I don’t know about you, but I love to “read” cookbooks. Pencil in hand I start at page one and go through the entire book putting a small check by recipes I want to try. Then, when I’m ready to cook, I just look for the “checks of approval” and I’m ready to try something new!
Recently, I received two cookbooks from Renee’s Garden seed company. Because they were written by a gardener they are organized according to what vegetable or herb from your garden you want to use. I love that! I can go right to “zucchini” and find ways to use up my supply or “tomatoes” to find a way to use my overwhelming crop that seemingly ripens all in one day! Reading these cookbooks is particularly delightful because of the beautiful drawings as well as the great recipes. I love the artwork in the books and on the seed packets…. ( I can never throw away the packets…I feel like I should frame them because each is a work of art!)
Preparing for guests last night we were in the mood for chicken so I decided to try one of the recipes I’d marked from the first Renee’s Garden cookbook, Recipes From A Kitchen Garden. I found one I’d marked using rosemary, which I love with chicken, “Glazed Fruited Chicken with Rosemary”. There’s just something very satisfying about walking out into the garden to clip your own fresh herbs to use in the kitchen. A little container full goes a long way when you grow rosemary.
The recipe was under the “Herb” section and very easy to follow. First, I baked some chicken thighs and breasts. While they baked I mixed up an awesome sauce of water, wine, honey, rosemary, along with dried prunes and apricot and some fresh apple. Simmered together it made the most delicious tasting (and smelling) sauce I’ve ever tasted! Poured over the chicken and baked a little longer it created a beautiful and really, really, good glaze …it’s going to be a family favorite!
Today, when my daughter and the “grands” came to visit I tried the Hummus with Parsley recipe from the same book. I didn’t have the cumin called for or the parsley, but after quickly mixing all the other ingredients, Garbanzo beans, green onion, Tahini, S&P, and garlic…it was delicious anyway! (I looked in four stores before I found Tahni (Sesame Seed paste) and when I did it was next to the peanut butter (What???). Silly me, I was looking in the Asian food section and so were the clerks at the first three stores! It was worth the search since it really gave the hummus a great taste! Smooth, creamy and delicious:
Since I have lots of basil ready to use, next I tried Tomato, Opal Basil and Mozzarella Salad. My favorite tomato, Husky Red, produced some huge slicing tomatoes on small, determinate plants, that were perfect for this recipe! My basil is Renee’s Garden large leaf Container Basil, Italian Cameo, which worked well in this recipe. Sliced tomatoes layered with fresh mozzarella cheese, and topped with a dressing of lemon juice, basil, parsley, garlic, red wine vinegar and virgin olive oil…it was tasty and beautiful:
When a friend looked through the other book, “More Recipes From A Kitchen Garden” she immediately took it home to try the Garlic Roasted Chicken (which I didn’t mind since I’d be there for the dinner!) There was a wonderful mustard garlic mix rubbed under the skin which made the chicken flavorful and moist….delicious:
I couldn’t end without trying a dessert recipe so I made Lemon Thyme Bread from Recipes From a Kitchen Garden and took it to the office. It was a hit! Lemon thyme from the garden, fresh lemon juice and zest, baked in a wonderful flavorful loaf and topped with a lemon sugar glaze…oh it was good!
These books are both stuffed full of recipes that are just perfect for all your garden fare! You can purchase both of them here. There are also a few recipes there you can print and try!
Just to keep it real: I received complimentary copies to review ,but those who know me know I always speak my mind and speak the truth (which often gets me into trouble), however, in this case it’s a good thing…..they really are great cookbooks!
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Photos copyright Donna Jones Photography