colorado summer

Herb Blurb August 2018

The Book is (finally) published! Find it HERE at Amazon.com or if you are attending one of the below classes I will have books in hand. Perfect for summer and fall imbibing.

The Herbalist's Happy Hour: Crafted Cocktails and Tapas from the gardenStep into the herbalist’s kitchen and discover how easy it is to create fresh, artisanal beverages and delectable finger foods from the garden with minimal effort and scrumptious results. Explore everything from non-alcoholic refreshers, bitters, fruity shrubs, and edible flower garnishes to captivating cocktails, infused liquors, and savory small bites. Skip the chemicals, dyes, and corn syrup and find recipes for drinks and appetizers featuring seasonal, local, and flavorful herbs, fruits and veggies. Learn easy techniques for creating unique, healthy, and delicious drinks and tapas. Get the party started!

Time to enjoy those last sweet days of summer.  Go swimming at a local lake, drive off on a road trip or go camping in the woods, attend one of the free summer concerts, or just lay around in the hammock with a good book. Check out www.denver.org or www.colorado.com for all kinds of ideas, lots of them for free.

The farmers market in August is overflowing with tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, beans, peaches, plums and melons. Get inspired and experience all these wonderful flavors. Break out the grill on these hot days and experiment with easy, healthy recipes using the peak of the harvest.

 

Upcoming Classes

Preserving Summer’s Bounty, Tagawa Gardens, Saturday, August 4,
2-3 pm, Free 
info here

Learn how to harvest, prepare, and store your own garden herbs! After showing how to harvest and dry them, Susan will briefly demo how to put your herbs to use in butters, marinated cheeses, vinegar, and seasoning blends. To top it all off, learn how to candy herbs, edible flowers, and citrus peels for delicious garnishes. Recipes included!

 

Herbal Pantry, Denver Botanic Gardens, Tuesday, August 7, Sold Out.

 

Beauty of Pressed FlowersBeauty of Pressed Flowers, Denver Botanic Gardens, Thursday, September 6, 6 – 8:30pm, $55, $50 members, info here

Discover how to collect and preserve summer flowers and fall leaves for use in creating floral masterpieces. Learn the best flowers to grow and how to press for optimal color, durability and longevity. Participants will make beautiful bookmarks, cards, a dipped candle and a floral votive container to take home.

 

Edible Flower FeastEdible Flower Feast, Denver Botanic Gardens, Saturday, September 8, 10 am – 12:30 pm, $55, $50 member, info here

Experience a sensory feast as we explore the delectable world of edible flowers.
Learn how to safely grow, harvest and use flowers for tasty and beautiful culinary creations. Discover how to candy flowers and herbs for elegant garnishes. Enjoy a luncheon of Herb Blossom Canapés, Chicken Curry Salad with Flower Confetti, Calendula Deviled Eggs, Blossom Tea and finish with Chocolate Mint Cupcakes with crystallized flowers. Lunch and handout with edible flower list and recipes included. Treat yourself!

 

Food Preservation Boot Camp
Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield, Saturday, September 29, 9 am – 4:30 pm, $120, $108 member, info here

Food Preservation Boot CampPart :Drying & Freezing, Morning Class
Turn your garden or farmers market bounty into a ready-to-use pantry full of flavorful dried or frozen veggies, fruits and herbs. Get an overview of the best freezing and drying techniques.

Fun and easy to process, compact dried and/or frozen food is perfect for long storage, high nutrient value and concentrated taste. This preservation method is ideal for camping, school lunches, small storage spaces, and quick, tasty meals. Beginner level course, all levels welcome. Recipes and tastings provided.
Instructor: Susan Evans, Clinical Herbalist, Chef, & Owner of Chrysalis Herbs

Part II: Fermentation, Early Afternoon Class
Learm the basics of fermentation, its health benefits, and how you can safely and deliciously ferment at home. Whether you’re interested in fermented pickles, kimchi, kombucha or sauerkraut, this class will have you ready to make your own incredible house made fermented foods! This is a beginner-friendly course. Generous tastings and recipes included.

