Friday, February 12, 2010

Volume XIX, Issue 1, March, 2010

The Charlotte Herb Guild

CHG March Meeting
March 9 2010, 7:15pm

Creating pesto and cosmetics from herbs
A presentation by Camille Edwards of the NC Herb Association

Garden Council House
1820 East Seventh Street
Charlotte, NC 28204

Hostesses: Netta Turnbull, Theresa Travelute, Paulette Kerr
Please R.S.V.P before March 1 to Theresa Nardi

Guests: $5.00


Please pay your dues before the March meeting.

We need hostesses for upcoming meetings, please volunteer.

Minutes from the February 9, 2010 meeting:

President DeBellis welcomed members to the annual tea. She encouraged all members to have a wonderful evening, enjoying the company of guild members and tasting the foods prepared for this evening, the CHG annual tea. The tables were decorated with vegetables, herbs and greenery in a red and white theme. In keeping with the 3 herbal teas (white, chai and oolong) enjoyed by members, all were given a gift bag that included a tea spoon infuser.

President Dana DeBellis called a brief meeting to order following the meal and provided the following information:

·     The president thanked the board members for the lovely event. She recognized Lara Barnett, Patti Harlan, Brenda Dills, Theresa Nardi, Shirley Patton, Dixie Kelly, Margery Orell and past President Mary Beth Collins.

·     The Charlotte Council of Garden Clubs has asked the CHG to develop an awards program. Guild Vice President Lara Burnett will be responsible for the program.

·     Member Shirley Patton has two rain barrels for sale.

·     Members were reminded to complete a membership application and pay dues before or at the March meeting. Dues are $30.

Enjoy this little video of the February Annual Tea.

February Recipes:

Theresa Nardi

Yield: 48 servings

Preheat oven to Broil

2 elongated loaves of fully cooked Figone, ciabatta or sour dough French
bread cut into 24 slices each
2 sticks of organic salted butter
½ cup chopped herbs of your choice (I recommend parsley, garlic and basil)
2 cups seeded, chopped and drained tomatoes (or cheat and use a chunky salsa mix, drained)
½ cup of red onion chopped
½ cup chopped parsley
½ cup basil
1 cup parmesan, gruyere or Romano cheese, grated

Slice bread loaves into 24 slices each. Mix butter with ½ cup herbs. Mix drained tomatoes with onion, parsley and basil.

Brush herb butter over tops of bread slices and place until broiler until golden/green brown, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle a teaspoon of cheese over top once out of oven (this will seal the bread and keep it from getting soggy with the tomato mixture.

When ready to serve, place 1 tablespoon of tomato mixture (or salsa) on each slice and sprinkle cheese on top Place under broiler until cheese starts to melt or about 3 minutes. Serve.

Stuffed Mushrooms
Theresa Nardi

Yield: 48 mushrooms

48 white, brown or cremini mushrooms, washed with stems removed
4 pounds sausage
1 cup green onions, chopped
½ cup parsley
1/8 cup garlic, chopped
5 tablespoons dried oregano
2 cups grated Romano or parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
4 boxes frozen spinach; fully defrosted, drained and pat-dried
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup chicken stock

Wash mushrooms and remove stems. Saute the sausage, onions, parsley, garlic and oregano over medium heat. Mix cooked ingredients with cheese, Worcestershire, spinach, salt and pepper. Mixture can be frozen and keeps for 6 months or placed in the fridge for stuffing the mushrooms the next day. Or, immediately stuff mushrooms and place in a glass or ceramic baking dish.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Pour enough chicken stock in the bottom of the dish so that the mushrooms bottoms will not burn. Bake for 30 minutes. During the last 5 minutes you may sprinkle more grated cheese over the tops of the mushrooms. Serve.

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 or ½ cup feta 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 baking sheets. Transfer the flour paste to a mixer 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.

Dana DeBellis

1 16 ounce can chick peas, rinsed and drained
1 14 ounce can artichokes, drained
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
2 Tablespoons tahini
2 Tablespoons water
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves
3/4 teaspoon cumin

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until the mixture is smooth.

Radish or Cucumber-Chive Tea Sandwiches with Sesame and Ginger
Margery Orell

Adapted from Bon Appetit Test Kitchen April 2008

Yield: 5 sandwiches or 20 tea sandwich triangles

4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
3 tablespoons minced chives, divided
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
¾ teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
¼ teaspoon Asian sesame oil
10 thinly sliced white or whole wheat bread, crusts removed
10 radishes, thinly sliced, or ½ English cucumber peeled and thinly sliced
Fleur de sel, optional

Mix butter, 2 tablespoons chives, sesame seeds, ginger and oil in small bowl; season with salt and pepper. Spread butter mixture over each bread slice. Top with radishes or cucumbers, overlapping slightly. Sprinkle with remaining chives and fleur de sel, if desired.

