Herb Blurb August 2014
If you have been too busy to plunder the fruits of summer, your time is running out. So get out there and have some fun! There is a lot going on this month including festivals, outdoor concerts, farmers markets, food fairs, swimming before the pools and lakes close and perfect hiking conditions. It’s easy to remain in our old tired routines but make the effort to experience something new, you won’t regret it.
August brings with it a summer bounty of plums, peaches, melons, peppers, tomatoes, green beans and so much more. Get thee to a farmers market and let sweet peach juice dribble down your chin, roast up some delicious sweet corn and make a cheesy, nutty pesto from fresh herbs.
The Chefs Pantry – August 21, Denver Botanic Gardens, sold out.
Wild Things Walk,
Saturday, September 6, Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield, 9-11am, $28 member, $32 non-member, register here
Explore the treasure trove of wild herbs, medicinal plants, and edible weeds common to every backyard with clinical herbalist Susan Evans. Learn how to make a blood cleansing tea from red clover, a tasty salad from lambs quarters, stop bleeding with yarrow, and much more. Discover the amazing plants you’ve been stepping on all these years! Class will be held outdoors, please dress for the weather.
Colorado Foodways: A Celebration of our Food History, Saturday, September 27, 5:30-7:30pm, Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield. $39 members, $42 non-member.
Sample traditional Coloradan food and recipes through interactive demonstrations, take tours of the Hildebrand Ranch (which is on the Register of Historic Places) and sip on some locally crafted drinks while listening to a live band. Light dinner included with registration.
Fun Things to Do
Colorado Shakespeare Festival
CU campus, Boulder, CO. Enjoy an outdoor presentation of the bards greatest hits.
Denver County Fair
What says summer like a county fair? Check out the livestock, blue ribbon baking, crafts and entertainment August 1-3 at the National Western Complex.
Colorado Scottish Festival and Highland Games
Get your bagpipes and kilt on. August 9 and 10, Highlands Ranch in Littleton.
Living History Days, Fairplay, CO
Experience the boom town days at the South Park City Museum with over 40 buildings to explore, gunfighters, food and more.
Palisade Peach Festival
Experience all things peaches on the western slope. August 14-18. www.palisadepeachfest.com
Colorado State Fair
The big guy at the Pueblo fairgrounds with a rodeo, carnival, top name acts and the usual big fair fare. August 22-September 1. www.coloradostatefair.com
The Taste of Colorado – Labor Day Weekend
The last big blast of summer with 5 stages of free music, fireworks, arts and crafts, carnival rides, cooking classes and food for every possible taste. www.atasteofcolorado.com
Terrific Tomatoes – Recipes of the Month
Tomatoes were not widely eaten in the US until the late 1800’s. Belonging to the nightshade family they were considered poisonous. Today we know that tomatoes contain Vitamin C, A, iron and potassium along with lycopene. Lycopene is and antioxidant which helps in preventing cancer. You will absorb more lycopene from cooked tomatoes than raw.
Farm fresh tomatoes will soon be nothing more than a memory. Before that sweet juicy flavor retreats for another year make the most of it with some recipes sure to complement those end of summer meals. Once we’re back to store bought, try these recipes with cherry tomato varieties which give more of that fresh tomato taste in the off season.
Slow Roasted Tomatoes
Slow roasting brings out the sweetness of tomatoes. Use these as a side dish, puree for an incredible tomato sauce or soup, use in salsas or in place of tomatoes in any of your favorite recipes.
- 2-3 lbs of tomatoes cut into medium wedges
- 2 red or yellow onions cut into thick slices
- 6-8 cloves of fresh garlic, lightly chopped
- Dried or fresh herbs of choice, I like flat leaf parsley, thyme, oregano and marjoram, about 2 tbs fresh or 2 tsp dried
- Olive oil
Preheat oven to 250. Put all ingredients in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, lightly toss and place in a single layer on an oiled, rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 2-3 hours. Should be halfway between a fresh tomato and a sun dried.
Panzanella – Italian Bread Salad
- ½ loaf of Italian or rustic bread, somewhat stale is ok, rock hard isn’t. Cut into bite size cubes and toast in oven at 350 until crisp.
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes
- ½ cup chopped red onion
- ½ cup chopped cucumber
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 cup diced feta or mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup drained, pitted, chopped Kalamata olives or whatever variety you like
- 1 15oz can of drained and rinsed white beans
- Salt and pepper to taste
Additional herbs of choice – I like parsley, marjoram and dill or fennel
Dressing – recipe follows
In a large salad bowl combine ingredients except for cheese and dressing. Toss lightly; add enough dressing to lightly coat, plate the salad and top with cheese.
*You can add whatever fresh veggies you have on hand; green beans, pea pods, peppers, roasted zucchini or eggplant, carrots or avocado. Cut into bite size pieces and add to the salad before tossing.
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- Dash of Dijon mustard
Whisk or shake in a covered glass jar until well blended.
Chilled Melon Soup with Basil
- 1 medium honeydew, cantaloupe or other melon, seeded with rind removed
- 3 tbs fresh squeezed lime juice
- 2 tbs Greek yogurt or sour cream
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Place melon, basil and lime juice in blender. Process until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a dollop of yogurt topped with a fresh basil leaf.