Wednesday, February 25, 2015

"Mexican Oregano" is just a common name for the two herbs listed below.


There is lots of discussion about "Mexican Oregano"!  Here is some information that I have compiled! 


Well, "Mexican Oregano" is just a common name for the two herbs listed below.  There is at least one other herb that is referred to as Mexican Oregano, but as far as I understand, it is not considered a culinary herb and it does not grow well in Texas! 


Poliomintha longiflora and Lippia graveolens are the ones most commonly grown as "Mexican Oregano" here in Texas with P. longiflora being slightly hardier than the L. graveolens.  Find information about both below.

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The P. longiflora is more attractive with the light mauve-pink, tubular flowers that hummingbirds love, and it stays smaller growing to about 3'. I have found that it can take a little more humidity and lower temperatures than the L. graveolens. It is considered to have the hotter taste of the two and is used in Mexican cooking as is the L. graveolens. It likes full sun but can tolerate partial sun during the afternoons.


Botanical Name
Poliomintha longiflora
Common Name
Mexican Oregano
Attribute
Perennial
Cultural Requirements
Full sun to part shade. Low water usage.
Mature size, Spacing
Ht: to 3' or so, 40" wide. Woody shrub.
Other Information
Light pink, tubular flowers cover this shrubby plant during the warm weather. Although not a true oregano, the narrow shiny green leaves are full of real oregano flavor. Dries well.
Courtesy of The Herb Cottage http://theherbcottage.com/

Mexican oregano (Poliomintha longiflora) is a strong-smelling plant popular in Mexico and Texas. Excellent for hot, humid areas, this woody shrub grows 3 feet tall. The small green leaves yield an essential oil similar to that of oregano and are used in cooking. Its tubular flowers of white to lavender blue attract hummingbirds.


South of the Border: Mexican Herbs for Texas
By Ann McCormick


Mexican Oregano
If you have room for just one native herb, then Mexican oregano (Poliomintha longiflora) is your best choice. The leaves of this shrubby herb are a somewhat spicy replacement for garden oregano. When substituting, reduce the amount in your recipe to about two-thirds of garden oregano.

Mexican oregano likes full sun but will also grow in partial shade. This graceful perennial provides lovely color through summer and into fall with tubular white, pink and lavender flowers. It generally reaches 3 feet. In my shade garden, however, it is prostrate, growing no higher than about 10 inches. Although native to the drier regions of Texas, it can adapt to the humid gulf area. It can also be grown in containers, where it will delight you with a cascade of showy flowers.

Mexican oregano (Poliomintha longiflora) is doing very well with minimal water, and it's covered in the pinky-purple flowers it's known for. This is an underused plant. It has great flavor, is evergreen during the winter in our part of the state, and flowers during the hottest part of the summer.
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The L. graveolens is not as pretty as the P. longiflora, with small yelow-white flowers and growing to a lanky 5', but in my humble opinion, it has a better spicy oregano flavor than the P. longiflora. It is closely related to Aloysia triphylla (lemon verbena) which was once classified as Lippia citriodora. It likes full sun and well-drained, sandy soil and hot climates. I finally lost mine after 5 years. I think it was because it wasn't planted in full sun.


Botanical Name
Lippia graveolens
Common Name
Mexican Oregano
Attribute
Tender Perennial
Cultural Requirements
Full sun to part shade. Low water usage.
Mature size, Spacing
Ht: 4' to 5'. Shrubby in form.
Other Information
Native of Mexico. Very pungent oregano flavor and aroma. Very tasty in salsa. Long lasting flavor when dried.


It's a slender aromatic shrub or small tree, whose pubescent (felty) branches bear rounded to obtuse, bluntly serrated leaves. Fragrant flowers are yellowish or white with a yellow eye and occur throughout the year, especially after rains.

Mexican Oregano (Lippia) lippia graveolens Oregano, Mexican (Lippia graveolens) This is probably the better known of the "Mexican Oreganos" in this country. Actually a relative of Lemon Verbena, this grows as a small shrub, reaching 3-5 feet in one season in Zone 5. Much of the oregano used commercially in the U.S. is actually this one. North of zone 8 it should be grown as a tender perennial

Both of these Mexican Oreganos are tender perennials, growing in zones 9-11, and can be propagated from cuttings and are well worth growing though here in south Texas.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Days like today, make for perfect "soup weather"!



