A new blogging event has just launched and this time, it’s a fun, free for all celebration of Summer’s bounty! Started last Summer by Margaret Roach of Away to Garden and Deb Puchalla, which was called Food Fest, lovers of everything fresh, delicious, and/or from the garden shared ideas and recipes from across the globe. Last summer’s event was a cross-blog event where they would announce a food or “crop” in advance and they would then swap recipes, growing tips, lore and whatever else came up. Their readers did the same, and everyone linked to each other liberally, so everyone benefited.
Now forSummer Fest 2009, Margaret has continued this cross-blog event every Tuesday for the next four weeks, which will be acelebration of fresh-from-the-garden food: recipes, growing tips, even tricks for storing and preserving summer’s best. For this years Summer party, Margaret has collaborated with co-creators Matt of Matt Bites (who also created the gorgeous plump tomato logo), Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen, us of White on Rice Couple, and will have guest appearances from Shauna and Daniel Ahern of Gluten-Free Girl, Simmer Till Done’s Marilyn Pollack Naron, and Paige Smith Orloff of The Sister Project.
Read more about how Summer Fest 2009 works on Margaret’s site at Away to Garden.
Herb Week! This week is about Herbs and we’re talking about our huge garden full of Vietnamese herbs! There’s Vietnamese herbs bursting at every corner of the garden. All of last years herb seedlings have sprouted like weeds, but quite delicious weeds that we don’t yank out too fast.
Vietnamese cuisine is usually most noted for it’s abundant and frequent use of unique & exotic herbs. The flavors, textures, scents and overall freshness that these herbs contribute to everyday Vietnamese dishes is what makes the cuisine so fresh, aromatic and healthy. Eaten generously along side almost every meal, the fresh leaves & stems create a unique & delicious layer of flavor to the already dynamic tastes of Vietnamese cuisine. Raw herbs are torn, tossed, rolled and/or wrapped into dishes ranging from, but hardly limited to, soups, rice & noodle dishes, sandwiches and spring rolls. A few other herbs are also used more in the cooking of soups, braises, and grilled dishes.
The bright, aromatic, citrusy, spicy, sweet, musky and often floral notes of Vietnamese herbs are the dynamic sensations that make each bite unique.
Growing Vietnamese herbs are quite easy as well, from both seed and clippings. Often times, a healthy stem of a Vietnamese herb can quickly produce roots if placed in a glass of water for about one week. From there, the starter stem can be planted into soil and a healthy plant will explode, warm weather permitting. The most important requirement for successfully growing herbs is abundance of warm weather. In colder regions where temperatures can dip below 70 degrees Fahrenheit, Vietnamese herbs often struggle to produce a strong enough root structure for the leafy, edible foliage. Although colder regions have shorter growing seasons, you must take advantage of every warm weather week to enjoy your Vietnamese herbs that love any kind of heat.
Here is a basic guide to common Vietnamese herbs: (More in-depth guide is available at VietHerbs.com)
- Vietnamese Balm (Kinh Giới)- Lemon-citrus scented flavor with a suggestion of mint. Reminiscent of lemongrass flavor, but with the texture of mint.
- Spearmint (Húng Lũi) – Tastes like mint! Not to be confused with peppermint which has the stronger and brighter flavor associated with mint ice cream.
- Basil (Húng Quế) – typically Thai/Asian Basil – Typical basil tastes with a sweet/spicy, anise/licorice scented leaves.
- Vietnamese Perilla (Tiá Tô)- Purple colored leaves, particularly underneath the leaves. Earthy, bold, and musky flavored. Also in the mint family.