Monday, May 18, 2009

Lemon Verbena Infused Vodka

In one of my favorite movies, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Professor Henry Jones (Sean Connery) has a great line. When all seems lost, he whips out an umbrella and sends a flock of birds into the enemies plane which causes it to crash.

"I suddenly remembered my Charlemagne: Let my armies be the rocks and the trees - and the birds in the sky."

With summer upon us in the Black Hills, I suddenly remembered my Charlemagne but it had nothing to do with rocks, trees, birds or sky.

Last fall, I infused some good vodka with the herb, lemon verbena from my garden. I carefully removed all the leaves, made sure they were clean and covered them with vodka. My concoction sat in mason jars for months. Around Christmas, I strained it and it was a dark brown and not appetizing at all. In fact, the nose was super strong -- like taking a whiff of straight vodka. And it was yucky brown color. So over the holidays I tried to get my friends to try it and did not have much luck.

Fast forward to spring! I found one of my three jars under the cabinet and it turned a pretty golden color so I decided to give it another try. The nose was subtle with a slight lemon scent. This could be the start of a wonderful friendship!

Michelle's Lemon Verbena Summer Tonic

1 shot of lemon verbena infused vodka
tonic water
splash of fresh lemon juice
splash of 7-UP

Fill a highball with ice. Add one shot of lemon verbena infused vodka. Fill almost to the top with tonic water and add a splash of fresh lemon juice and 7-UP. Stir. And enjoy.

Yes, summer is here.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The rolling greenhouse

This rolling greenhouse has come in very handy! There is a vinyl zip around cover that has kept the seedlings quite toasty. It's more like a test run this year. There are several herbs starting from seed as well as flowers from last years garden. I purchased some tomato seedlings as well as thyme and lemon verbena so just working on hardening them off and they'll go in this week.

The old timers say to plant your garden when there is no snow on Crow Peak. There are a few very small patches up there so with the nice weather this week, I should be ready.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Permaculture Gardening in the Black Hills

A great story in the Rapid City Journal today.

Imagine digging a hole three feet deep and filling it with newspaper and uncoated cardboard. Then adding manure and maybe some fireplace ash. After that you cover everything with dirt and plant your veggies and herbs. That's what a family in the Black Hills is doing and they call it permaculture gardening.

I am ready to give the concept a try!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Freezing and Defrosting in the Locavore Kitchen

The typical locavore is skilled and interested in all things having to do with growing and preserving food.  I fall into this category.  

Suddenly it is a necessity!  Our freezer in the garage blew a fuse and half of my hard work lay in defrosted disarray. So tonight, I move to action.  First, turning on SDPB Uncle Jim-o Jazz and pouring myself a glass of wine. Now, I can accomplish anything!!

I am a mad woman in the kitchen cooking everything that is in defrost mode. Fortunately everything was still cold but I had to toss out gallons of stock, broth and homemade soup.  (That was very sad). In my oven now are chicken breasts, a couple of Hutterite pot pies, some peppers I am roasting and something I am not EXACTLY sure what it is. It's some game bird that friends brought over which I did not (bad!) label.  I think it's a pheasant or maybe a grouse? Remember, this is South Dakota.  The 'wings' look like lobsters in a twisted way.  Anyway the critter is being roasted.

Ever being the optimist, it's a great time to clean out the freezer.  It's spring!  The nice thing is that I have herbs growing in the garden so while I on this mad cooking binge, I am thinking of all the quick meals I can now put together this next week.