Now that the glossy green leaves turned yellows and oranges have fallen, our plant of the week really begins to put on a show. Now we can see it’s unique horizontal branching habit that gives it a bold look in the winter landscape, as well as its ever so attractive silvery bark. It also gives us a great show of persistent orange-red fruit which usually remains effective well into January or later. Our plant of the week is Crataegus virdis ‘Winter King’, or commonly known as ‘Winter King’ Hawthorn. (Grows 20-25’ high and wide / white spring flowers / does have thorns but not an issue / great medium sized landscape tree.)
HONEY ROASTED BEER NUTS
2 cups whole almonds, skin left on and toasted ***
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons ea: honey and water
2 teaspoons Canola oil
Mix sugar and salt and set aside. Stir together honey, water and oil in large nonstick skillet or pan and bring to a boil. Immediately stir in nuts and continue to cook and stir until liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle sugar mixture over and toss until evenly coated. Pour out onto sprayed cookie sheet. When cool, break up and store airtight at room temperature up to a month.
**To toast nuts: Pour in single layer on cookie sheet. Roast at 350 until fragrant, about 8-12 minutes. Stir from the outside edge into the center a couple of times.
15 oz bag of pretzel sticks
1 tablespoon lemon pepper
One half a package of dry Ranch dressing mix (the kind you mix with milk and mayo, not the original kind that uses buttermilk) or more to taste
6 oz buttery popcorn oil (I use Orville Redenbacher)
Put the pretzel sticks in a big bowl. Whisk together the lemon pepper, dressing mix and oil - it won't all dissolve. Pour over sticks and mix well. I used my hands. Let sit 10 minutes. Mix again. Let sit 5 minutes. Mix again. Let sit 5 minutes. Mix again. Pour into a big baggie - you may have a bit of dressing left in the bowl. Leave the bag open a couple of hours, then seal. As the pretzels sit, they will absorb the dressing. Makes about a gallon.
FIRE & ICE PICKLES
1 quart wavy sliced generic dills, drained (I like Krogers)
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon or more hot red pepper flakes or 1-2 jalapenos, minced
1 garlic clove, smashed
Make a layer of pickles in a large bowl. Sprinkle some sugar over. Keep making layers of pickles and sugar. Sprinkle pepper and garlic on top of the last layer. Stir pickles gently. Let sit at room temperature until sugar dissolves - this can take several hours. Remove garlic clove. Pour into jars with syrup that has formed and store in refrigerator.
RITA'S HERBES DE PROVENCE
(Good with lamb, grains, tomatoes, pork, beef and in seafood recipes)
Blend together and store in cool, dry place away from light:
1/4 cup dried thyme leaves, not powdered
2 tablespoons dried marjoram or 1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon dried rosemary, minced
1 tablespoon dried savory leaves, not powdered savory
2 teaspoons dried lavender flowers or leaves
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 dried bay leaf, crumbled
The art of tree shaping is centuries old, and has its origins in the Khasi people of India who used to build bridges made of live roots. Some of these living root trees can be seen even today in North East India, in Cherrapunji, Laitkynsew and Nongriat in the state of Meghalaya. In the Middle East, living trees were used to construct houses, a practice that spread to Europe as well.