Friday, July 29, 2011

Edible Calendula for Color and Taste

I sow calendula seeds almost every summer because they are easy to grow, edible and last until a hard frost in the fall. This year I planted the seeds in July, and they'll be blooming in August through at least early October. I use the petals in herb vinegar, and salads, plus I cut some blooms to bring inside, but I leave most of them in my flower garden for their pretty colors. What I don't cut or harvest for using, I deadhead until late in the fall, then I allow the seeds to form. There are always plenty of seeds to dry and save for next year. I store them in envelopes and keep them in a basket with my other seeds.

I've found calendula grows best in full sun, with regular soil, and watering when it's extra dry. I don't fertilize, and they always do well. If you do add anything to the soil make sure it's organic, and don't use sprays if you plan on using the petals in recipes.

This is one of the salads I've made with calendula petals. It's delicious and especially pretty if you are having a tea or luncheon.

I used a mix of organic greens and lettuce plus:




cilantro and basil leaves, stems removed

First, I tossed the basil and cilantro with the greens. You could use other herbs as well, but I like these two together. I topped the greens with the sliced cucumber and tomato and put the carrots off the the side. I picked two large calendula blooms and carefully pulled the petals off, leaving the center because it's bitter. After the salads were on the plates I sprinkled them with the petals. I used a raspberry vinaigrette, but Italian dressing is good too.

On OFL we have tips and recipes for nasturtiums, which are also easy to grow:

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Summer Desserts for Hot Days

This week and last week has been hot and humid in Michigan. I broke down and made homemade pizza one of the days because everyone was tired of eating hamburgers, brats and hotdogs. We overbought for my son's graduation open house last weekend, and ended up with a lot leftover in the freezer. I'd much rather grill in the summer, but some days the heat has even made that uncomfortable. I have great respect for those of you who live in states where it's hot like this all the time.

I'm rambling a bit to get to the recipes for today. I was looking through my recipes for refrigerated desserts to make this week, and thought I would share a few of them.

Frozen Mint Dessert

25 Oreo cookies, or store brand
1/3 cup melted margarine
1/2 gallon mint chocolate chip ice cream
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
2 tbsp. butter
4 squares semi-sweet chocolate or 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Crush the cookies and add melted margarine. Press into a 13x19 pan and cool. Add the ice cream to the crust and place it in the freezer. Bring the sugar, evaporated milk, butter and chocolate to a boil in a saucepan. Set aside to cool completely. When cool pour it over the ice cream layer and put back in freezer until frozen. Serve.

Mandarin Dessert Salad

60 butter crackers, crushed
(Save out 1/4 cup for top)
1 stick margarine or butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1 (6 ounce)can frozen orange juice, thawed
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 8 ounce tub frozen whipped topping
2 small cans, mandarin oranges, drained

Mix the sugar and melted butter with the crushed crackers. Press into a 9x13 inch pan. Blend the milk with the orange juice, stir in whipped topping, then fold in oranges. Pour over the crust, sprinkle with the 1/4 cup crumbs. Chill until ready to serve (at least a few hours).

Frozen Lemon Mousse Cups

1 quart frozen vanilla yogurt, softened slightly
22 ounce can lemon pie filling
12 (2 1/2 inch) Foil cupcake liners

Spoon the yogurt into a large bowl; add the lemon filling. Beat until well blended. Spray the liners with no stick pan or baking spray. Spoon the dessert into the liners, and place in the freezer until firm (about 60 minutes). Garnish with whipped cream and a small slice of lemon. Makes 12.

Raspberry Dessert

1 purchased or baked pound cake
2 packages (10-12 ounces) frozen raspberries
2 tbsp. sugar
2 1/2 cup milk
2 small packages vanilla instant pudding
8 ounce thawed frozen whipped topping

Place slices of pound cake on the bottom of a 13x9 inch pan. Top with frozen berries, separating them as needed. Sprinkle with the sugar evenly. Whip together the pudding and the milk until smooth. Fold in one cup whipped topping. Mix gently. Spoon mixture over the raspberries. Top with remaining whipped topping. Chill until ready to serve.

On OFL we also have recipes for watermelon treats:


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sauces for Summer Desserts

Summer is a time of family gatherings, whether it's a wedding, family reunion, open house, or birthday. Many times a dish to pass is requested, and other times of year I often bring bread for casseroles. I love to bake desserts, but when it's 90 degrees and humid, heating up the oven is the last thing I want to do. Sauces are a great way to add a homemade touch to purchased pound cake, angel food cake, or ice cream. The recipes below are from an odd little cookbook I've had for many years- The Wine Cook Book by The Browns, Cora, Rose and Bob- published in 1960.

Almond Cream Sauce

4 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 cups scalded milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups blanched and shredded almonds
1/4 cup brandy or rum

Beat egg yolks with sugar until very light and gradually mix into hot milk in a double boiler. Stir until mixture begins to thicken, then remove from fire, beat in almonds and vanilla, and slowly add liquor. Fine for rice and bread puddings.

Cherry Sauce

1 pint pitted ripe cherries
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup port

Pound cherries to a mash, put in a pan with sugar, cinnamon and wine; cook until the cherries are tender, then press through a sieve and return to pan. Thicken with flour diluted with lemon juice, cook 5 minutes, remove from fire, stir in butter and serve.

Cream Sauce

1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons brandy, or sherry
few gratings of nutmeg

Mix sugar, wine and cream, place bowl in a pan of ice water, whip to a stiff froth, grate in a little nutmeg. Keep in cool place until wanted.

Kentucky Sauce

2 cups dark brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter
1 egg yolk
1 cup cream
2 tablespoons whisky

Cream butter, add sugar gradually, and beat in egg. Add cream, put in double boiler, continue beating, and cook over fire until mixture begins to thicken. Remove from fire and add whisky slowly.

Marmalade Sauce

1 cup marmalade
1 cup white wine

Heat marmalade with wine in a small saucepan over a gentle fire. Stir constantly until heated, then strain, and serve hot or cold.

On OFL I have an article with fruit salad recipes that are also great for potlucks: