Thursday, January 21, 2010

Reader's Garden Question & Recipe

Today I have a question from a reader who is wondering about a plant, and a recipe to share. As always, if you have a question please let us know!

Will cattle eat trumpet vine if planted on a fence and if so will it hurt them? Thank you for your time. ~Karen

It looks like it is not poisonous to cattle, but if you do an online check you'll find some sources that say it is. I think the confusion comes from people speaking about different plants. Campsis radicans is what I know as trumpet vine or trumpet creeper. The picture on the left is the plant I did research on. I could find no reference to it being poisonous to cattle or horses or mention of it being eaten. They all said about the same as this snippet:

People are reported to react on contact with trumpet-creeper. It is doubtful that animals are affected. ~ University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine

If you are still doubtful you could call or email the University Extension office for your state. They always have information on this type of thing. The plant is known for causing some people with allergies or sensitive skin to develop a rash if they handle it.

Readers will remember, Catherine, our resident Herb Lady who shared herb recipes and tips with us for years in the Old Fashioned Tips newsletter. She sent me this wonderful recipe last week and I wanted to share it with you all. You can visit her at her blog, Edible Herbs, Flowers & Other Edibles.

This idea popped into my head one day several years ago when I was grilling veggies for dinner, and I thought "boy these would be good layered with cheese on a sandwich" ~Catherine

Grilled cheese sandwiches are the kind of homey, comfort food that just plain makes you feel good. The addition of grilled eggplant (good for you,leave the skin on) and/or sweet peppers and herbs (in alternate layers with the cheese) makes this a satisfying meal. Doing the low-carb thing? Grill Portobello mushrooms instead of buns or bread for the "wrapper."

1 Sweet bell pepper, halved, cored and seeded, and each half pressed flat

1 Small eggplant, sliced length-wise or sandwich length, approx 1/4 inch thick

6 Ounces cheese of your choice (try Swiss, Gruyere or Colby for a change), thinly sliced

French, rye or wheat bread (or Portobello mushrooms)

Olive oil

1/2 Cup approximate fresh basil leaves, rinsed and dried

First Step:
Lightly brush eggplant strips and peppers with olive oil. Sear vegetables 1 minute each side on grill or in pan, then cook, turning often until desired doneness. If using Portobello mushrooms instead of bread for the "buns," grill mushrooms in the same manner.

Second Step:
Lightly brush bread with olive oil and assemble sandwiches, alternating layers of vegetables, cheese, and basil leaves beginning and ending with cheese. Toast sandwiches on grill or in pan, turning at least once, until cheese is just melty.

Serve and enjoy!

On OFL we have more eggplant recipes and tips:


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Snow Fun 2007




Tips for great soup & bean tips

On Friday I shared some yummy bean soup recipes with you. This week, I wanted to share a couple of articles with great information about both beans and soup!

The first one has tips on storing, sorting, and soaking beans to get them ready for cooking. The article also has several recipes referenced! To read the article, go to Bean Tips on Alicia's.

The other article tells you what to do if you add too much salt, want to thicken your soup, explains a bouquet garni, and more. To read the article, go to Soup Tips on Annie's. There are several recipes listed on this one as well.

If you would like to try your hand at making cream soups, we have some great tips and recipes on Old Fashioned Living here.

Enjoy :)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

More Good Housekeeping During 1944

Winter is the time of promise because there is so little to do-or because you can now and then permit yourself the luxury of thinking so. ~Stanley Crawford

Last week I shared lunch ideas from my copy of The Good Housekeeping Cook Book, today I wanted to share beverage ideas. Remember, 1944 was near the end of WWII, so can you imagine how strapped for cash and stressed out everyone must have been? I like thinking of what was happening during the time period of vintage cookbooks while I'm reading them over.

When Sugar Is Scarce

To help you save sugar when scarce, many of the drink recipes in this chapter include directions for replacing part of the sugar with white or dark corn syrup. In using honey for sugar, try substituting 3/4-1 cup of honey for each 1 cup of granulated sugar. If too sweet or not sweet enough, adjust the amount to suit taste.

Dinner Punch

1 cup hot tea
1 tbsp. minced mint
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup Sugar Syrup *see below
few grains salt
Rind 1 cucumber, cut in long strips
1 1/2 cups grape juice
1 12 ounce bottle ginger ale (1 1/2 cups)
1 12 bottle carbonated water
Orange and lemon slices

Pour the hot tea over the mint. Add lemon juice, syrup, salt and cucumber rind. Let stand until cool, then strain and chill. Just before serving, add grape juice, ginger ale and water. Pour into a pitcher half full of ice. Garnish with fruit slices and mint if desired. Makes 6 1/2 cups before adding ice.

Sugar Syrup

3 cups granulated sugar
3 cups water

Combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil, while stirring until sugar is dissolved. Cover and boil five minutes, without stirring. Cool. Pour into clean jar, cover, and store in the refrigerator for future use in beverages. Makes about 4 1/3 cups sugar syrup.

Orange Lime Fizz

2 cups orange juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
12 sprigs mint. chopped
4 tbsp. lime juice
1 12 ounce bottle chilled carbonated water

Heat 1 cup of orange juice to the boiling point. Add the sugar and mint. Cool, covered; then strain, and add remaining 1 cup orange juice and the lime juice. Just before serving, add the carbonated water and ice. Makes 3 3/4 before adding ice.

Raspberry Mint Cooler

1 cup raspberry jam
3/4-1 cup minced fresh mint
4 cups water
1/2 cup lemon juice

Combine jam, mint and 2 cups of the water. Boil 3 minutes. Let stand 1 1/2 hrs. Strain. Add lemon juice and remaining 2 cups water. Carbonated water may be substituted if desired for the regular water. Serve well iced. Serves 4.