6/25/2010

Sorbet and Summer Nights

I'm always glad for an excuse to turn herbs from the garden into food for guests. When our friend, Flavie inquired if her parents, Jean-Marc and  Soulange Mirat could drop by the garden yesterday evening and bring Julie Sonveau, the manager of the Ozark Medieval Fortress, and Jean, one of the developers of the castle, I was excited. First, we don't get visitors from France very often. Second, we are always excited to get to visit with Jean-Marc and Solange. They're fellow "foodies" like me (they're former restaurateurs in France), and appreciate fresh things from the garden. And lastly, the garden probably looks at its best right now, so it was a chance to show off the plants in their prime.

With temperatures still in the lower 90s when they arrived at 6:00 p.m., they meandered through the garden, taking photos, tasting, smelling, talking, fanning. It was a pleasant reminder of why I love to garden, the chance to share it with friends. (Flavie, by the way, with her husband, Paul, own Reeds Spring Pizza Co.  Flavie designs all of my books and their covers, Paul's company, Creative Printing, prints them).

From Jean (I'm sorry I don't remember your last name) I learned that the simple castor beans we grow beside the garden, are cultivated extensively in France. The oil is used in the manufacture of C-11 and C-12 plastics, which are manufactured for use in fuel lines and high pressure air piping. He said that France manufacturers about 80% of the world's supply of those specialty plastics. Now, every time I look over the fence at my castor bean plants, I'll think of France and specialty plastics. I love learning new tidbits like that!

After looking at plants we retired to the deck overlooking the garden, to sample a few fresh tastes from yesterday's harvest. You probably recall my oft-repeated opinion,  "why garden, if you can't eat what you grow?" The "theme," for the evening, if there was one, was basil.

I used a bit of brie, wrapped in prosciutto, and that wrapped in a Thai basil leaf for one of the tastes. There were yellow and red cherry tomatoes, halved, with a little marble-sized piece of mozzarella in the center, and a basil leaf, held in place with the other half of the cherry tomato. And, in honor of The Herb of the Year, dill, I made a some lobster salad with dill, piled atop cucumber slices.

There were fresh blackberries and raspberries, picked from the garden yesterday, served with glasses of cold-pressed mint tea for a beverage. Julie Sonveau was given the responsibility of churning the Donvier sorbet maker to make the Blackberry-Basil Sorbet, shown above. (The recipe is in my book, Fabulous Herb and Flower Sorbets, one of my favorites for summertime). Basically it's freshly made blackberry juice, some lemon, sugar and about 6 fresh basil leaves. From start to finish, it took a couple of turns of the crank by Julie every 2 or 3 minutes and in about fifteen minutes, it was ready. I'd frozen the dishes beforehand (so it wouldn't melt in the 92 degree heat before we got it to our mouths). That went down well.

Remember Josh's cherry pitter in an earlier post, with him processing gallons of fresh cherries? And the cherry cordial he made from some? It's ready, and that was the next, and final, round of summer tasting. His cordial tastes like cherry pie, all the flavor, but not overly sweet and I think everyone enjoyed that, as well.

We visited about the progress that's going on at the castle (Ozarks Medieval Fortress). The first week of May I attended the grand opening and posted some photos here. Since then, lots of groups of visitors have been touring, taking part in the activities and fun. (Julie said the average visitor averages spending 4 hours, which speaks well for all the things they find to do there).

And tonight, paying honor to the daylily season, I made a daylily quiche for supper. Ingredients were 5 orange, double daylily flowers, garlic chives, French shallot bulbils (that's the bulbs at the top), some lemon basil, ham, cheese, a bit of brandy, a shot of hot sauce, 4 eggs and milk).
So, that wraps up the week. Tomorrow is open house in the garden for readers of my columns and blogs. If you would like the Blackberry-Basil Sorbet recipe, it's in my book, Fabulous Herb and Flower Sorbets. Happy summertime gardening!

2 comments:

Randy and Jamie said...

That all looks Dee-lish-us! And to think it came from your garden. How nice, sounds like you had a wonderful time. -- Randy

Kim said...

...Oh, I read this one day too late! Sorry to have missed the open house, especially if your garden's in top form. Someday...