watch closely as you do not want this to burn.  When browned to your liking, add a tablespoon of fresh minced sage, then add the sage pasta.  Cook one minute basting with the browned butter.  Serve immediately.

Alternate Method for Pasta Making:
If you do not own a pasta machine or maybe you don't have the time to make your own pasta, you can use Won Ton Wrappers or Spring Roll Wrappers from the supermarket.  Just place your herb leaves on one won ton wrapper, cover with another then roll with a rolling pin to secure and cook in the same manner as fresh pasta above.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

What are the chances......

look closely for the clue...

Of finding...

this small clay pot...

 when falling...

from high in a tree.....

landing right inside.....

and sprouting.....a new life

I am a Pine Tree, no more than one inch high! 

And this...
Is my Mother!!!

I think that I shall never see

A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest

Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day

And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear

A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;

Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,

But only God can make a tree.

~Joyce Kilmer, "Trees," 1914

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Well Organized Pantry and Appaloosa Beans

My kitchen cabinets are 1970's wood, very small with limited storage.  I do however have this one nice large pantry which holds all of our food products, storage bowls, glass mixing bowls and bakeware. 

I spent yesterday adding more jars of beans.  Earlier last week I ordered some from Purcell Mountain Farms and they arrived yesterday. 

I am cooking some of their Appaloosa Beans now with some chicken sausages from Trader Joe's.  I think that will be a yummy dinner for tonight with some cornbread.  I also purchased Anasazi, Pinto, Cannellini, Cranberry, Black Turtle, Red Chief Lentils and Split Green Peas. 

I love that so many of these beans are named after horse breeds.  Maybe we should dress for dinner, cowboy hats and boots?

I thought I would share my small, but I think, well organized pantry with you.  I am attempting to eliminate most, if not all of the plastic containers I use for storing.  I have a large amount of canning jars and I also save nice jars from foods I buy.  The Ball Wide Mouth  jars work out well for the beans and all sorts of dry goods.  You can find these jars at thrift stores also. 

"To invite a person into your house is to take charge of his happiness for as long as he is under your roof."

_Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Sunday, August 1, 2010


"To have nothing but Sweet Herbs, and those only choice ones too, and every kind its bed by itself." 
-Desiderius Erasmus
Basil in early June 2010

I planted so much basil this year and I am being rewarded with plenty to make my own pesto.  I store this in small jars that I have recycled.  You can freeze it at this point, but be sure to use freezer safe glass or plastic containers.  You can purchase freezer safe  jars at many supermarkets.

Here is the recipe I have used for many years.  Not sure where I found it, but it is perfect every time.  I added the addition of Lemon zest because I like the flavor and also this will keep your basil green.

Basil Pesto Sauce

4 cups tightly packed fresh Basil  leaves (all stems removed)
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon fresh Lemon Zest
6 sprigs fresh Parsley, (leaves only stems removed)
Sea Salt and ground Pepper to taste
1/4 cup Pine Nuts, Walnuts, or Almonds
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Romano Cheese

Wash the Parsley and Basil leaves in cool water, spin until very dry in a salad spinner or use paper towels.  Place leaves in a food processor.  Add Oil, Garlic, Lemon Zest, Sea Salt, Pepper, and Nuts.  Pulse blend until all is chopped, stopping to scrape down sides.  Add the grated Parmesan and give a few quick pulses to blend.  Refrigerate in airtight container.  Makes about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of pesto.

( From the seeds planted in May) Washed Basil Leaves
Leaves Dried in Salad Spinner
Have your ingredients ready to go
Pesto should look like this when processed
small amount of oil will remain on top
Ready for refrigerator or freezer