It's cold and rainy here today! Days like today, make for perfect "soup weather"! I was looking for some recipes, and found this one by Epicurious! The following recipe is courtesy of website:

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/butternut-squash-and-sage-soup-with-sage-breadcrumbs-241346

Butternut Squash and Sage Soup with Sage Breadcrumbs recipe



Butternut Squash and Sage Soup with Sage Breadcrumbs Bon Appétit | February 2008

Deborah Madison

Yield: Makes 6 servings

ingredients

Soup:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
  • 4 cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled seeded butternut squash
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 5 to 6 cups Chicken Stock or 5 to 6 cups purchased organic chicken broth

Breadcrumbs:

  • 2 crustless slices fresh whole grain wheat bread, torn
  • 4 teaspoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage

preparation


For soup:

Melt butter with oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, parsley, and sage; sauté until onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Add squash and coarse salt; sauté until squash softens and onions are golden, about 6 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Add 5 cups stock; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until squash is very soft, about 25 minutes. Cool slightly.

Working in batches, puree soup in blender, allowing some texture to remain. Return soup to pot. Thin with stock, if desired. Season with pepper and more salt, if desired. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and chill. Rewarm before serving.


For breadcrumbs:

Place bread in processor; blend until fine crumbs form but some slightly coarser crumbs remain. Cook butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until golden, about 2 minutes. Add breadcrumbs and sage. Cook until crumbs are crisp, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. DO AHEAD: Can be made 4 hours ahead. Let stand uncovered at room temperature.

Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs.

Epicurious.com © Condé Nast Digital, Inc. All rights reserved.

 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

"Savory, Herb of the Year 2015" by Cindy Meredith


Winter Savory in the foreground and Summer Savory in the background.
Photo by Linda Turner Collins



Hey Herbies!

We had a great turn out yesterday for Cindy's program on "Savory, Herb of the Year 2015". Next month Cindy Meredith and Ruth Hoese are presenting a program on the book The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World’s Great Drinks

Sake began with a grain of rice. Scotch emerged from barley, tequila from agave, rum from sugarcane, bourbon from corn. Thirsty yet? In The Drunken Botanist, Amy Stewart explores the dizzying array of herbs, flowers, trees, fruits, and fungi that humans have, through ingenuity, inspiration, and sheer desperation, contrived to transform into alcohol.

You won't want to miss this upcoming program Wednesday, March 11, 2015 at 10:00, location ACISD Maintenance Department (Formerly Rockport Elementary), 619 N. Live Oak Street, Room 14, Rockport, Texas.

Also be sure to check out Rockport Herbies Blog http://rockportherbies.blogspot.com for lots of good gardening information. Cindy, Ruth and I try to keep it updated with articles. 
 
Here is an article about savory by Cindy Meredith: 

Also here are a few sites for you to check out about herbs.


 



 

 
We are an open group and encourage everyone to come and invite others to learn about the fascinating world of herbs.

Come and learn everything you ever wanted to know about herbs. Did you know that there are over 2,000 herbs and that roses are herbs too? And did you know that many of our Texas Native Plants are herbs also? Herbs have been used for centuries for not only culinary purposes, but also for medicinal uses, cosmetics, cleaning solutions, clothing (one of which is Gossypium cotton), building supplies, dyes. arts and crafts.

Our herb study group was founded in March 2003 and meets the second Wednesday of every month at the ACISD Maintenance Department (Formerly Rockport Elementary), 619 N. Live Oak Street, Room 14, Rockport, Texas at 10:00 a.m. to discuss all aspects of using and growing herbs including the historical uses of the herbs and tips for successful propagation and cultivation. We are open to the public. Some members of the group are available as speakers to other audiences, so please contact us if you need a speaker to present an herb program.

The Rockport Herb & Rose Study Group, founded in March 2003, is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to increasing public knowledge and awareness about herbs.

In the meantime,
Great Gardening,

Linda


Friday, January 23, 2015

LINDA'S ROASTED BEETS ON SAUTÉED BEET GREENS WITH POACHED EGGS

 
I have always had the Midwest Pickled Beets which are just OK.  When I discovered that I had gallbladder problems, I researched and found that beets really can help. My hubby and I love this beet recipe, although only a couple of my family members like it.  They just don't know what tastes good! 
 
BEETS ARE GOOD FOR YOU! Beets and their foliage are good sources of folate, manganese, potassium, fiber, vitamin C, iron, copper, phosphorus, and tryptophan. They have one of the highest sugar contents of all vegetables, but one cup of boiled beets only contains about 75 calories. Betaine and betacyanin, both found in abundance in beets, proffer several health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activity.
 
 
LINDA'S ROASTED BEETS ON SAUTÉED BEET GREENS WITH POACHED EGGS

Ingredients:

4 beets, roasted

4 bunches beet greens

½ sweet yellow onion, roughly chopped

3 – 4 cloves crushed garlic

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar to taste

Salt & Pepper

4 eggs

*Dash hot sauce (Optional)

*Sprouts (optional)

**Hollandaise sauce (Optional: Can make home made or buy packaged Hollandaise sauce.)

Directions:
Cut greens off of the beets leaving about 1” of stem on the beet and scrub the beets. Then chop stems and greens and set aside. Toss beets in olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in 350° oven until done, about 45 minutes, or you can roast them on the grill. After beets are done remove from oven, cool a little and cut off the root and stems, peel them, then cover and keep warm. Chop right before plating.

