Easy Chicken Oreganata for Two

Ingredients:
Two boneless chicken breasts
Five medium size white potatoes
One red bell pepper
Two medium size onions
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Powdered garlic
Lemon juice
Dried Oregano
Salt to taste
Directions:
1. Pour olive oil in a measuring cup and add the powdered garlic, lemon juice and dried oregano, stir and set aside.
2. Cut the chicken breast and potatoes in chunks, cut the onions and bell pepper and put in a baking pan.
3. Set oven for 350 degrees and the timer for one hour.
4. Drizzle the olive oil mixture over the chicken, potatoes, onion and pepper.
5. Put pan in the oven
6. After the hour, take about ten minutes to put the pan under the broiler in intervals of several minutes. During the ten minutes open the oven and stir the mixture so that the chicken and the potatoes are browned. You have to pay attention in these last several minutes so the ingredients are browned not burned.
7. Remove from oven and serve

Robison Herb Garden, Ithaca, New York

Robison Herb Garden, Ithaca, New York

Robison Herb Garden, Ithaca, New York

Chives

"Chives" by Jenna N. Johnson

“Chives” By Jenna N. Johnson

Recipe for Tomato Sauce

By Eleanor P. Langworthy

INGREDIENTS:
For meat and vegetarian sauce:
Fresh tomatoes
Olive oil
Garlic cloves
Light chicken broth
Carrots
Basil
For meat sauce:
Chopped beef
Pork Chops
Braggioli

Fresh ripe garden tomatoes from my garden (Plum tomatoes are best). If I want to make sauce for just one meal I choose about 10 ripe plum tomatoes and if they are not fully ripened, I place them on my window sill in the kitchen and leave them there until they are rosy red.

Start: Place a small amount of olive oil (about 3 tablespoons) in a sauce pan on low heat. Peel 2 or 3 large garlic cloves and place in the pan (still on low heat) until they turn golden brown.

Next: add cut- up in quarters the tomatoes but first remove the seeds. Put the seeds in a cup and set aside.

Next: strain the seeds using a tea strainer and press with a spoon so that the fluid around the seed goes into another cup. There isn’t much but it is sweet. Add that fluid to the quartered tomatoes on low heat.

Next: add a can of light chicken broth.

Next: add 3 to 4 large fresh basil leaves to broth, 2 small carrots. Let the tomatoes simmer until the skin of the tomatoes separate from the tomato. (You can remove some of that skin if after cooked you let it cool or, if you are in a hurry, just leave the skin on.) You can always add some more basil when the tomatoes have been fully cooked. The carrots absorb the acid and the sauce is sweet.

The above would be the vegetarian style sauce.

For a meat sauce, I have various methods but I advise that you always add carrots to any tomato sauce.

When I finish browning the garlic I remove the garlic and add chopped meat beef or a combination of pork and beef making sure it is separated and not one lump. I strain off all the oil from the pot then add the tomatoes, browned garlic and basil and simmer. You can always add more fresh basil when the sauce is almost done.

You can brown a pork chop, brown a braggiole and make more of a meat tasting sauce. By the way, pork also sweetens the sauce and seems to take out some of the acidity of the tomatoes (like carrots) but be sure to add carrots to the sauce. The sauce has to simmer longer to be sure the meat is tender enough to eat and is fully cooked.

When you sauce is fully done, put on low heat and start your spaghetti or other type of pasta

In a large pot, add water ¾ full. Add salt to the water and a tablespoon of olive oil (the macaroni will not stick to the bottom of the pot with the addition of olive oil.) When the water comes to a boil add your pasta and follow the instructions on the box. When the pasta is ready, pour it into a colander but save some of the macaroni water at the bottom of the pot.

In a pasta dish you pour some of the sauce at the bottom then add your cooked pasta. Then top it off with the rest of the sauce. For your meat sauce set aside your meat in another platter. For the chopped meat sauce just pour all over your pasta. Again, you can garnish your pasta with a little more fresh basil. Always sprinkle your grated Luccatelli cheese on any macaroni dish with no meat or with the meat sauce.

