Thursday, April 5, 2012

Foodie Friday: Herb Gardens and Herbed Vinegars

Kendall Lane Designs traditional landscape
traditional landscape design courtesy of Houzz

Imagine a warm, breezy April morning. You open the gate and step into the herb garden.  The air churns with spicy, tart aromas. Bees circle the lavender. Tarragon grows in a patch of sun, giving off the poignant scent of anise, Rosemary (for remembrance) grows in spiky heaps.  The basil is blooming. You brush your hands over the mint and imagine making sweet tea and jelly. You pinch a sprig of oregano--it will be perfect for flatbread pizza tonight. Don't forget a handful of dill for the potato salad.
A Classic Country White Garden traditional landscape

Herb gardens can be lush and formal, sprawling and weedy, or contained in pots. As my grandmother used to say, "The herbs taste the same."
Exterior traditional landscape
California Cottage Comfort  dining room
courtesy of Houzz

Photo: Rattlebridge's herb garden.
No matter if you grow your own herbs or buy them at the market, you can make flavored vinegars. This is an inexpensive, easy way to enhance flavor. Imagine spiking potato salad with chive-dill vinegar. Delicious!

How to Make Herbed Vinegar

1. Place herbs in a sterilized glass jar. Use a bamboo skewer to arrange herbs in the bottle.

2. Pour vinegar into a saucepan and heat gently to 80 degrees. Do not boil.

3. Place a funnel in the top of the jar and add vinegar. Don't be afraid to mix flavors.

4. Cap bottles. Steep in a sunlit window for two weeks. Gently turn bottles every day

5. Uncap bottles, remove herbs, and strain. Return vinegar to clean bottles.

6. Add a fresh herbal sprig and recap bottles.

Dill vinegar--add lemon zest
Tarragon--add chives and basil
Rosemary--add garlic (spear garlic with a bamboo skewer for easy removal).


Upcoming Event:
on the April 20th Foodie Friday.  A great giveaway!

Thank you for stopping by Foodie Friday today. If you are contributing a recipe to this week's linky party, locate the blue Inlinkz frog (below, left) and follow the instructions. You might notice a red "X" on your submission--only you can see the "X." It allows you to delete your link if you'd like to edit or change your photo. 
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  1. I love going out and watering the herbs early in the morning when everything is waking up...the scents and sounds are wonderful. Thank you for the herb vinegar information. I am going to try it!

  2. I am going to try an herb vinegar. I need to get some nice decorative bottles. Happy Easter xo

  3. The herb vinegar bottles look divine, and can be use as gifts. They are so beautiful!

  4. I still have yet to try herb vinegars at home and this year, when my herb pots are overflowing I must try it!

    I'm so excited to have won the giveaway - thank you!!!

    A very Happy Easter to you and your family, Michael!

  5. I am so excited to try this! I just bought herbs to plant in the garden today. Have a wonderful weekend!

  6. Congrats to the winners!!! I am going to try my hand at the herbed vinegars. What pretty gifts they will make!! Thanks for sharing and hosting. Happy Easter!!

  7. I was taken away by your lovely descriptions of walking through an herb garden and those amazing, inspiring photos - thank you for sharing these vinegar herb recipes - I just have the right herbs growing - all I need are the bottles! Thank you for being a gracious hostess,

  8. Hi Michael Lee,
    I am so excited to learn that I won Lori Wilde's new book The Cowboy Takes A Bride,I can't wait to get it, thank you so much!

    Your Herb Vinegar's look beautiful with the sunlight shining through the bottles. I just love a Vinegar Bottle sitting in the sunlight on my counter.

    I am sharing my Lemon Coconut Cake for the party today. Hope you have a wonderful Celebration Week End and thanks for hosting.
    Miz Helen

  9. You have a mouthwatering collection of vinegars! They looks just stunning in those shapely bottles!
    I am looking forward to harvesting my herbs for vinegars too! YUMMY!
    Thanks for hosting FF... the most delicious meme on the net!

  10. Will tell daughter to check this out as she is into growing herbs right now.
    Have a great weekend.

  11. Oh, I want the first two! I adore herb gardens! Lovely! Thank you for hosting!

  12. I love this post - beautiful photographs and lovely writing. I also love vinegar, but I've never thought to flavor it with herbs, This is something I must try!

