Friday, May 28, 2010

Volume XIX, Issue 4, June, 2010


The Charlotte Herb Guild Newsletter

CHG June Meeting

June 8, 2010, 7:15pm

Service Project 

More information about the location and address
will be communicated to you in your email

Hostesses: Theresa Nardi and Holly Jeffries

Guests: $5.00


CHG Minutes May 11, 2010

Dana Debellis called the meeting to order and welcomed members and guests. She thanked May hostesses Mary Beth Collins, Anna Brandl-Kleine and Lenlee Cornish.

Membership Chair Theresa Nardi introduced new member Lana Anders and guests Linda Ferguson and Cathy Tolman.

Minutes were approved without changes.

Treasurer Dixie Kelly gave her report which can be read on using the CHG username and password.

Committee Reports

a.  Matthews Farmers Market: Lynn Lytle’s report included details about the Guild’s plans for programs on May 22nd.

Karen Sullivan, Mary Beth and Julie Courtney are among volunteers.

Lynn asked for volunteers to make tussie mussie’s. Members also will make lavender wands. Sample food items from the cookbook will be brought to the market by 7 a.m. or dropped off at Lynn or Lara’s house.

b. Garden Council Liaison: Chair Jane Ireton reported that the next meeting is May 26. It’s the council’s annual meeting, with a luncheon, installment of officers and silent auction planned. Jane thanked everyone who brought items for the Guild basket that will be donated for the silent auction.

c. Hezekiah Alexander Herb Garden: Mary Ann Nagel says it’s looking good. Work date TBA.

d. Service Projects:

Ann Baldwin reported that the group at Friendship Trays was very grateful for our donation. Students from Community Culinary School will use the herbs for preparing food for Friendship Trays’ meals on wheels program. The culinary school is interested in having a member talk with them about cooking with herbs. Karen Sullivan is in the process of scheduling a date with them. Photos of the garden were available during the meeting.

Dixie Kelly reported that our service project will be at Change Choices, a program for women who have been incarcerated and proven to be most likely to succeed. They have a house off South Boulevard. It is a farm-style house with wrap-around porch. E-mail Dana if you have large pots that can be used for a container garden. Other items needed are plants, tools, watering cans or similar items that could be used on a porch. Dana will create inventory based on e-mails of what you have available.

Hospitality: June hostesses are Holly Jefferies and Theresa Nardi. We still need volunteers for August.

Herb of the Month: Jane Ireton won a Stevia plant during Dana’s presentation. Dana reported that Stevia is native to Paraguay. It is a non-caloric sweetener. Look for it in powder form on shelves near sugar and other sweeteners. Plants have insect-repellant tendencies because of sweetness. It’s a tender plant, so plant it outside when temperatures are well into 50s and 60s. Best in loamy, well-drained soil. Has shallow roots. Mulch will protect it from drying out.

For a liquid sweetener, mix ¼ cup fresh Stevia leaves with a cup of warm water, let set for 24 hours. More information at

Herb Exchange: Patti Harlan led this year’s exchange, which this year focused on quality over quantity. Still, a beautiful and diverse selection of plants was available.

Program: Patti Harlan introduced special guest Richard Flanagan, from Mecklenburg Beekeepers ( He spoke about Blue Orchard Bees, or BOBs. These small, native pollinators are likely already in your backyard. Most of those in the U.S. developed from strains brought from Europe. These are also known as Mason Bees. They are named for their iridescent blue color and their usefulness as orchard pollinators. They are important pollinators for blueberries, almonds and peaches. They can visit 1,600 blossoms a day and pollinate nearly all of them, but they do not produce honey. Look for them January to June. They only circulate for a few hundred miles from home, which is made using mud.

Various varieties are found regionally. Two types in America, one east of Rockies, one west. In North Carolina, they resemble a fly. Mason bees use mud to build homes. Males have long antenna. Can carry 10 times the amount of pollen as regular bee. Check website above for information about building a suitable home for them.

Meeting was adjourned.

Submitted by
Karen Sullivan
May Recipes

Strawberry Lemon Punch

Anna Brandl-Klein
Yield: 1½ gallons

Ice Ring:
1 can frozen strawberry Bacardi mix
3 10-ounce cans of water
1 lemon, sliced thin
8 to 10 strawberries

1½ gallons ready-made lemonade or make your own.

Combine Bacardi mix, water, lemon and strawberries into a mold and freeze overnight. Unmold into punch bowl and add lemonade.

