Monday, October 26, 2009

Volume XVIII, Issue 9, November, 2009

Charlotte Herb Guild November Meeting:

DATE: November 10, 2009

TIME: 7:15 P.M.

LOCATION: Council House on 7th Street

PROGRAM: Karen Sullivan on Kitchen Gardens, Growing Plants for Culinary Uses

Visitors: $5.00

HOSTESSES: Anna Brandl-Klein, Linda Ferguson & Shirley Patton


Align Center

Minutes of the October 13, 2009 Meeting, McGill Rose Garden

The October meeting was called to order at 7:15 by President, Dana DeBellis.

Dixey Spivey, LynnLee Cornish and Jane Ireton were thanked as this month’s hostesses.

Next month’s hostesses will be Anna Brandl-Klein, Linda Ferguson and Shirley Patton.

Ms. Felton Temple, Mr. John Turnbull and Mr. Shiloh Wofford-Bey were introduced as guests. Twenty-four CHG members were present for the October meeting.

The formal meeting was
preceded by an hour of touring the McGill Rose Gardens at 920 N Davidson Street with Eric Ritchie, our host and Manager for the Garden, providing insights and encouraging CHG members to take clippings. Eric Ritchie presented background and history on the McGill Rose Gardens. The Gardens originated as a beautification project adjunct to a coal yard. It was eventually transformed into a rose garden by the first Mrs. McGill. The gardens were and are intended to be open, wild and free form rather than structured as in the European Garden tradition. Today, the McGill Rose Garden enjoys status as a City Park. It is a unique park run on 99% volunteer effort. It is located in an uptown/first ward location and is open 10-4PM Tuesday through Saturday, volunteers are always welcomed. The McGill Rose Garden maintains a website at

CHG members are encouraged to visit the gardens on the second Saturday of February for a free Rose Pruning Class hosted by the Rose Society. In case of inclement weather, the event moves to the third Saturday. At the close of his presentation, Mr. Ritchie presented to each CHG member a potted Red Cascade Rose. This rose has a cascading habit, takes full sun and will reach 7 feet.

Eric Ritchie noted two of his favorite books: The Complete Book of Herbs by Geraldine Holt of the UK and Lee Miller, A Life by Carolyn Burke. Both are out of print but can be found in used book stores and online at

Becky Standford was surprised with a gift-kitchen-goodie-basket from the CHG members in honor of her recent marriage. We will be losing her as she joins her Marine husband in November of this year.

CHG longtime member, Virginia Frazier, then gave a presentation on scented geraniums, correctly known as pelargonium. The species was originally brought to the U.S. and Europe from South Africa in the 1600’s. The French popularized them for their perfume applications. The most popular varieties, which Virginia brought and passed around for members to smell, touch and admire, are: Rose, Lemon and Citrosa (keeps away
mosquitoes). These pelargonium bloom in the spring and should be root bound before planting. They like liquid fertilizer and mulch. They need some protection in winter and do well if cut back. Cuttings root well in soil with a little added rooting medium, but they may also root in water.

Virginia amazed the group with two unusual plants: ginger and rat tail radish. She advised that grocery store ginger can be easily rooted and then harvested for fresh culinary use. Any ginger root can be placed atop potting soil with as many of its “eyes” facing down as possible. When they begin to take root, they can be covered with more potting soil. Ginger goes dormant in the winter. During growing season, it likes shade and moist soil.

Craig Ritchie, Eric’s teen aged son,
gave a presentation on his own designed and engineered hydroponic rooting system. His simple system uses easy-to-find materials and works with all kinds of cuttings, including grafts! The system accommodates 288 rooting plugs. Craig buys recycled root plug flats and sets each flat in a bed of standing water. To keep the water circulating and bringing oxygen to the roots, he attaches an inexpensive water pump (can be found at stores that sell aquaria equipment). The only nutrient added to the water is root-tone.

His examples were growing fast
and furious, species included mint and roses. Two retail resources for hydroponic supplies are: American Beauty Center at 1311 Central Avenue, Charlotte, NC, ph 704.334.8651, Be Well Hydroponics and Urban Supply at 4732 Monroe, Charlotte, NC, ph 704.344.8010. Both stores have extensive websites. Eric and Craig gave all CHG members a gift of castor beans with the advice to plant them next spring.

Take a look at this slide show of more photos of the meeting at the McGill Rose garden:

Karen Sullivan reminded everyone to turn in (digital) pictures of their kitchen gardens for the November program. Digital photos can also be emailed to Margery Orell or to the address.

Sandy Fenton gave a recap of the Farmer’s Markets proceeds. The guild generated $1303.00 in revenue. After expenses netted $1100.00. Only six cookbooks were sold.

Dixie Kelly, Treasurer, submitted the budget for October 13, 2009.

