Herbalist's Happy Hour

Herb Blurb July 2018

The Herbalist’s Happy Hour, Crafted Cocktails and Tapas from the Garden is finished! I will be sending out a separate, short email once it is officially up on Amazon. If you plan on coming to any upcoming classes I will have copies of the book with me. The book includes recipes for fresh, artisanal beverages and finger foods made with ingredients from the garden. I went for low effort and delicious results. It includes recipes for cocktails, infused liquors, non-alcoholic refreshers, bitters, garnishes, savory small bites and more. From Blueberry Basil Blast to Smoked Salmon Mousse you’ll find plenty of ideas for healthy hydrating and flavorful snacking. You all need this book!

Things to Do
There’s a lot going on this month from the Cherry Creek Arts Festival, July 6 – 8, http://cherrycreekartsfestival.org/, to the Greely Stampede, ending on July 4th, http://www.greeleystampede.org/, the Colorado Irish Festival at Clement Park in Littleton, http://coloradoirishfestival.com/, and celebrations for the 4th. article here
It’s the best month for alpine wildflower viewing. Get out and take a hike in the cool of the mountains for beautiful vistas. There are music festivals from Denver Post’s Underground Music Showcase, https://www.undergroundmusicshowcase.com/, to concerts at Red Rocks, the Botanic Gardens, Hudson Gardens and free concerts in the parks, providing plenty of opportunity for dancing in the streets. Here is an article on local summer freebies: https://theknow.denverpost.com/2018/05/05/outdoor-summer-concerts-denver/183485/. Check https://www.colorado.com/events for a full list of statewide events. Get out there and celebrate the apex of summer!

Upcoming Classes

I will be teaching several classes at the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival this month. A great time in a truly gorgeous location. Check http://www.crestedbuttewildflowerfestival.com for info on a wide arrange of classes and events.

Denver Botanic Gardens Lavender Festival, Saturday, July 21, 2018 – Cooking With Lavender, 10:30 – 11:30 AM, $35, $30 member  https://catalog.botanicgardens.org/Selection.aspx?item=2758&sch=99071
Learn how to use this aromatic herb in everything from desserts to cocktails, infused salts and sugars, vinegars and sauces. Discover how to keep your dishes from tasting like a bowl of potpourri. Take home a sample of Herbes de Provence seasoning blend to get you started and snack on some delicious lavender shortbread cookies and lavender lemonade while we explore the culinary uses of this lovely plant. Recipes included.
* This class takes place during Lavender Festival, an all-day event at Chatfield Farms featuring lavender products made by local growers and artisans available for purchase, free demonstrations, live music and a variety of food, dessert and drink vendors. Location is Chatfield Farms south of C470 and Wadsworth.

 

Lavender Luncheon and Crafting at Chatfield Farms, Saturday, July 28, 9:30 AM – 12:30pm$60, $55 members, https://catalog.botanicgardens.org/Selection.aspx?item=3202&sch=96041
* This class takes place at Denver Botanic Gardens’ Chatfield Farms at C-470 and Wadsworth *
Spend a morning learning and crafting with this delightful herb and end with a scrumptious lavender themed lunch. Discover the many health and wellness properties of this easy to grow plant. We’ll make and take home samples of Herbes de Provence seasoning blend, soothing lavender/calendula lip balm, conditioning herbal hair rinse, fragrant lavender sachets to scent drawers or to use in the dryer, and a refreshing facial toner. Recipes, luncheon and take home samples included.

Plan Ahead

The Herbal Pantry,Denver Botanic Gardens, Tuesday, August 07,  6 – 8:30 PM, $44, $39 members, https://catalog.botanicgardens.org/Selection.aspx?item=2489&sch=95409
Wondering what to do with all those fragrant herbs languishing in your garden? Learn how to preserve your herbal harvest in elegant vinegars, herb butters, herb salts, sugars and seasoning blends, marinated cheeses, robust pestos and spicy salsas. Turn your daily fare into something special. Go home inspired with new ways to implement the healthy and delicious flavors of your garden bounty. Generous sample tastings, recipes, and growing and harvesting tips included. Get that winter pantry started! Demonstration class.

