Archive for July, 2010

Creamy Buttermilk Lemon Pops

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

I am not a hot weather person.  Add any humidity to the equation and I turn into the world’s biggest whiner.  Over the last few days we were hit with wonderful humidity and temperatures in the 90’s, and I’ve been so grumpy my family is about ready to ship me to Siberia.  This type of weather drives me to eat things like chilled avocado soup and these luscious sweet-tart freezer treats. I know you may think buttermilk sounds weird, but trust me, these are fantastic! I suppose you could flake out on me and substitute yogurt, but I encourage you to give it a try.  I think you’ll be surprised. My guys are not huge fans of buttermilk, but they love these.  The whole time they’re eating them they gripe and complain about how much I use buttermilk.  But, if I tell them that I’d be more than happy to take the pop off their hands, they shoot daggers at me with their eyes.

Since I make my own buttermilk and lemons are a staple in my refrigerator, I always have the ingredients on hand. These are a snap to make, taking very little time. Simply mix the ingredients together in a 4 cup measuring pitcher, pour into freezer pop molds, and freeze.

Creamy Buttermilk Lemon Pops
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
Juice of 2 lemons (approximately 1/3 cup)
1 cup sugar

Seriously, it’s that simple!

I’ve got quite the collection of freezer pop molds, and my favorites are those made by Tovolo

Pesto Pasta Salad

Monday, July 5th, 2010

Last week I promised a recipe for the pasta verde made with the chlorophyll I showed you how to extract.  This pesto pasta salad is what I made to take to a 4th of July family reunion.  Before I give you the recipe, I hope you’ll humor me while I wax nostalgic for a moment.

I’ve been attending this annual picnic since I was 12 years old.  The side of my family involved is my paternal grandmother’s.  There were originally 8 kids, but this year we’re down to the last 3 siblings.   The two youngest are 79 and 80, and my grandma is the eldest at 93.  I know our culture worships youth and beauty, but thanks to my grandma I’ve come to realize there is a certain beauty and youthfulness to old age.  Isn’t my grandma beautiful!

OK, on to our recipe. All measurements are approximate. Feel free to increase, decrease, substitute, or omit anything you like (or don’t like).

Pesto Pasta Salad
1 pound fresh or frozen pasta verde
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup Kalamata olives
1 to 1 1/2 cups feta cheese, cubed
1/4 to 1/2 cup pine nuts
Basil for garnishing

Pesto Dressing
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/8 cup rice wine vinegar
1/8 cup pesto
Salt to taste

Whisk oil, vinegar, and pesto together. Season to taste. Toss dressing together with pasta, tomatoes, olives, and cheese. Sprinkle pine nuts over top of salad and garnish with basil.

At my youngest son’s request, I also made a strawberry cake for the picnic.  I’ll post a recipe for the cake later this week.  Would you be able to refuse a request from a face like this?

Herbal Gifts From Abroad

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

I know it’s nothing earth shattering, but I just had to share.  My mom dropped by my house for a visit yesterday evening bearing gifts! She and my dad just got back from 2 weeks of vacationing in Europe with my sister and her family, who live in Germany. This is a picture of my sister sitting in the middle of a lavender field in Provence, France. If you look closely you can see some beehives off in the distance to the left. I just love this picture of my little sister!

While traveling, my mom and sister picked up a couple of gifts for me.  You must understand …. everyone in my family gives me gifts in fear and trepidation. Believe it or not, I’m very difficult to choose gifts for, and my mom and sister are always worried that I’m going to hate whatever they give me.  In fact, my mom told me that if I didn’t like it she would understand! I’m one of those practical, picky people who knows exactly what she likes and dislikes.  Unfortunately, my family has never been able to figure me out, including my husband and sons. I know!  I’m a horrible person! I promise that I’m working to improve my gift accepting skills.  The problem is that I’m also a terrible liar.

Knowing how much I love all things herbal they chose this lavender syrup from Provence, and some pesto. What I love is that these are items that I make for myself, and provide and interesting basis of comparison for the quality of what I make myself.

I sampled the pesto on some whole wheat pasta for my lunch this afternoon.  I’ve got to say that my own pesto is not shabby at all. I know this little jar is the authentic stuff, but I like mine much better.  I was surprised by how salty it tasted, and it didn’t seem very basil-y.  I promise by summer’s end that I’ll provide at least one pesto recipe.

Now the lavender syrup is quite lovely! At this moment,  I’m sipping on a glass of bubbly water with lavender syrup added.  It’s sweet and lightly floral.  It’s going to take me a while to use this bottle, so I won’t be making any in the near future. There is still plenty of time this year to make lavender syrup, so if you’d like to give it a try I’m going to direct you to the blog of a friend of mine, Tina Sams, the editor of The Essential Herbal magazine.