Vegetable Sandwich Spread for Tea Sandwiches
Dixie Kelly

Yield: 40 triangle sandwiches
¼ cup cucumber
¼ cup green pepper
½ cup celery
¼ cup onion
¾ cup carrot
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon dill
Sandwich bread

Mix all ingredients together and spread on sandwich bread. Slice into triangles.

Ham Pinwheels
Brenda Dills

Yield: 2 dozen

3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
1 cup shredded peeled tart apples
4 flour tortillas (6 inches), room temperature
1/4 cup chopped sweet red pepper
2 green onions, thinly sliced
4 thin slices fully cooked ham

In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, garlic, curry, and mustard until blended. Stir in apple. Spread about 2 tablespoons over each tortilla. Layer with the red pepper, onions and ham.

Roll up tightly and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Cut into 1-inch slices. Garnish and serve.

Rosemary Pecans
Patti Harlan

From CHG Cooks Again
Yield 1 cup

1 Tablespoon. unsalted butter, melted
1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. paprika
1 cup pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a shallow baking pan, mix butter and seasonings.  Add nuts, turning them in the mixture to coat.  Heat for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Salmon Stuffed Roma Tomatoes
Patti Harlan

6- roma tomatoes
1 can Pink Salmon
1 Tablespoon mayonnaise
½ teaspoon oregano
½ rib celery
2 Tablespoons chopped walnuts

Debone salmon.  Slice ends off Roma tomatoes, slice in half and scoop out pulp. Dice celery. Mix salmon with celery, walnuts, mayonnaise, oregano and pulp of tomatoes. Place desired amount in tomatoes.  Cover and chill.

Orange Curd in Puff Pastry
Lara Barnett

The recipe for orange curd comes from The Joys of Jams, Jellies and Other Sweet Preserves by Linda Ziedrich. The puff pastry recipe is from Mad Hungry by Lucinda Scala Quinn.

Yield: Approximately 1 pint

Orange Curd:
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
½ cup strained orange juice
3 tablespoon lemon juice
6 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
Grated zest of 1 orange (optional)

In a bowl, beat eggs and yolks until they are smooth. Beat in orange juice and lemon juice.

Melt butter in a double boiler over medium- low heat. Stir in sugar and then stir in the egg- lemon juice mixture. Continue stirring until the curd thickens, about 5 minutes. When the curd is ready, you should be able to draw a path on the back of the spoon with your finger. Stir in the zest, if you are using it.

Pour the hot curd into one or more jars and cap them tightly. Store them in refrigerator or freezer for at least 1 week, in the freezer for at least 2 months.

Puff Pastry:
1 cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup water
½ cup (1 stick) butter, cut into small cubes
5 large eggs at room temperature

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare pastry bag.

In small bowl, whisk together flour salt. Place water and butter in a medium saucepan and bring to boil. Add flour mixture and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon for several seconds, until dough is smooth, pulls away from the sides of the pan and begins to form a ball. Remove the pan from heat. Cool the dough for a couple of minutes. Beat in the eggs on at a time until smooth and glossy, 1 to 2 minutes.

Place dough in pastry bag. Grease 2 rimmed baking sheets or line with parchment paper. Pipe desired shapes onto the baking sheets. The dough can be frozen at this point on the tray then collected into freezer bags and sealed.

For small puffs, bake for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown and firm to the touch. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Little Lemon Tarts
Mary Beth Collins

This is a modification of Marion Brokaw’s recipe found on page 276 of The Charlotte Herb Guild Cooks Again.

Yield: 30 tarts

2 lemons, juiced to make ½ cup
1cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
4 beaten eggs
½ cup (1 stick) butter
1 teaspoon dried lemon verbena, chopped
2 packages Athens Mini Fillo shells

For the filling, combine lemon and sugar in top of a double boiler. Stir in eggs and butter. Cook over boiling water until thickened. Mixture will thicken more when cool. Add lemon verbena. Pour into mini fillo shells. Best if served within a day of cooking.

