Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Volume XVIII, Issue 4, June 2009

Volume XVIII, Issue 4, June, 2009


The Charlotte Herb Guild


June Field Trip

June 6, 2009, 10:30 A.M., Bluebird Hill Farm, Bennett NC

Click here for detailed information on the event

June Meeting:

DATE: June 9, 2009

TIME: 7:15 P.M.

Featuring: Jan Beane And Tim Haas, authors of two cookbooks:

Basil to Thyme

From the Garden to the Kitchen

LOCATION: Garden Council House

1820 East Seventh Street

Charlotte, NC 28204


Hospitality: Karen Sullivan, Julie Courtney, Gina Simmons


Minutes of the May Meeting

Charlotte Council of Garden Clubs

Charlotte Herb Guild

May 12, 2009

In lieu of a formal meeting, members met at the Dove’s Nest, a sheltering, faith-based home/environment for women. President Dana DeBellis organized the construction of a raised-bed garden for the residents. The garden was based on a book, All New Square Foot Gardening, by Mel Bartholomew.

Guild members assembled pre-cut cedar boards for the bed. That done, 4-6 inches of shredded paper was spread throughout, then soaked with a hose. Next six inches of a soil mixture was added and then soaked.

The residents of Dove’s Nest helped plant herbs and vegetables: tomatoes, oregano, squash, cucumbers, okra, parsley, peppers, thyme, lambs ear, marigold, dahlias, chives, lemon balm.

Soil recipe:

  • 1/3 blended compost (different kinds- cow, mushroom, homemade, etc.)
  • 1/3 peat moss
  • 1/3 vermiculite

Mix equal parts of each, measured by volume, not by weight.

President DeBellis presented the women of Dove’s Nest with a basket containing garden gloves, books and tools. She introduced a spokesperson for the organization who described the mission of the Dove’s Nest.

The Dove’s Nest welcomes volunteers on Wednesdays from 9:00A.M. – 11:00 A.M. Contact Shante Anderson, 704-332-3999 ext10 to schedule a date. Opportunities include assisting with the garden or teaching a class on gardening/herbs.

President DeBellis thanked Mary Beth Collins, Margie Orell and Jan Sundberg for the delicious refreshments.

Meeting adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,

Theresa Nardi, Recording Secretary

Directions to the Bluebird Hill Farm

421 Clarence Phillips Road

Bennett, NC 27208

Lost? Contact Norma Burns, 336 581-3916

From Charlotte, the trip is 115 miles, 2.5 hours.

Take I 85 N.

Take exit 96 for US 64 toward Asheboro.

Turn right at E US 64.

Slight right at Coleridge Rd/NC-22

Continue to follow NC-22.

Turn left at NC-42/NC Hwy 42.

Continue on Hwy 42 until you reach our turnoff. Toward the end of your trip you will begin to see signs for the Southern Supreme Fruitcake Company. Pass the last fruitcake sign and continue on Hwy 42 for a few miles. You will soon see an intersection sign. At that intersection, you’ll see Ronald Scott Road on the right, Calvin Phillips Road on the left. Turn left on Calvin Phillips Rd, take the first right on Clarence Phillips Rd, and continue a short distance until you see our white mailbox with the blue Bluebird Hill flag sign on your left. Follow the drive across the field and over a dry creek to the farm.


Take a look at some recent photos from 2009 CHG meetings:


May Recipes

Herbed Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches

Margery Orell

Yield: 24 sandwiches

6 hard cooked eggs

2 tablespoons plain Greek yoghurt

2 Tbsp mayonnaise

1/2 Tbsp mustard

2 Tablespoons chopped chives

1 Tbsp chopped dill

1 Tbsp chopped tarragon

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh dill sprigs

In a food processor, chop eggs; combine with the yoghurt, mayonnaise and mustard. Season with herbs. Add salt and pepper.

Options: Spread on thinly sliced bread, cut into triangles. Or, spread one side of curried nut bread with guacamole and the other side with the egg salad. Cut into small sandwiches.

Arrange on a platter. Garnish with dill sprigs.

Red, Hot and Cool Radishes

Margery Orell

24 radishes

¾ cup plain Greek yoghurt

½ cup finely chopped pared and seeded cucumber

¼ cup sour cream

¼ cup finely chopped fresh mint

3 tablespoons chopped red onion

1 ½ teaspoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon lime juice

½ teaspoon grated ginger

1.2 teaspoon kosher salt

The day ahead: cut and X in the root end of each radish. Place in ice water. Mix all other ingredients together except cucumber and mint.

3 hours ahead: Drain radishes. Add cucumber and mint to yoghurt mixture. Arrange on a platter with dip in the center. Serve.

Nutty Napoleons

Margery Orell

Yield: 48

96 or so pecan halves

3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

2 ounces stilton cheese, room temperature

¼ cup honey

Cracked pepper (optional)

2 tablespoons fresh chopped chives

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bake pecans on a cookie sheet for 7-10 minutes. Cool.

Combine all other ingredients. Process in a food processor. Make a sandwich of two pecans with a cheesy filling. You can pipe the filling onto each bottom pecan or just use a knife. Top each with a top pecan.

Place on a tray and serve.

Strata Frittata

Margery Orell

Yield: 24

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 ½ cups chopped onion

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper
5 eggs

1 cup chopped ham

¾ cup grated Swiss cheese

1/3 cup cream

¼ cup panko bread crumbs

3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

¾ teaspoon chopped fresh sage

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Sauté onion in olive oil for 7-10 minutes. Add salt and pepper.

Combine everything else. Mix thoroughly.

Spray mini cupcake tins with butter flavored spray. Fill tins.

Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool. Turn out. Place on a tray and serve.

(These can be made 2 days in advance. Just heat and serve.)

Smoked Salmon Tea Sandwiches with Herb Butter

Margery Orell

Yield: 24 sandwiches

Herb Butter:

½ pound unsalted butter, room temperature

¼ teaspoon minced fresh garlic

1 tablespoon minced green onions (white and green parts)

1 tablespoon minced fresh dill

1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1 loaf thinly sliced whole wheat bread

8 slices smoked salmon.

For the herb butter, combine all butter ingredients in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat until mixed, but do not whip.

Use 16 pieces of the bread. Butter each slice. Place a piece of salmon on 8 of the slices. Then top with a buttered piece of bread. Refrigerate the sandwiches until very cold. Then place them on a cutting board and cut into as many tea sandwiches as you want.

Place on a pretty tray and serve chilled.

Sesame Eggplant Salsa

Margery Orell

Yield: 2 cups

2 pounds eggplant

¾ cup packed minced green onions

2 ½ tablespoons minced fresh ginger

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 teaspoon Chinese chili paste

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 ½ teaspoons dark sesame oil

¾ cup chopped, seeded and peeled tomatoes

¾ cup packed minced fresh cilantro

For garnish: fresh cilantro and sliced green onion

1 package pita bread

Olive oil


Prepare the pita crisps up to 3 days ahead. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Open pockets of pita bread. Place on a cookie sheet. Brush each pita with olive oil and a bit of salt. Bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown. Watch them! Break into pieces.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cut the stem ends off the eggplant and prick well all over with a sharp knife. Place on a cookie sheet, roast for 30-45 minutes. Test for doneness by piecing with a knife. The eggplant should be completely soft. Remove from the oven, cool. Scrape the creamy pulp from the skin into a food processor. Pulse quickly until the mixture is pureed.

Combine the minced green onions, ginger, garlic and chile in a bowl.

Combine the brown sugar, lemon juice, vinegar and soy sauce in a small bowl and whisk the mixture.

In a large sauté pan, heat the canola oil over medium heat. Add the green onion mixture and sauté until softened, about a minute. Add the sugar mixture and bring to a simmer, stirring continuously, about a minute. Reduce the heat and add the eggplant puree. Stir well and heat through, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the sesame oil, tomatoes and cilantro. Fold to blend.

This may be served with the pita chips immediately, but it tastes better if made a couple of days in advance and refrigerated. Garnish with cilantro and green onion. Surround with pita crisps.

Basic Boursin

Mary Beth Collins

Adapted from Herbal Treasures, Garden Way Publishing

Yield: 4 cups

½ pound ricotta cheese

½ pound cottage cheese

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened

4 large cloves garlic, minced

2 medium shallots, minced

½ cup finely minced parsley, tightly packed

3 tablespoons minced chives

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

¼ teaspoon cayenne

Salt, to taste.

Blue Cheese and Olive Gougeres with Herbs

Mary Beth Collins

Adapted from Delicious Pastries, Paragon Books

Yield: 24 appetizers

2/3 cup water

4 tablespoons butter

¾ cup all-purpose flour, sifted

2 eggs, lightly beaten

4 tablespoons scallions, finely chopped

Zest of 1 lemon

1 garlic clove, crushed

Mixed herbs, finely chopped (chives, tarragon, etc.)

½ cup bleu cheese, finely crumbled

24 pitted black olives

Place water and butter is a saucepan and heat gently until the butter melts, then increase the heat and bring the mixture to a rapid boil. Immediately add the flour, remove the pan from the heat and stir the mixture into a paste that leaves the sides of the pan clean. Allow to cool for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and lightly spray 2 insulated baking sheets. Transfer the flour paste to a mixer or food processor and gradually beat the eggs into the flour paste. Then beat in scallions, lemon zest, garlic and herbs until the paste is smooth and glossy. Beat in the cheese.

Using two spoons, mound on baking sheets. Press an olive into each. Bake about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool briefly. Serve hot, warm or cold.

P.S.—Gougeres are cheese puffs in French.

Rosemary Fruit Punch

Jan Sundberg

46 ounce can pineapple juice

½ cup sugar

5 teaspoons fresh chopped rosemary

1 ½ cups lemon juice

2 cups water

Fresh lemon slices and fresh sprigs of rosemary

1 liter bottle pale-dry ginger ale

Boil 1 cup pineapple juice, sugar and rosemary. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Strain and cool. To serve, add the concentrate to the remaining pineapple juice, lemon juice and water. Pour into a punch bowl. Add ginger and serve.

Minted Chocolates

Jan Sundberg

1 pound chocolate almond bark

1 pound vanilla almond bark

1/2 cup fresh mint finely chopped

Melt barks separately over hot water, or in microwave. Combine mint with chocolate and mix well. Keep over hot water as you drop small amounts from a buttered spoon into candy papers or onto a buttered cookie sheet. As soon as they are firm, top each with a spoonful of vanilla almond bark. Cool. Store in an airtight container. Will keep for weeks.

I used 1 ½ bags each of 14 oz Ghirardelli semi sweet chocolate chips and white chocolate chips.

Since I couldn’t find almond bark I added a few drops of Almond Extract to the melted chocolate.

Gluten Free Brownies with Lemon Balm

Jan Sundberg

1 bag Trader Joes gluten free brownie baking mix

1 egg

½ cup vegetable oil or 2 sticks, melted butter

¼ cup water

1/4 cup lemon balm finely chopped

Follow baking directions on package.

I doubled this recipe and used melted butter.

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