After your meal of spaghetti or other type of macaroni, you can serve the meat with a fresh tossed salad of your choice. Of course, a bottle of red wine adds to this fine Italian meal.

Braggioli is a very thin cut, round steak. On top of the flat steak, add minced garlic, chopped parsley and grated Italian cheese. Roll up the meat and tie it with a string and place in the pot to brown before adding your tomatoes.

Also depending on the type of macaroni that your use, you can always spoon in ricotta cheese. This is done mostly with Ziti or Twists forms of macaroni.

Oregano Recipes

Oregano Recipes

Homemade Pizza:

Use center slices of round sliced Italian Bread (although white bread can also be used)
Sliced tomatoes (plum or round)
Mozzarella Cheese (you can substitute Munster Cheese)
Olive oil
Garlic
Dried or fresh oregano

Spray baking pan with Olive Oil Spray or a thin layer of olive oil on pan
Place sliced Italian Bread on baking pan
Drizzle some olive oil on bread
Place finely chopped garlic clove on top of bread sparingly
Place slices (1-2) of Mozzarella on top of bread (buy the 1lb mozzarella already sliced)
Place thinly sliced tomatoes that fit on bread from one edge to the other
Sprinkle dried or fresh Oregano over the tomatoes.
Place in Oven at 425 degrees and watch for the cheese to melt and the crust of the bread to be toasted and remove from oven.

You can then salt to taste.

Served with a glass of red wine, this makes for a quick and delicious lunch.

Takes less than 1/2 hour from preparation to finish.

Salad or Appetizer

Iceberg or romaine lettuce
Large round or plum tomatoes
Garlic
Mozzarella preferable sliced but if whole you can slice it yourself
Olive Oil
Red wine vinegar

Chop lettuce in small pieces and place on luncheon dish
Place thinly slices of tomatoes on the bed of lettuce
Sprinkle finely chopped garlic over tomatoes
Sliced Mozzarella goes over the tomatoes and garlic
Sprinkle Dried or fresh Oregano right on top of tomatoes

You can substitute fresh basil on top of tomatoes instead of Oregano

Drizzle with Olive oil and red wine vinegar sparingly over everything

Salt to taste

Serve with a glass of red wine and sliced semolina bread for dipping for a quick and delicious lunch

Takes less than 1/2 hour from start to finish

Bruchetta

Bruchetta

Ingredients:

Italian bread (long loaf)
Cherry tomatoes
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Several cloves of garlic
Fresh basil
Fresh or dried oregano
Salt
Aged balsamic vinegar

Directions:

Cut loaf of bread in diagonal slices, about 1/2-inch thick

Drizzle olive oil in frying pan and gently heat.

Place bread slices in frying pan and toast each side until crisp

Set aside the bread

Cut cherry tomatoes in half

Remove seeds with a small measuring spoon and discard

Dice tomatoes

Mince garlic

Cut fresh basil leaves (You may fold a leaf over itself to obtain small pieces)

Combine ingredients in a small bowl and toss to mix, adding the balsamic vinegar, oregano, and salt to taste

Serve the mixture, allowing guests to spoon it over the toasted bread and eat as “finger food”

“Kaleidoscope” by Jenna N. Johnson

“Kaleidoscope” by Jenna N. Johnson

Peonies – An Ornamental Herb

Most authorities do not describe the Peony as an herb.  The writers who list the Peony as an herb do so because it was cultivated for the medicinal value of its roots and because it was named after Paeon, a physician to the Greek gods.

Peonies in Bloom

Peonies in Bloom

Nowadays, the hybrid, double Peony is noted as a plant whose flowers make a magnificent display in the spring garden.

The Peony is an herbaceous perennial that has erect stems and very large, heavy flowers.  Peonies must be staked, preferably with a support that will loosely encircle its 3 to 4 foot width.

Peonies generally bloom in May (June in the North Country) and here is how their flower starts in April

Peony Bud about to Bloom

Peony Bud about to Bloom

Once the Peony is ready to burst into flower, it is a show-stopper. Its petals are multi layered and its flower is almost impossibly large.