In a skillet add olive oil and heat to med high heat. Sauté onion and garlic in the olive oil until translucent. Add beet stems and greens, Balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and sauté until tender. Add dash of hot sauce (optional).

While greens are sautéing, poach four eggs. I use a wok with about a teaspoon of white balsamic vinegar added to the water. Remove eggs and drain on a paper towel.

Plate:
Arrange greens on plate; add chopped roasted beets on top of greens. Top greens and beets with poached eggs.

*Optional:
•Can add sprouts on top of poached eggs.
•*Can top poached eggs with Hollandaise sauce

The following Hollandaise sauce recipe is courtsey of website: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2013/04/foolproof-2-minute-hollandaise-recipe.html

**Foolproof 2-Minute Hollandaise

Yield:makes about 1 1/2 cups
Active time:1 minute
Total time:2 minutes
 
Ingredients
  • 1 egg yolk (about 35 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon water (about 5 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice from 1 lemon (about 5 grams)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 stick butter (8 tablespoons, about 112 grams)
  • Pinch cayenne pepper or hot sauce (if desired)

Procedures

  1. Combine egg yolk, water, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt in the bottom of a cup that barely fits the head of an immersion blender. Melt butter in a small saucepan over high heat, swirling constantly, until foaming subsides. Transfer butter to a 1 cup liquid measuring cup.
  2. Place head of immersion blender into the bottom of the cup and turn it on. With the blender constantly running, slowly pour hot butter into cup. It should emulsify with the egg yolk and lemon juice. Continue pouring until all butter is added. Sauce should be thick and creamy. Season to taste with salt and a pinch of cayenne pepper or hot sauce (if desired). If you don't have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender slowig pouring the melted butter.  Serve immediately, or transfer to a small lidded pot and keep in a warm place for up to 1 hour before serving. Hollandaise cannot be cooled and reheated.
     

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Information for "HEALTHY WINTER GREENS & HOW TO PREPARE THEM"


Cindy Meredith, proprietor of The Herb Cottage http://theherbcottage.com/ located in Hallettsville, Texas, presented a program and cooking demonstration and tastings "HEALTHY WINTER GREENS & HOW TO PREPARE THEM" for our January 14, 2015 program.  Everyone loved the presentation and food samples. 

For some recipes, check out Cindy's January 2012 Newsletter Gardening in Winter at website:  http://www.theherbcottage.com/1-12_winter_garden.html


The following is more information about these wonderful greens! 

The following information is found at website: http://eatlocalgrown.com/article/11324-how-to-cook-leafy-greens.html/?c=sfm



 
 

Why We Should All Be Eating More Leafy Greens And 20 Ways To Cook Them.




Leafy greens are one of the most nutritious, inexpensive and easy to cook real foods! They're also very tasty and one of the simpler things to cook. Leafy greens are available for a large part of the year in one form or another and are usually available at most farmers markets for great prices.

Below you find some great recipes, tips and nutritional facts for leafy greens!

The Quick Lowdown

  • NUTRITIOUS- Lots of nutrients in just one serving! Vitamins, essential minerals, fiber and much more.
  • VERSATILE- Easy to add to lots of different recipes. Like smoothies for breakfast, salad at lunch, sauteed at dinner.
  • DETOX- High levels detoxifying, anti-inflammatory, and cancer fighting compounds. 

Leafy Greens Nutritional Facts


Not many foods can compare to the high nutritional value of leafy greens. Researchers are finding that eating your greens may be even more important than previously imagined. In putting together this article I found lots of quotes that stated "it was common for our ancient ancestors to eat up to six pounds of leaves per day". I could not find a accredited source for the quote but I can see that it makes sense. Recent research shows that a gene that is essential for producing critical immune cells in your gut, responds to the food you eat—specifically leafy green vegetables (Dr. Mercola).

We now know that these greens contain an array of antioxidants and other disease-fighting compounds. Researchers also believe that these vegetables play an important role in controlling food allergies, inflammatory diseases and obesity, and may even prevent the development of bowel cancers (Walter and Eliza Hall Institute).

