Wednesday, April 19, 2006

garden post

I've spent part of my day enjoying the outdoors, spreading mulch and weeding out the rest of the herb/fruit garden. Steve has been working on my tree house and I'm so thrilled I cannot even describe how beautiful it is. Wow Wow Wow!

The lemon balm in the garden was obviously very happy with it's surroundings. It spread like crazy. I have seven pots ready to give away to friends and neighbors.

Some recipes to go along with the lemon balm:

Breakfast tea: 2 tsp. chopped leaves added to 1 cup boiling water steep 5 to 10 min. strain add honey and, or lemon.

Chicken with Lemon Balm & Vegetables:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 cups fresh lemon balm leaves
1/2 cup sliced red onion
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup coarse mustard
1 tbls. Worcestershire sauce
Juice of 2 lemons
1 tbls. olive oil
1 tbls. butter or margarine

Marinate the chicken breasts in the lemon juice for 1-2 hours, set aside. Heat the butter, or margarine, and oil in a large skillet. Sauté the mushrooms and red onion just until tender, then set aside. Add the chicken and lemon juice to the pan, cover and cook over low-medium heat 15-20 minutes, turning once, until lightly browned. Remove the chicken and keep warm. And the wine, mustard and Worcestershire sauce to the pan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until the sauce thickens. Return the chicken and vegetables to the pan. Layer the lemon balm leaves on top of the mixture and continue to simmer until the leaves are just wilted. Serve at once over a hot bed of rice.

Lemon Balm Vinaigrette:
1 Tbsp. shallots, minced
2 Tbsp. lemon balm, minced
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
6 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
4 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. brown sugar
8 Tbsp. vegetable oil
Mix first 7 ingredients together, then slowly blend in the oil. Mix well before serving. This is delicious on salads, especially fish or chicken salads. You can also marinate chicken or fish piece in this mixture before cooking. After cooking, serve the vinaigrette as a sauce. Makes about 2/3 cup.

Lemon Balm Tea Biscuits:

1 c Butter
1 c Honey
3 Eggs
3 c Flour
3 ts Baking powder
1 tb Milk
2 ts Lemon juice
4 Sprigs fresh lemon balm, chopped

Thoroughly cream the butter and honey. Add eggs and beat well. Add the dry ingredients, then the milk, flavoring, and lemon balm. Drop by spoonfuls on an ungreased baking sheet and bake 8 to 10 minutes at 375 F.

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