Yes, your gardens can be BOTH pretty and productive, and often times the sunniest spots in our yards are the front yards. So why not mix and mingle some plants into your landscape that are functional/edible? Here are some ideas…
Herbs plants are not only easy to grow and fragrant, but they blend beautifully into your gardens. Grow several types of BASIL, and don’t skip the purple leafed varieties that are particularly decorative. FENNEL will add a touch of whimsy, height and a wispiness that will add movement to the garden.
SAGE is so easy to grow, and its mounding shape make it the perfect front-row ornamental. Add some tricolor sage as well for the pink tinges. An assortment of THYME softens the garden, and many of the low growing varieties like a lemon thyme work well in front of taller basil plants.
(I know, I know—one or two 50°F days and you’re ready to go—but Mother Nature will surely remind us with some “you shouldn’t have planted those yet” frost before end-of-May that she is in charge!)
*1 Puff pastry sheet
*Robert Rothschild Farm Raspberry Honey Mustard Pretzel Dip
*2 oz. Prosciutto, thinly sliced
*12 Asparagus spears
*Salt and pepper to taste
Thaw puff pastry and roll out sheet onto cutting board. Brush Raspberry Mustard Pretzel Dip onto puff pastry sheet.
Cover with one layer of the thinly sliced prosciutto. Using a very sharp knife, slice into thin strips about 1/2 in wide. Wrap each strip in a spiral around each asparagus spear. (Make sure very end of asparagus is cut off to remove hard stalk).
Place onto parchment lined baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Bake in 400 degrees F oven for 12-15 minutes. Yields 12 asparagus puffs.
Recipe courtesy of Robert Rothschild Farm
1/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon salt
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup cottage cheese
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 1/4 cups flour
1 Tablespoon minced onion
2 Tablespoons melted butter
2 1/2 teaspoon dill weed
1 Tablespoon salt or sugar
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
Sprinkle yeast over warm water and set aside. Heat cottage cheese until just warm then add to a mixing bowl. Stir in sugar, onion, 2 Tablespoons butter, dill weed, salt, soda, egg and yeast mixture. Add flour to form a stiff dough. Knead several times on a lightly floured flat surface. Cover and let dough rise until doubled. Punch down, divide into 2 halves. Place each in a greased loaf pan and let rise until doubled again. Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with the salt or sugar depending on your sweet tooth! Bake at 350° F for 30-35 min.
I adore angel food cakes...they're light and airy and make the perfect canvas for seasonal fruit, fresh herbs and a large (or small) dollop of freshly whipped cream.
When it comes to actually making angel food cakes at my home, my husband, John, is the far better baker of these delicacies than I. His are always billowy and crusty on top, with a soft texture and fabulous crumb...what can I say, the man knows how to whip those egg whites to perfection!
Not to be outdone, I do occasionally "gussy it up" and make an angel food cake so flavorful and exquisite ~ one that sounds "girly" but isn't ~ that even stops the guys in their tracks.
Intrigued? Gather up that remaining fresh basil on the porch (purple or sweet) and some organically grown rose petals (being sure they're organically grown) to infuse a sweet aroma and flavor and heat that oven.
If you feel like splurging, serve this cake with warm vanilla custard. Oh my!
Fresh from the Garden Angel Food Cake
1 cup sifted cake flour
1/2 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups egg whites (about 12 large eggs), room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
3 Tablespoons chopped purple basil or sweet (regular) basil
1 cup chopped organically grown rose petals
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, confectioners' sugar and salt.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy. Add the vanilla extract and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the granualted sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, until glossy, stiff peaks form and the sugar dissolves. [To be sure that the sugar has dissolved, rub the beaten whites between your fingers. They should not feel granular.]
Gently fold the flour mixture into the egg white mixture in 4 batches. When the last bit of flour mixture is to be folded in, add the basil and rose petals.
Gently spoon the batter into an ungreased 10" tube pan. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and invert, allowing to cool completely in the pan. When the cake is cool, run a thin knife between the cake and the pan. Turn out onto a plate and serve. Makes 8 servings.
In the mood for a glaze? Combine 1 cup sifted confectioners' sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 to 2 Tablespoons milk. Add the milk gradually until it's of a spreading consistency. Glaze the cake and garnish with additional organic rose petals.
Recipe Courtesy of Chef Bev Shaffer
Makes 4 side dish servings
5 cups torn mixed greens
½ cup halved yellow or red cherry tomatoes
3 Tablespoons snipped fresh mint
2 ounces thinly sliced fresh mozzarella
¼ cup Greek olives, pitted (optional)
2 Tablespoons dry white wine
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Gently toss together the mixed greens, tomato halves, mint and mozzarella in a large mixing bowl. If desired, add olives.
Stir together wine, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Pour dressing over salad mixture; toss gently. Serve immediately with fresh baguette slices.
Recipe courtesy of Chef Bev Shaffer