Here's a nutritional breakdown of the top readily available leafy greens:

Kale


  • Excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K
  • High in Calcium (for a vegetable)
  • Also supplies Folate and Potassium

Collard Greens


  • Excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K
  • Good source of Folate, Manganese, and Calcium
  • Cancer preventatvive glucosinolates (glucoraphanin, sinigrin, gluconasturtiian, and glucotropaeolin)
  • Similar in nutrition to Kale but more chewy with a stronger taste

Swiss Chard


  • Excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K
  • Good source of Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium, Iron and Vitamin E
  • At least 13 different Polyphenol Antioxidants, including Kaempferol and Syringic Acid
  • Unique source of Phytonutrients called Betalains (provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support)

Turnip Greens


  • Excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K
  • Good source of Folate, Manganese, Calcium, Copper, Vitamin E and Vitamin B6
  • Bitter taste linked to high Calcium (4x more than cabbage, 2x more than mustard greens)
  • High glucosinolate content (phytonutrients with cancer-preventing properties)

Spinach


  • Excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K
  • Good source of Manganese, Folate, Iron, Vitamins C, B2, B6 and E
  • Showed evidence of significant protection against the occurrence of aggressive prostate cancer.
  • Glycoglycerolipids help protect the lining of the digestive tract from damage — especially damage related to unwanted inflammation.

Beet Greens


  • Excellent source of vitamins A, C, E and K
  • Good source of Folate, Pantothenic Acid, Phosphorus, Zinc, Vitamins B6
  • Valuable source of Lutein/Zeaxanthin (good for eye health)

    How to Choose Leafy Greens

    When choosing your greens, the number one rule is to look for leaves that are crisp. You want to hear a slight snap when you crack the stems. If they are wilted, soggy, or slimy, keep looking. Ideally, they have been stored in a cool place but watch out for greens stored in ice. Greens are loaded with water. Ice can crystallize the water and the greens may end up mushy by the time you get them home.
    The leaves should smell fresh and, well, really green!
    Color is also important. If you have a choice, pick the darkest leaves. Don't worry about a few brown spots, that's perfectly normal, especially at the farmers markets.  However, if the edges are consistently brown throughout all the leaves you may want to pass.  Last but not least, is smell. The leaves should smell fresh and, well, really green!
NOTE: Non-organic greens can be very high in pesticides. This is one of those items that are definitely worth buying organic. I'm assuming that because you are an eatlocalgrown.com reader, you know how important it is to buy from a local grower when possible. Make sure your growers are practicing sustainable farming practices and not using heavy chemical pesticides and herbicides. If buying from a local is not an option, then make sure to choose organically-certified greens at the grocery store. (read more about Local vs Organic)

How to Cook Leafy Greens

A lot of people (me included) love the taste of bitter greens. I especially like to pair them as a side dish with a rich, fatty main course like a grass-fed rib eye, or a hearty lamb stew. The bitter greens cut through the fattiness of the main course and bring a nice balance to the plate. But there's also many ways to temper the bitterness of leafy greens by adding golden raisins for sweetness or some toasted pine nuts or sesame seeds for richness. This can completely transform the dish and if you get creative you'll find something that even the pickiest of eaters will love.

There's many ways to temper the bitterness of leafy greens
On the more sturdy greens like Kale and Collards you'll probably want to remove the leaves for the stalks. I do this for Swiss Chard as well. You can cut the stalks away or just rip the leaves off. The stalks can be used for stocks, or in the case of Swiss Chard I just cut them up into bite size pieces and saute them for about 5 minutes to make them tender before adding the greens to the pan.
 

LEAFY GREEN RECIPES

Here's a great collection of recipes that we found at website: www.eatingwell.com 

Beet Greens Recipes

Sometimes beets in the market have beautiful, unblemished,...
The entire beet plant—roots, stems and greens—can be used...
This root vegetable stew is flecked with sausage and topped...

Chard Recipes

Acorn squash’s natural shape makes it just right for...
Fragrant lemon zest, briny olives and salty feta balance...
Tangy green olives, sweet currants and creamy goat cheese...
In this one-skillet supper, we toss dark leafy greens,...

Collard Greens Recipes

Antioxidant-rich collard greens and fiber-packed black-eyed...
Here we’ve combined two favorite Southern side dishes—grits...
Jamaican pepperpot soup is usually a long-simmered...
This homey pasta dish uses pancetta (Italian bacon) in the...

Kale Recipes

This boldly flavored spin on Hoppin' John replaces...
A stunning main course for the holidays, this ginger-...
Serve as a side with a steak or pork chops or set a poached...
Kale is matched up here with white beans and chunks of lean...
Kale becomes melt-in-your-mouth tender in this recipe....

Spinach Recipes

EatingWell's updated version of creamed spinach has a...
Like many spinach salads, this one features lots of chopped...
This take on the classic bacon-wrapped appetizer uses...
Restaurants all over Singapore have chile crab on their...
Frilly layers of phyllo dough surround the festive spinach...