Strawberry Flan
Anna Brandl-Klein

5 eggs, separated
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Separate the eggs. Using an electric mixer, combine egg yolks and sugar at medium high speed until well blended and light in color.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and baking soda. Mix with a whisk. By spoonfuls, add flour mixture into egg mixture until well blended.

Beat egg whites until stiff. Fold gently into the egg-flour mixture. Pour batter into a greased 12-inch flan pan. Bake for 22 to 24 minutes. When light golden brown, remove the flan from the oven and let stand 10 minutes. Invert onto a cooling rack. When completely cook, transfer the flan to a plate.

Strawberry preserves
Fresh strawberries, sliced

Gently heat some strawberry preserves and spread them over the flan top. Adorn the top with slices of fresh strawberries.

Strawberry Butter
Anna Brandl-Klein

Although this recipe calls for frozen strawberries, you may use fresh ones, but they need to stand to accumulate some juices.

1 package (10 ounces) frozen strawberries, thawed
2 pounds unsalted butter, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Place all ingredients in a blender. Cover and blend until smooth. Chill and serve on your choice of breads, muffins, or bagels.

Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil Sandwiches
Anna Brandl-Klein
Anna made Vickie Surber’s recipe from The Charlotte Herb Guild Cooks Again, page 173.

Lemonade Cookies
Lenlee Corish
From Southern Lady, March/April 2010
Yield: 4½ dozen

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1¼ cups sugar
1/3 cup lemonade drink mix
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons lemon zest
6 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
1 recipe Lemonade Icing (recipe follows)
Luster spray, for garnish

In a large mixing bowl, combine butter, sugar and lemonade drink mix. Beat at medium speed until fluffy. Add eggs and lemon zest, beating well.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with the sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat a low speed, blending well after each addition. Divide dough into fourths; wrap each portion in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

On a floured surface, roll each portion of chilled dough to ¼-inch thickness. Using a 2½-inch round cookie cutter, cut out dough. Place 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool on pans for 2 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks.

Lemonade Icing
Yield: 2 cups
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
6 tablespoons frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed

In a medium bowl, combine sugar, butter and lemonade concentrate. Beat at low speed with an electric mixer until well combined.

Pink Lemonade Cake
Lenlee Corish
Yield: A 3-layer cake
From Southern Lady, March/April 2010

1½ cups (3 sticks) butter, softened
1¼ cups sugar
½ cup pink lemonade drink mix (Country Time Pink Lemonade Drink Mix)
4 large eggs
½ teaspoon lemon extract
4 cups cake flour
4 tablespoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2½ cups milk
Lemonade Buttercream (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray 3 round 9-inch cake pans using baking spray with flour.

In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar and lemonade drink mix at medium speed until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in lemon extract.

In a medium bowl, combine cake flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

Spoon batter into prepared pans, dividing evenly among pans. Bake for 24 to 30 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and let cool completely on wire racks.

Lemonade Buttercream
Yield: 4½ cups

1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
6 tablespoons frozen lemonade concentrate thawed
1 teaspoon lemon zest
6 cups confectioner's sugar

In a large bowl, beat butter, lemonade concentrate and lemon zest at medium speed with an electric mixer until combined. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, beating until smooth.

Spear Dip
Mary Beth Collins
This is Dixie Kelly’s recipe in The Charlotte Herb Guild Cooks Again, page 33. It’s a favorite.

¾ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sour cream
3 tablespoons green onion, sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons dried tarragon
2 teaspoons lemon zest
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste

Mix and refrigerate all ingredients.

Herbal Jelly Brie Bites
Mary Beth Collins
Adapted from Southern Living, December 2009

1 package mini phyllo pastry shells, thawed
3 ounces Brie cheese, rind removed, cubed
Jar herbal jelly
3 tablespoons chopped almonds
Fresh herbs, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place a small amount of herbal jelly in the bottom of each pastry shell. Top jelly with cubed Brie and sprinkle with chopped almonds. Bake 5 to 6 minutes or until cheese is melted. Top with chopped fresh herbs.

Cinco de Mayo Cheese Spread
Mary Beth Collins

2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese
4 ounces soft goat cheese
½ cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped fine
1 two-inch long jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
¾ teaspoon cumin
¾ teaspoon paprika
Thyme or parsley, for garnish

Mix all items except garnish in a large bowl until blended. Place in decorative bowl. Cover with plastic wrap for at least 24 hours. Up to three hours before serving, tuck in herb sprigs. Serve with baby carrots, green pepper, or crackers.

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