 

 

 

 

Free Days
Denver Art Museum – July 7
Four Mile Historic Park, Friday, July 8
Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield, July 3, York Street, July 19
Hudson Gardens – free every day
For more free dates and listings of free concerts check http://scfd.org/p/free-days-calendar.html

 

Gardening

With the high temperatures and low humidity make sure your garden is getting enough water. My favorite time to water is after dinner. It gives the plants a chance to really soak up the moisture and start fresh the next morning.

If you haven’t mulched, do it now. It will cut down on watering and weeds. I mulch all my container gardens with Spanish moss which really helps to  retain moisture. You can find it in bags in the artificial flower sections of craft stores.

Cut back spent flowers and rangy plants to keep them tight and full of blooms. If the garden is looking a little weary, give it a shot of fertilizer to perk things up.
Replant basil and cilantro every 2 to 3 weeks to keep a fresh, vibrant supply. Time to start drying your herbs for your winter pantry.

Herb of the Month – Nasturtium

Nasturtiums are one of my favorite edible flowers. This easy to grow, fragrant and tasty little plant is a must for every sunny garden.
The flowers come in hot colors from red to orange to pinks and yellows. It likes a sunny, well-drained spot and moderate water. Nasturtiums are easy to start from seed and have a lovely, light peppery taste. The leaves and flowers are edible. They can be stuffed or sliced with a sharp knife into slivers and used to garnish salads, cold soups and pasta dishes.

Stuffed Nasturtium Blooms

  • cream cheese or goat cheese
  • fresh herbs of choice, basil, dill, marjoram, thyme, and savory all work well.
  • fresh nasturtium blooms

Mix the herbs and cheese together well. Gently insert a scoop of the mixture into each blossom. Serve alone or on top of dressed salad greens or your favorite pasta dish.

Recipes of the Month

Baby, it’s hot outside. Time for some cool, easy soup and salad fixings.

Lavender Lemonade Fizz (1 serving, easy to multiply)
From the upcoming book, The Herbalists 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 oz. gin or vodka
  • Seltzer or club soda

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

 

Lavender 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.

 

Cucumber Aqua Fresca

  • 1 cup cucumber cut into thick slices
  • 2 limes cut into quarters
  • ½ cup fresh mint or basil

Combine ingredients with water in a 2-quart pitcher and chill. Drink throughout the day for refreshing hydration.

 

Mango Lassi – serves 2 generously
With mangoes in season, try this refreshing, delicious drink, consistency of a milkshake. For an easy way to cut mangoes check out this video, compliments of Martha, https://www.marthastewart.com/967631/how-cut-mango

  • 1 cup plain, organic yogurt
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 5-6 ice cubes
  • 1 cup chopped mango (peeled and stone removed)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Dash of cardamom (optional)
  • Honey or agave to sweeten to taste

Put all ingredients into a blender and blend well. Enjoy!

 

Chilled Melon Soup with Basil

  • 1 medium honeydew  or other melon, rind removed and seeded
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Place melon and lime juice in a blender. Process until very smooth, about 1 minute. Add the salt and refrigerate until chilled. Top each serving with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle with the basil.

 

Broccoli Bacon Salad
Dressing

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar, honey or agave, or to taste

Salad

  • 4 cups finely chopped broccoli crowns
  • ½  cup chopped radishes
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper, cored and chopped
  • 4-5 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup chopped basil or cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk dressing ingredients together. Add broccoli, radish, pepper, bacon and enough dressing to coat and stir lightly. Add avocados and gently fold in.  Season and top with chopped basil or cilantro.

 

Baby Kale Salad with Lime Dressing
Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons avocado or olive oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoons honey or agave
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Salad

  • 3 cups baby kale chopped into small pieces
  • 3-4 scallions, chopped
  • 1 cup cherries or blueberries, (if cherries, pitted and chopped)
  • ½ cup shelled pistachios, cashews or nuts of choice
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • 1 avocado, cubed

Whisk or shake dressing ingredients together. I make all my homemade dressings in re-purposed kombucha and tea bottles. Mix all salad ingredients with the exception of the avocado together. Add dressing to coat and stir gently. Fold in avocados and enjoy!

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