“Now that the lilacs are in bloom She has a bowl of lilacs in her room”
~ T. S. Eliot
I love lilacs, but can’t grow them. I’ve tried. Epic fail.
Lilacs, Syringa vulgaris, planted in the correct settings are easy to grow but, if planted in the wrong climate, even the “low-chill” varieties, are impossible to grow in my experience. I have the wrong climate. So , every year, my friend Karon and I trek north to Acton, CA in Los Angeles County to the Kilcoyne Lilac Farm for a fragrant lilac day.
You can read about last year’s trip in my April 2022 article in Let’s Talk Plants! the newsletter of the San Diego Horticultural Society here –
At Kilcoyne there are dozens of different lilac varieties growing, all different colors and flower shapes and each with a slightly different lilac scent. Put a bunch together of these different lilacs and the aroma is intoxicating. A perfume that perfumer could only dream of creating.
We are glad you are here. Recently, as the world opens up for in-person meetings again after locking down, Karen gave out little jars of three different spice blends she’s developed over the last 22 years, to give as gifts to people she only had seen on Zoom ’til recently; HOY Salt-Free Popcorn Seasoning, EHF Chef’s Seedsoning and Herbes de Provence. These blends and others will be added to the EHF store in the coming year for purchase but, in the meanwhile, if you like yours, or didn’t get a gift, here’s the information so that you can make your own and ideas for how to use them.
Herbs of the Years Salt Free Popcorn Seasoning
Mix together equal parts (such as 1 tablespoon each),
dried marjoram (Herb Of The Year™ 2005)
dried thyme (Herb Of The Year™ 1997)
granulated garlic (Herb Of The Year™ 2004)
dried basil (Herb Of The Year™ 2003)
Put the blended herbs into a spice grinder and grind as needed onto freshly air popped popcorn.
Optional; Drizzle popcorn first with extra virgin olive oil, garlic or basil flavored olive oil or melted unsalted butter if desired before sprinkling with seasoning blend.
Edgehill Herb Farm’s Chef’s SEEDSONING Blend
You can easily substitute parts for the teaspoons and make more.
2 teaspoons dill seed
1 teaspoon of each of the following:
flax seed, brown
flax seed, gold
lavender florets (I know it is not a seed –what can I say? It was on the counter and it looks seed-like and tastes great!)
mustard seed, brown
mustard seed, yellow
Mix all together and store in a cool, dark place. For long-term storage, the freezer works great. (You can use “Seedsoning” straight from the freezer.) Use “Seedsoning” in or on baked goods such as yeast and quick breads, bagels and rolls, with sautéed and steamed vegetables and with meats such as chicken, pork & fish.
Powerscourt Seedsoning Bread
In Ireland, the Avoca Hand-weavers have retail locations throughout the country, not just in Avoca and one of these locations is inside the glorious Powerscourt House and Gardens. Besides beautiful hand-woven goods, the Avoca name is also known for their cafés of delicious fresh cafeteria style food at each location. This bread is my version of the multi grain & seed bread that I ate in December 2005 at the Avoca Terrace Café in Powerscourt .
6 oz. all-purpose flour, organic preferred
11 oz. stone-ground whole-wheat flour, organic preferred
2 oz. wheat bran or bulgur wheat
1 oz. wheat germ
2 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup Edgehill Herb Farm Chef’s Seedsoning Blend plus more for the top if desired 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon molasses
1 pint milk (I use organic Low-fat—use whatever you have…)
Using a scale, weigh out the flours, bran & wheat germ into a large bowl. Add the salt, baking powder, “seedsoning” and seeds and stir everything together well. Make a well in the center and add the molasses and milk into the well. The Irish way to mix this bread is as follows; make a “crab” with your fingers on your right hand and use to mix the moist dough to be like a stiff porridge. Of course, you can also mix with a wooden spoon…Pour dough into a loaf pan that has been prepared with a greased parchment paper sling. (Note: I put more “seedsoning” on top of the loaf at this point.) Bake at 350°F for 1 hour until the loaf is well browned and sounds hollow when turned out of the pan and tapped underneath. Leave on a wire rack to cool.
Herbes de Provence Seasoning
Great w/everything including deviled eggs!
Note: All herbs are dried…
1 tsp. fennel seed
1 tsp. mint
2 tsp. lavender florets
2 tsp. orange peel
2 tsp. crushed bay leaves
3 tsp. rosemary
3 tsp. savory (summer or winter)
3 tsp. marjoram
3 tsp. thyme
Mix, store & use!
For best flavor, lightly grind or crush in mortar immediately before using.
Nigella Lawson’s Deviled Eggs Made Karen’s Way
12 large, peeled, hard-boiled eggs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 – 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 – 3 teaspoons Herbes de Provence seasoning, to taste
1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika, plus more for sprinkling
sea salt flakes, to taste
a few drops Tabasco, to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 – 3 tablespoons water from a freshly boiled kettle
2 teaspoons finely chopped chives and/or parsley
Halve the eggs and put the yolks in a bowl and mash the yolks. Mix into the smashed yolks, the mayo, mustard, seasonings and oil. Thin the yolk mixture with warm water and dollop the smashed yolks back into the whites. Sprinkle with paprika, chives and parsley.