Part III: Boiling Water-Bath Canning, Late Afternoon Class
This beginning canning class will teach the new/beginner home canner the basics for boiling water bath canning. We will cover equipment you need, recipe sources, food safety, and we will make 2 different items for your pantry. Generous tasting and recipes will be provided.
Instructor: Kathy Lee, Owner of Modern Gingham Preserves

 

Fun Things to Do
Loveland 34th annual Sculpture in the Park
More than 2000 sculptures featured next to Lake Loveland. August 10-12.
http://www.sculptureinthepark.org/show  

Breckenridge Festival of Arts 
A mix of music, dance, film, visual arts and entertainment up in the mountains. August 10-19.
info here

Palisade Peach Festival
Experience all things peaches on the western slope. August 16-19, Entertainment, food, farm dinners, kid activities and more.. https://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 24-September 3.
https://www.coloradostatefair.com/  

Free Days
Denver Art Museum, Saturday, August 4
Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield Farms, Tuesday August 7
Children’s Museum, Tuesday, August 7, 4-8 pm
Four Mile Historic Museum, Friday, August 10, 12-4 pm
Denver Museum of Nature and Science , Monday, Aug 13
Denver Botanic Gardens, Wednesday, August 29
Clifford Still Museum, every Friday evening
Hudson Gardens, daily

 

Terrific Tomatoes

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 an 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 recipes sure to complement those end of summer meals. Once we’re back to store bought, try cherry tomato varieties which give more of that fresh tomato taste in the off season.

Gazpacho
GazpachoWith juicy, ripe summer tomatoes available it’s time for delicious gazpacho.

  • 3 cups ripe summer tomatoes, cored and chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, chopped
  • 1 sweet red bell pepper (or green) seeded and chopped
  • 1-2 tbs chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbs chopped fresh chives
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tsp sugar or honey
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 6 or more drops of Tabasco sauce to taste
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 cups tomato juice

 

Combine all ingredients in blender. Blend to desired consistency. Place in non-metal, non-reactive storage container, cover tightly and refrigerate overnight, allowing flavors to blend. Toppings can include sour cream, chives, shredded cheese and croutons. You could also mound cooked shrimp or crab to ritz it up a notch.

 

Recipes of the Month

With the dog days of August arriving and the bounty of summer overflowing it’s time for easy, cool dishes for picnics and patio dining.

 

Lavender Lemonade Fizz

Lavender Lemonade Fizz1 serving, easy to multiply from The Herbalist’s Happy Hour

Also nice without the alcohol: the kids will love it.

  • Fresh juice of ½ lemon or lime
  • 1 tablespoon lavender syrup (recipe follows)
  • 1 ounce gin or vodka
  • Seltzer or club soda

Add lemon, syrup and alcohol of choice to glass, top with seltzer and ice, stir and imbibe.

Variation for popsicles

Add lemon and syrup together to make a concentrate. Do not add any seltzer or alcohol. Adding an equal portion of water to the concentrate, (half water, half concentrate), stir well and fill popsicle molds. Freeze and enjoy.

 

Lavender Lemonade FizzLavender Syrup

  • 2 tablespoons lavender buds, fresh or dried
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar

Add all ingredients to a saucepan, bring to a boil while stirring, turn off heat, cover and let steep for an hour or two, strain and refrigerate.

 

Prosciutto Wrapped Plums or Peaches

Prosciutto Wrapped Plums or Peachesfrom The Herbalist’s Happy Hour

  • Ripe plums or peaches halved, pits removed, cut into a little larger than bite size wedges.
  • gorgonzola, goat or blue cheese
  • milk
  • Prosciutto slices
  • Balsamic reduction (recipe follows)
  • Thyme and chopped chives for garnish

Preheat oven to 350. Add a small amount of milk or cream to cheese of choice and mash until creamy enough to spoon onto the fruit wedges. After adding the cheese, wrap the wedge with prosciutto. and roast in oven for about 8-10 minutes on a greased baking sheet until heated through. Serve warm, drizzled with balsamic reduction and topped with fresh thyme and chopped chives.

Too much trouble?  Cut the fruit in quarters, skip the cheese or not, wrap with prosciutto and serve. Still quite tasty if not as impressive.

 

Balsamic Vinegar Reduction

Add 2 cups of balsamic vinegar to a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat to a simmer until it is thickened and reduced to ½ – 1 cup, depending on how thick you want it. This will concentrate the flavor. Cool and bottle. Usually takes about 15-20 minutes.

 

Peach Lassi – 2 servings

Peach LassiA peach take on the mango lassi, one of my favorite drinks.

  • 1 fully ripe peach, pit removed, cut into pieces
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup water
  • 6-7 small ice cubes (the kind your freezer makes)
  • Honey or agave to taste
  • Splash of vanilla extract

Process in your blender and enjoy! You can also add a dash of cardamom or cinnamon.

 

Peach Bellini

  • 2 fully ripe peaches, pit removed and cut into piecesPeach-Bellini
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • Honey or agave to taste
  • Prosecco

Blend the peaches, lemon juice and sweetener in a blender or food processer until smooth.  Test for sweetness. Fill 1/4 of a champagne glass with the peach mixture and top with prosecco. If you don’t like the texture you can strain the pulpy bits from the mixture by pressing through a strainer.

For a non-alcoholic version replace prosecco with seltzer.

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