Peony Flower

Peony Flower

There are many reasons to have a Peony plant in your garden.

The hybrid Peony is available in flower colors that range from white cream to burgundy.

The Peony plant can be propagated by division of its roots if you wish to have more in your garden.

A Peony can prosper in many climates, growing well in Zones 2 to 8 and in the sun and partial shade.

                          Your Peony may bear blooms for a decade.

The Peony flower can be enjoyed in your garden, will decorate your home as a cut flower for up to a week and its dried petals add color to winter potpourri.

What Size Plant Heat Mat Should I Buy?

    

      The purchase of a plant heating mat should be based upon your needs as to size.  
 

Plant Heat Mat 20 1/2 inches by 13 1/2 inches

Plant Heat Mat 20 1/2 inches by 13 1/2 inches

 

How Many Seedlings Can I Start from Seed Indoors?

          The germination heat mats offered by North Country Herbs come in two sizes.  

          One mat is 20 1/2 inches long and 13 1/2 inches wide.  

          The other mat is 36 inches long and 16 inches wide.  

          When starting seeds indoors, the standard propagation tray that you are likely to place on a germination heat mat is 21 inches long by 11 inches wide.  If you use eight standard 9-cell inserts or seed the propagation tray itself, you can potentially grow 72 seedlings in one tray.

 

Our 20 1/2 inch by 13 1/2 inch Plant Heat Mat

          The 20 1/2 inch by 13 1/2 inch germination heat mat by Gro-Mat provides heat beneath one standard propagation tray.  This will allow you to start approximately 72 seedlings at a time.

 

Our 36 inch by 16 inch Plant Heat Mat

          The dimensions of the larger Gro-Mat will permit you to fit up to 3 standard propagation trays upon it side by side across the length of the mat.  Several inches of the propagation trays will not lie directly on the Gro-Mat but will receive the benefits of the ambient heat.  If you chose to purchase the larger plant heat mat, you can potentially start 216 seedlings at a time.  

 

What Size Germination Heat Mat Do I Need?

     If you are just beginning to learn how to germinate seeds indoors, you may wish to purchase the smaller propagation mat.  That size might be just the right fit for your home or apartment.

     But if you have the space, you may want to invest in the larger germination heat mat or several of the smaller size germination heat mats.  Gardeners learn how to start seedlings indoors on a tray-by-tray basis. Having the option of seeding more than one tray at a time will give you more opportunities to learn about the process.

     Now that you have the measurements and know about the relationship between the size of a standard propagation tray and the size of our plant heat mats, be sure to purchase the size plant heating mat that suits your needs.  Happy seeding from North Country Herbs!

 

Gardener’s Color Wheel

Seed catalogs are enchanting picture books that, no matter what your age, you can look at for hours, because — you are a gardener!

The appeal of the seed catalog lies with the colors of the flowers pictured on every page.  Just looking at those pictures, taking your eyes away from unrelenting tones of winter white and steel grey and naked bark, makes you want to purchase every flower seed offered for sale.

But perhaps you should put aside those catalogs and first look at a Gardener’s Color Wheel.

wheel_lg

If you have space for a colorful, small garden and not the penultimate flower farm, the colors of your flowers must fit within the borders of your garden beds.  So, you have to make choices.

This decision making is the most creative winter pastime of gardeners.   It is during the cold months the gardener allows herself to spend time to consider… weigh… remember… decide… and plan …colors.  

The resource then that should stay right beside your favorite seed catalog is a Gardener’s Color Wheel.  The Wheel will help you select flowers and foliage that will complement or, quite deliberately and beautifully, contrast with, other flowers and foliage.  The Color Wheel helps the gardener to realize the particular colors of her personal garden.

Our Gardener’s Color Wheel is made using two discs of water resistant cardstock coated in order to prevent the sun from fading the print and ink.

North Country Herbs offers the Gardener’s Color Wheel and other affordably priced garden tools that will be useful to you for many seasons. Using a Color Wheel allows you to bring the colors, now in your mind’s eye this winter, to come to life this spring