  13. Oh I love making herb vinegars for Christmas gifts. This last year, I even mastered the art of dipping the bottles in wax to seal them. I have a few recipes for fruited vinegars which make really good vinaigrettes.
    My fave is a raspberry vinegar. I hope you and the Mister and Bandwidth and all of your loved ones have a beautiful and Blessed Easter. xxoo, Barb

  14. Happy Easter, ML! I am still trying to think of something good for the cooking party! It will happen!
    Thanks for hosting!

  15. Love to learn how to make Herb vinegar.

    Happy Easter!

  16. This is a beautiful post Michael Lee :)
    Thanks for hosting this party, and I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday

  17. I have never made my own herb vinegars but your recipes sound wonderful. There is nothing like fresh herbs! I've shared a recipe made with flavoured oils and vinegars made by a friend of mine in the Lake District. Happy Easter!

  18. All of my herbs are looking healthy and hearty! Happy Easter Weekend Michael-enjoy:@)

  19. Love the vinegars, seems so simple. Thank you so much for hosting. have a wonderful Easter. Diane

  20. Your vinegar looks just stunning in those bottles! I can't wait to give it a try. Thank you for being a wonderful hostess each week. Happy Easter to you and your family!

  21. love herbed vinegar! I linked up some recipes for Passover this week. I see a lot of Easter treats so I thought I'd introduce some yummy treats: Passover Chocolate Covered Matzoh, Passover Brownies and Passover Mandel Bread!

  22. The Rattlebridge herb garden is wonderful and I love your ideas for herbed vinegars! I never would have thought to put chives in with the tarragon, but they'd be a perfect compliment to each other. Thanks for hosting another great week of Foodie Friday, Michael Lee and Best Wishes for a Blessed holiday weekend!

    Congrats to all of the lucky winners! :~)

  23. I am so pleased to see my name among the winners. I will email you right away.

    Your vinegar presentations just blows me away. You certainly have an eye for style. My rosemary bush is ready for pruning and I see some vinegar in my future.

    I brought a "oh so good" Dutch Baby with Lemon Sugar to the party today. Great for Easter breakfast. I hope you have a wonderful Easter weekend and as always, thank you for hosting Foodie Friday.

  24. Thanks for hosting! I stop in every Friday but don't always link up! I love seeing your post and what others are posting.

    Anyhow I always forget about adding herbs to vinegar. Thanks for the reminder. I add them to EVOO, which I'm sure you do, too!

    I gave you two pins on Pinterest. One is for the vinegar herbs and the second is for your linky. I pinned the linky in my Blog with Link Parties Board.

    have a great weekend, susie

  25. Wow..I am so happy that I had the opportunity to win the great book!...

    Have copied that great vinegar recipe...and love the gardens that you presented...I did pin the first one as it is exactly what I want in my back yard!...Fabulous and the deer stay away from herbs!!..

    Have a truly joyous weekend!

  26. Your bottled vinegars look divine! My homemade gifts never look that professional!

  27. Beautiful ideas! My herb garden is finally happy since we've had much needed rain the past few months.

  28. Wish I had a recipe to link up (I'm ashamed to say I can only enjoy others' cooking!). But I did want to greet you Happy Easter!

  29. Thank You for hosting! your herb vinegars look wonderful :)

  30. Thanks for hosting! I shared a profile of schizandra berry, a brain-boosting, stress-fighting fruit.

  31. I have never tried this dish,Love to try very soon.Thanks for sharing this post.
    I liked your blog..Happy to follow you dear.Do visit my blog in your free time.

  32. Waving hi to you & Teeny! I've just cracked my book open and already my appetite is whet for MORE! My hubby is out-of-town on Wednesday so that means I get to read until I go blind :)

  33. Imagine my surprise when the book, "The Cowboy Takes a Bride" arrived in today's mail! We were away for the Easter holiday & thus, did not get to participate in this week's FF. I didn't even know I won!!!

    How delightful to get such an unexpected surprise! I recently was notified that my pre-ordered "a teeny bit of trouble" had been shipped & for a brief moment, I thought they had somehow made a mistake. Now I'll have TWO good books to keep me company in this lousy weather. Can you believe it is SNOWING right now??? YUCK!

    Thank you so much, ML & please thank Lori Wilde for me, as well?
    I'm off to make a hot cuppa tea & open her first page.


    p.s. Hope you had a delightful Easter!

  34. I love the new idead: herbed vinegar! I will try it.

  35. Beautiful blog. I just started following and I hope to come back and catch up on previous posts.

  36. You are so right...the addition of fresh herbs really can make a difference in any recipe. Thanks for the tips!
    And I can't wait to get your new book!


  37. Your house is beautiful! Wish my home has a flowering garden like what is on the photo. :)

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