Herbed Sugar Cookie Sandwiches with Lemon or Nutella Filling
Margery Orell

Basic sugar cookies:
¾ cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
½ teaspoon flavoring (lemon or vanilla, depending on the filling you want and the herb used)
2½ cups unbleached white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

The following ingredients are added depending on the flavor of cookie sandwich that you desire:

1 tsp crushed dried lemon verbena or dried mint (depending on the filling you use)
1 ounce dark chocolate, melted
Purchased lemon curd or Nutella

Mix butter, sugar, eggs and flavoring thoroughly. Stir together dry ingredients. Blend into butter-sugar mixture.

For lemon verbena cookies, shape dough into logs and wrap in waxed paper. Chill at least 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice cookies into ¼ inch slices. Place on parchment papered cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 14 minutes. Check to see that the edges are slightly browned. When the cookies cool completely, prepare your sandwiches by spreading lemon curd on a cookie and placing another cookie on top to complete the sandwich.

For half-and-half chocolate mint cookies, divide dough into two equal parts. Set one half aside. To the other add 1 ounce melted good dark chocolate. Stir in and mix thoroughly. Form logs of both making sure that they match in size. Chill one hour. Cut each log in half lengthwise. Match each vanilla half with a chocolate half to make a log that is half and half. Chill logs again.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice cookies into ¼ inch slices. Place on parchment papered cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 14 minutes. Check to see that the edges are slightly browned. When the cookies cool completely, prepare your sandwiches by spreading Nutella on a cookie and placing another cookie on top to complete the sandwich.

Chocolate Mint Meringues
Dixie Kelly

Yield: 3 dozen cookies

2 egg whites
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
2/3 cups sugar
1 cup mint chocolate chips
½ cups chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with foil. Beat cream of tartar into egg whites and continue beating until foamy, but not stiff. Add sugar slowly along with salt and beat until stiff.

Fold nuts and chips. (Do not use mixer for this step.) Drop by teaspoon onto foil-lined cookie sheet. Put cookies in oven and TURN OFF OVEN. Do not open oven for at least 10 hours.

Coriander Spice Cake
Shirley Patton

This is a modification of Judy Hastings’ recipe from pages 201-202 of The Charlotte Herb Guild Cooks.

2½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ cup sugar
½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 cup molasses
2 eggs, slightly beaten
½ cup raisins
½ cup chopped walnuts
1 cup boiling water
Topping (confectioners’ sugar or Orange Butter icing)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9 by 13-inch baking pan. Sift flour, soda, salt and spices together. In a large bowl, blend sugar with melted butter; beat in molasses and eggs. Stir in raisins and walnuts. Add sifted dry ingredients and hot water alternately to egg mixture, beating after each addition until just combined. Don’t over-mix. Pour into baking pan and bake for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar or top with Orange Butter icing.

Orange Butter Icing

1 pound sifted powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
3 to 4 tablespoons orange juice
2 teaspoons grated orange zest

Sift sugar into mixer bowl; add salt and mix. Beat in butter and add the orange juice a tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency. Add orange zest and frost cooled cake. This is a moist delicate cake; the flavor improves the second and third days.

Ginger Cookies with Ginger Cream Cheese and Pineapple Mint Cream Cheese
Shirley Patton

This recipe is from Susan Koolman and Margaret Somerall and found on page 218 of The Charlotte Herb Guild Cooks.

Yield: 4 dozen

1 cup sugar
¾ cup Crisco shortening
1 egg
4 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
Extra sugar for rolling dough

Cream sugar and shortening; add egg and molasses. Sift remaining ingredients together and stir into creamed mixture, being careful not to over-mix. Chill dough.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Shape into 1-inch balls and roll in sugar. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes. Cool. Serve with pineapple mint cream cheese.

Pineapple Mint Cream Cheese

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese
¼ cup crushed pineapple, drained
2 teaspoons fresh mint, chopped fine.

Combine all ingredients and chill for 8 hours. Serve with ginger cookies.

Lavender Cupcakes
Dana DeBellis
1 chocolate cake box mix
Infuse 1 Tablespoon lavender in 1 cup water

Follow the box directions, using the lavender/water infusion as your liquid

Butter cream Frosting
1 cup butter
3 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
3 Tablespoons of lavender-infused half and half
Mix together, frost cupcakes

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Brenda Dills

Yield: 6 dozen

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup coarsely chopped nuts (optional)
1 package (12 ounces) Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate
1 tablespoon chopped chocolate mint (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix flour with baking soda and salt; set aside. Beat butter, sugars, vanilla, and eggs until light and fluffy. Blend in flour mixture. Stir in nuts, chips and mint. Drop from a teaspoon 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake about 10 minutes or until golden brown.

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