Beginning Balance Sept 2009 $14,757.02

Deposits $1,856.82

Expenses $541.26

October 13, 2009 Balance $16,037.58

Meeting adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,

Theresa Nardi, Recording Secretary


October Refreshments

Gorgonzola Truffles

Dixie Spivey

Yield: 26 pieces

From Southern Living Easy Entertaining

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese

2 teaspoons finely chopped onion

½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ cooked, finely crumbled bacon

Beat cheeses, onion, Worcestershire sauce and black pepper at medium speed until well combined. Cover tightly and chill at least 1 hour or until firm. Can be stored in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Use the food processor to finely chop the bacon. Roll cheese mixture into ¾-inch balls, about the size of large grapes. Roll each ball into spread out bacon pieces, covering each ball sparingly. Serve immediately or cover and chill until ready to serve. If chilled, leave at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. Serve with apple and pear slices and grapes.

Rosemary-Roasted Walnuts

Dixie Spivey

From Smith and Hawken Gardeners’ Community Cookbook (1999)

Yield: 2 cups

1 pound English walnut halves

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter, melted

3 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves

2 teaspoons hot paprika

½ to 1 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place all ingredients in a bowl and toss to mix. Spread on a baking sheet large enough to hold the nuts in a single layer. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring once or twice, or until the nuts are golden but not browned and the scent of rosemary fills the room. Remove and cool. Serve right away or at room temperature. May be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Blue Cheese-Walnut Finger Sandwiches

Dixie Spivey

Yield: 72 to 88 finger sandwiches

From Southern Living Easy Entertaining

¾ cup finely chopped English walnuts

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

5 ounces creamy blue cheese, rind removed

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

2 loaves Pepperidge Farm Very Thin 100% Whole Wheat Bread or Whole Grain 15 Grain Bread

¾ cup cranberry or fig, cherry, or apricot preserves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake whole walnuts in a single layer in a shallow pan 6 to 8 minutes or until roasted and fragrant, stirring after 5 minutes. Cool completely (about 20 minutes). After baking and cooling the walnuts, pulse them in a food processor until they are finely chopped.

Stir together walnuts, cream cheese, blue cheese and parsley. Spread on 1 side of each bread slice. If the preserves are very thick and difficult to spread, chop them finer in a food processor and thin them a bit with 1 to 2 tablespoons water. Spread preserves on half of bread slices; top with remaining bread slices, cheese sides down. Chill sandwiches in airtight zip-top plastic bags up to 24 hours, if desired. Cut crusts from sandwiches. Cut each sandwich into 8 pieces for Whole Wheat Bread or 4 pieces for 15-Grain Bread.

Pumpkin Bread

Jane Ireton

2/3 cup butter

2-2/3 cup sugar

4 eggs

1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin

2/3 cup water

3-1/3 cup flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon cloves

2/3 cup chopped raisins

2/3 cup chopped nuts or cranberries (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9 by 5-inch loaf pans. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Stir in eggs, pumpkin and 2/3 cup water. Blend flour, soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and cloves. Stir in raisins and nuts. Bake about 60 to 70 minutes until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Arnold Palmer Cooler

Jane Ireton

1 quart lemonade

1 quart iced tea

Mint, for garnish

Mix together and serve over ice. Add sprig of mint, if desired.

Tea Sandwiches

Jane Ireton

Flax Oat Bran Bread with Toasted Walnuts (Great Harvest Bread Company)

Manchego cheese

Fig Jam

Slice and toast bread. Top 2-inch squares of toasted bread with shaved Manchego cheese and a dollop of fig jam.

Chocolate Cappuccino Cheesecakes

Jane Ireton

8 to 10 packaged chocolate wafers, crushed (1/2 cup)

1 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon butter, melted

2 squares semisweet chocolate

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

¼ cup sugar

1 egg

2 teaspoons espresso coffee powder

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

Line 1¾-inch miniature muffin pan cups with paper liners. Blend chocolate crumbs, the 1 teaspoon sugar and butter in a small bowl. Press a scant ½ teaspoon of the chocolate crumbs into bottom of each paper-lined muffin cup. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Melt chocolate in a 1-cup measure set in hot, not boiling, water. Beat cream cheese with electric mixer at medium speed just until smooth. Add remaining ¼ cup sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy; beat in egg, espresso coffee powder, cinnamon and vanilla.

Add melted chocolate; beat at low speed until blended, then at high speed 1 minute until mixture thickens. Fill muffin pan cups half full (about 2 level teaspoons).

Bake for 18 minutes or until tops are firm when lightly pressed with fingertip. Cook cheesecakes in pans on wire racks, 15 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely. Cheesecakes characteristically crack and sink slightly upon cooling. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish with whipped cream, crystallized violets, fresh mint or a dusting of ground cinnamon, if desired.

Selection of Cheeses and Wines

Eric Ritchie

Peanut Dip for Apples

Lenlee Corish

1 container (8 ounces) softened cream cheese
¾ cup white sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 heaping teaspoon vanilla
1 cup salted peanuts

Apple slices, for serving

Stir all ingredients and place in refrigerator overnight or at least 6 to 8 hours.

Serve with sliced apples.

Fruit Skewers

Lenlee Corish

Place cut pears, raspberries, and grapes on toothpicks.

Plum Bread

Lenlee Corish

2 cups self-rising flour
2 cups sugar
1teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon cloves
2 jars baby food plums (mostly mixed with apples now, but try to get the plum as pure as possible)
¾ cup oil
3 eggs

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and grease and flour a loaf pan. Mix together and place in pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool.


No comments: