Saturday, February 1, 2014

Herbs , C & J Farms in Navarro Texas! Cooking with Herbs and Recipes using Herbs.

Canton, Texas is the largest Flea Market in the State. It may be the largest in the Country. It's called First Monday which means that it opens on the Thursday prior to the first Monday of every month. It's opened for 5 days. Thursday is when the vendors set up and Monday they start taking down. We try to go on Friday, it seems to be the best day. Saturday is too crowded. If you go on Sunday, vendors are more willing to bargain because they want to get rid of their inventory.
When we go, we generally focus on 1 or 2 things that we're looking for. For example, we may want a specific piece of furniture, pieces of Wallace China, Cast Iron Cookware and my wife always stops by the vendor that sells vintage Kitchen Towels. If you don't have something in mind that you'd  like to find, it can be overwhelming. However, every time we go we discover something new that grabs our attention and adds to the number of favorite vendors. Anne has her favorite vintage jewelry vendors and one month we discovered ( a vendor that makes glassware from liquor and wine bottles. We have a set of incredible Grey Goose Vodka Glasses. We love their products and I'll just add that we use their amazing glasses exclusively for Bloody Mary's made with my Bloody Mary Mix recipe that includes dried herbs! ( recipe to follow).
Recently we discovered an Herb vendor. It's easy to miss something because Canton is such a huge Flea Market. I was elated when I discovered C&J Farms. Connie was so kind and helpful in showing me all of their products and telling me the method they use to dry their amazing herbs. They sell Fresh Dried Herbs, Herb Blends, Sea Salts and Honey. The line of products is very impressive and the herbs are fresh and fragrant.

This Hippy in the Kitchen was hooked. The other appealing part about the company is that it's local. We try to buy local and organic whenever we can.  You can order from C&J's online and you can connect with them on Face Book.
They're located in Navarro County, Texas which is just south of Dallas.
If you love fresh Herbs, a wide variety of Herbs and Blends and Sea Salts of all types. and you cook with Herbs, then I endorse C&J's and I hope you take a look at their products.

 I wanted to thank Connie for her generosity, knowledge and her incredible line of fresh and fragrant products. Anne and I will return! As we talked, I informed her about my blog and told her I would endorse her products and write about the Farm on the blog. I decided to include some information about pairing herbs with ingredients when you cook and a list of recipes that can be found on my blog utilizing herbs. I threw in a bit of Herbs 101 also!

Here's their Website and Face Book Page addresses:

When cooking with dried herbs, remember to substitute 1/3 the amount of dried herbs called for in a recipe using fresh herbs. The rule of thumb is , 1 TBS of fresh = 1 tsp of dried. If you are accustomed to cooking with herbs you can certainly use an additional amount to suit your taste.
Always add dried herbs to a recipe at the beginning of the cooking time, it allows the flavors to seep into the dish. Dried herbs are generally more potent and concentrated than fresh herbs.
Crush the dried herbs in the palm of your hand by pressing and rubbing them gently with a finger to release their aromatic oils.
If you have never cooked with dried herbs, I highly recommend it. You will be surprised how much they can add to a dish. They're not just for Thanksgiving Stuffing anymore!

Here's an example of ways to pair dried herbs with ingredients when cooking:

Seafood:  Parsley,Chives, Dill
Risotto: Dill, Parsley, Tarragon, Chives, Oregano
Lamb: Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme, Marjoram
Roasted Potatoes: Dill, Basil, Parsley, Rosemary, Thyme
Couscous: Coriander, Mint, Dried Chile Peppers
Roasted Tomatoes: Basil, Parsley, Coriander, Oregano
Pizza: Basil, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, Oregano
Chicken: Parsley, Chives, Tarragon, Rosemary
Asparagus: Dill, Parsley, Chervil, Tarragon
Lentil Soups and Salads: Parsley, Coriander, Chives
Cauliflower: Chives, Cumin, Turmeric
Mushrooms Stuffed with Spinach: Parsley
Goat Cheese: Parsley, Dill
Cream Cheese Herb Dips: Basil, Coriander, Tarragon, Chives, Parsley
Omlettes: Basil, Oregano, Tarragon, Chives, Parsley, Thyme
Stuffing: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, Thyme ( Are you going to Scarborough Fair...... I'm just checking to see if you're truly reading the entire article! C & J sells a Scarborough Fair Herb Blend that would be perfect for Stuffing.
They also sell an amazing Olive Oil Dipping Blend to use with Bruschetta or a good Artisan French or Italian Bread for dipping.

Here's a sample of Hippy in the Kitchen recipes using Herbs. You can search them on the Blog.

Bean Soup with Italian Link Sausage ( vegetarian version available)
Beet Sliders
Chick Pea Noodle Soup
Green Chile and Potato Chowder
Pasta Bar in a Jar
Hasselback Potatoes
Thanksgiving Dressing
Corn Soup with Roasted Chiles and Smoked Gouda Cheese
Parmesan Baked Potatoes with Herbs and Garlic
Tex-Mex Baked Eggplant
Crock Pot Cauliflower and Cheese Soup
Herbed Rice Loaf
Roasted Provencal Potatoes
Asparagus Bread Pudding (one of our favorites)
Fines Herbes Pommes Roti
Baked Eggs in a Dinner Roll

Lavender Pound Cake:

This recipe calls for a prepared loaf pan. I use my Pan Release Mixture. (equal parts of Crisco, Vegetable Oil and Flour) I start with 1 C of each, mix well and keep refrigerated in a jar. I always have it available for all of my baking needs.
The recipe calls for a Lavender Syrup, here's my personal favorite.

Lavender Syrup:
1 C Water
1/2 C Sugar
1 TBS C & J Farms Culinary Lavender
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes.
Strain through a fine sieve and cool completely at room temperature.

1 1/2 C Sugar
1 1/4 C Butter
3/4 C Vanilla
6 Eggs
1/2 tsp Salt
2 2/3 C Flour
2 TBS C & J  Farms Culinary Lavender

Cream Butter and Sugar.
Add Vanilla and Eggs.
Add Salt, Flour and Lavender.
Mix well.
Pour the batter into an 8 1/2" X 4 1/2" X 2 1/2" prepared loaf pan.

Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour. ( or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean) This cake took almost 1 1/2 hours.
Cool 10 minutes in the pan.
Remove the cake from the pan while it's still warm.
Transfer to a cooling rack placed over a sheet pan.
Brush the sides and top  generously with Lavender Syrup until well saturated.
Cool completely before serving.

The batter is incredible.
I used C & J's Culinary Lavender

Lavender Syrup

The final cake ,with the glaze brushed on it.

Union Square Bar Nuts:

This is one of our favorite spiced nut recipes.

Double or Triple the recipe, they really don't last long!

Our friend Jill was the first to serve these to us. We absolutely loved them.
Thanks Jill for sharing this with us.
We have many friends that are great cooks and Jill is one of them. We share many recipes and I will always give credit when I can.

2 1/4 C mixed Nuts, no peanuts ( or... peanuts if you want)  I've done only Pecans because.... I live in Texas!
2 TBS coarsely chopped fresh Rosemary
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper ( I use 1/4C Heirloom Chimayo Chile Powder and 1/4C Cayenne Pepper Seasoning.
2 tsp Brown Sugar
2 tsp Sea Salt
1 TBS butter, melted

Toss nuts in a single layer on a cookie sheet
Roast them at 350 degrees for 10 minutes
In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients and toss the nuts in the mixture
Store them in a jar and........ You may not have any leftover to store!

I've posted many recipes for spiced nuts. I love them all. Here's my latest recipe.
I made these with a combination of Extra Large Peanuts and Whole Almonds. You can use all of one kind of nut or any combination. The next time I make them I'll try Mixed Nuts. Of course, in Texas, we also use only Pecans.

Honey Spiced Nuts:

2 TBS olive oil
6 C nuts
1/3 C honey (I used a Lavender Honey from France)
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 TBS salt
4 TBS sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Heat a large Saute Pan on Medium High. When it gets hot, add the oil.
Add the Nuts and stir for 1 minute.
Reduce heat to low and continue to saute the nuts for 7 minutes, stirring often.
sesame seeds
Stir Well

Spread on a sheet pan.
Dry them in the oven for 12 - 15 minutes.
Cool before moving to a sealed container.
As soon as they're cooled you will need to scrape the nuts from the pan with a strong metal spatula and break up the nuts as you remove them.
I kept some small clusters.
They are absolutely delicious.

Herbed Shortbread Wafers:

These would be great as an appetizer, served with a Cabernet Sauvignon Wine.

This recipe is an adaptation of an adaptation of a recipe from Ina Garten....... Oh well! It looks good enough for me. We have an extensive herb garden and I will make these.

1 stick (8 TBS), butter, softened
1/4 C grated fresh parmesan cheese (grate fresh parmesan cheese yourself for maximum flavor)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp fresh chopped thyme
1 tsp fresh chopped rosemary
1 1/4 C flour
1 TBS water

In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment:
Mix medium low until creamy
Add cheese, salt, pepper, herbs, flour ( incorporate each ingredient separately and mix until incorporated).
Add water
Form the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Roll out the dough on a floured surface to 1/4" - 1/2" thick. Use a 2" - 3" round cookie cutter. You can also form the dough into a log and refrigerate it for 30 minutes and then slice it into rounds.

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and place the wafers 1" apart and bake for 22 - 25 minutes.

Terry's Bloody Mary Mix:

1 qt. Tomato Juice
6 oz. Vegetarian Worcestershire Sauce
1 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
2 TBS Tabasco Sauce
1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes ( or C&J's Hot and Spicy Mix would be perfect)
1 TBS Cracked Black Pepper
1 tsp dried Dill
1/4 C Prepared Grated Horseradish ( it comes in a jar)

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend for 1 minute.
It keeps in the refrigerator forever. The longer it sits, the stronger it gets.
This is really the only recipe that I use for a Bloody Mary.

Mix as desired with your favorite Vodka.
Garnish with a combination of the following:
Celery Sticks
Cucumber Spears
Pickled Okra
Dill Pickle Spears
Stuffed Olives
Cocktail Onions
Cherry Tomatoes
Chile Peppers
Dill Sprigs
Jalapeno slices
Roasted Garlic
Water Chestnuts
Zucchini Spears
Pickled Asparagus
Muddled Tomatoes and Basil

Anne and I travel to France often and our friends in Provence all have herb gardens and cook with herbs. I hope you take the opportunity to learn how to cook with herbs and use them often in cooking.

I absolutely enjoyed doing the research for this project and I thank Connie from C&J Farms for letting me share their inspiration and enthusiasm with me, so that I could share it with you all!

Here's an except from C&J's website: Please take the time to check it out!

C & J Farms offers a variety of fresh, all-natural herbs and sea salt blends. We are also happy to provide an assortment of dried herbs and herb blends for cooking versatility, as C & J sea salt blends are a great way to add flavor to any meal including meats, vegetables and fresh fruits.

We find that cooking with herbs and herb blends from C & J Farms has many benefits, and you will too! As C & J Farms specializes in growing and selling the freshest tasting herbs available, the taste and aroma of our herbs transform an ordinary meal into an extraordinary experience. Not only are our herbs delicious, they will also add an extra kick of nutritional value to your meal.

All of our herbs are grown and harvested naturally. We do not include any additives to our pure blends. 

Italian Herb Bread made in our Terra Cotta Bread Cloche

Dipping Oil

C&J Farms Olive Oil Dipping Blend with
Partanna Sicilian Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The Dipping Blend is amazing!
We recently purchased some additional products from  C&J Farms. I wanted culinary lavender for dessert recipes. I've included 2 recipes using lavender and a photograph of the new herbs and spices I bought, Dried Jalapeno Pieces, Black Lava Sea Salt, Sweet Orange & Herb , Cowhorn Cayenne Flakes, Applewood Smoked Sea Salt and Lavender.

These are individual lavender cakes. We travel of the South of France and have friends in Provence that live among the amazing Lavender Fields. My fondest memory of my first experience in the Lavender Fields, many years ago, was the sound of the buzzing bees and the incredible aroma of the lavender.
It's very popular in the culinary world to cook and bake with Lavender. There are so many recipes for the flowers.
They often pair Lemon with Lavender and this recipe includes Lemon zest. These are individual cakes make with Lavender.

Petits Gateaus de Lavande:

This recipe makes 10 individual servings.

3/4 C butter, melted , divided
1 2/3 C confectioner's sugar + additional for dusting
6 1.2 TBS flour
1 C ground almonds
5 extra large egg whites
1 TBS of grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp lavender buds + additional for topping the cakes

Spoon 1 TBS of melted butter into 10 individual 4 inch ramekins that have been placed on a sheet pan.
Sift sugar and flour together in a small bowl.
Add almonds and mix well.
Beat egg whites by hand with a fork and fold into the dry ingredients.
Add remaining melted butter, lemon zest and lavender.
Fill each cup 3/4 full of the batter.
Sprinkle the batter with additional lavender before baking.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes
Rotate the sheet pan and continue baking for another 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and transfer the ramekins to a cooling rack and cool completely.

Dust with confectioner's sugar and serve from the ramekins.
You can invert them and serve them on plates.

We have Lavender Farms near our town. We just read about a new farm opening this weekend. We travel to Provence often and visit friends that are fortunate to live across a dirt road from the vast Lavender Fields of Valensole. We come home with Lavender Soap, Lavender Essence, Lavender Sachets, Herbes de Provence with Lavender and anything else we can find that's made with Lavender.

We love to park the car on the side of the road, get out and listen to the sound of the buzzing bees and smell the intense fragrance of the lavender. It's what Provence is all about!

Thank you to all of our friends and family in France for making our lives fuller and richer by experiencing your amazing country. I've been traveling to France for over 40 years.

We have a friend that makes a great Lemon Lavender Cookie so I wanted to post my recipe for Lemon Bars with Lavender.

Lemon Bars with Lavender:

2 sticks (1C butter) softened
3/4 C sugar
1/2 C brown sugar
2 C flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 TBS dried lavender


6 large eggs
2 C sugar
1 C flour
1 C fresh lemon juice
zest of 3 lemons

Confectioner's Sugar and additional Lavender


In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together both types of sugars until creamy, at least 5 minutes.
Scrape the bowl and add :
Beat on low just until combined

Press the dough into the bottom of a 9X13 baking dish and 1/2" up the sides
Bake at 350 degrees for 18 - 20 minutes
Refrigerate st least 30 minutes

In a bowl, whisk:
until creamy

lemon juice
lemon zest
Whisk to incorporate

Pour the filling into the crust
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes

Cool Completely
Sprinkle with additional Lavender and dust with Confectioner's Sugar.

Lemon Cupcakes with 2 TBS of Culinary Lavender in the batter.

These rolls are from Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman.
She writes about them on her blog. She adapted the recipe after having them in a restaurant.
I've made them many times and I consider them to be a Best of the Best recipe!

Rhodes frozen dinner rolls, do not thaw!
Olive oil, you know, the good stuff!
Fresh Rosemary, chopped ( I take it from my garden)
Some butter, melted , I did say some..... I just melt some butter!
Sea Salt, I use Sel de Mer.... we travel to France often and we buy it there ( I'm not trying to be snobby, but good Sel de Mer is ...... well.....  Good!
A 7", 8" , 9", 10"... anyway, a cast iron skillet , you never know how many of these you will make.

Several pans at once I would say!
Or, you can make them in a cast iron muffin pan or, I also use the Lodge 7 well biscuit pan.

For 7 rolls:
Generously coat a 7"- 8" cast iron skillet, muffin pan or biscuit pan with olive oil.
Place frozen rolls in the pan.
Cover them with a kitchen towel.
Walk away for 3 hours  to let them rise ..... check them ..... walk away for another 20 minutes to rise!
Lightly brush them with melted butter.
Sprinkle the tops with rosemary.
Gently brush again with butter ( I drizzle it on so I don't disturb the Rosemary)
Sprinkle with Sea Salt!

Bake 400 degrees for 17 - 20 minutes, in the middle of your oven, not the top or the bottom, the middle!
They will be golden brown 
Remove them from the oven and...... Oh Yes! Butter them again!
That's it!

Peace in the Kitchen!

Enjoy Cooking with Herbs and Spices!
Peace n the Kitchen!

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