Roast Tomatoes to Freeze for later

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Got a bumper crop of tomatoes? Consider roasting them to freeze for later! I love the taste and versatility of roasted tomatoes and I like to preserve their wonderful flavor for later by freezing them to use in soups and sauces. It is best to use cherry tomatoes or smaller Roma tomatoes when roasting to freeze. I toss these frozen tomatoes into a hot pan with olive oil, garlic and stir until a bubbly sauce appears. Toss in your favorite cooked pasta, a little pasta water, some Pecorino and you have a fast and great tasting pasta sauce and meal.

Ingredients:
* 12-14 cherry tomatoes or 6-8 Roma tomatoes (depending on size) cut in half
* Olive oil for drizzling
* Sea salt
* Freshly ground pepper

Directions:
* Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
* Rinse, dry and half the tomatoes
* Line a large sheet pan with parchment
* Rinse, dry and cut the tomatoes in half and lay on sheet pan cut side up.
* Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt and a few good cranks of freshly ground pepper.
* Roast for 40-60 minutes or until roasted to your preference.
* Let cool and then pop the sheet tray into the freezer for a couple of hours. When frozen, place the tomatoes into a resealable bag and store in the freezer until ready to use.

Store Greens and Lettuce in glass containers for a beautiful display in the fridge or as a Fresh centerpiece.

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Have fresh greens right up front to get creative with instead of letting them wither away in the crisper.⁠ Why not pretty-up your fridge with greens⁠ Display Kale, Swiss chard and other leafy greens in jelly jars on the side door or on a shelf of the refrigerator. I also like to create inexpensive, bright and cheerful centerpieces with greens in pretty vases for a beautiful and Inexpensive display for casual dinner parties or brunch.

Quickly Dry Lettuce and Greens To Store

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I am going to grill these pretty little gems with a bit of basic dressing (olive oil, lemon, crushed garlic and sea salt). In the meantime, here is a quick tip to help make dinner prep easier. Rinse Romaine lettuce leaves and then place on to a long sheet of paper towels and roll them up and store them in the fridge. They continue to dry and are ready to go when I am ready to use them. This saves time and valuable refrigerator space especially if planning dinner for quests.I recycle or reuse the paper towels afterwards.⁠

Bouquet garni

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Make these simple, fragrant and game changing bundles to add to soups, stews and sauces. Bouquet garni or “garnished bundle” as it translates from French to English are bundles or packages of herbs tied together or rolled into a ball and tucked into cheesecloth or even a tea strainer. Bouquet garni is added to broths, stews and liquids to add deep flavor and is removed prior to serving the dish. While there is no one recipe for a bouquet garni most French recipes use thyme, bay leaf, parsley, and often times have the addition of basil, chervil, rosemary and tarragon depending on the protein or liquid it is flavoring.

Pictured here I am making simple bundles of herbs using thyme, rosemary and parsley and a few Italian versions by adding oregano. I make several bouquets at a time, pop a couple into the refrigerator to use for the week and then freeze several to use later in the season. This works especially well during late fall when we have an abundance of herbs that need to be harvested before the deep freeze of winter arrives. These make wonderful hostess gifts too.

Ingredients

* Several bundles of your favorites herbs, rinsed and dried
* Twine,
* Sharp scissors
* Cheese cloth, optional

1. Rinse and dry the herbs well.
2. Separate each herb into piles according to the flavor profile you desire. Use 4-5 sprigs of each herb and group the different herbs together.
3. Cut a piece of string long enough to wrap around the bundle a few times.
4. Wrap the herbs tight enough so they stay in tact during cooking and simmering but not so tight as to rip the delicate sprigs and then tie a knot and snip the ends of the twine off. Be sure to keep about an inch on each side so you can easily grab the bouquet when you are ready to remove it.
5. When the dish is finished cooking or simmering, remove the Bouquet garni with a spoon and wring out any remaining liquid back into the dish.

Here are some flavor combinations to try. The combinations are endless.

* Classic French: thyme, bay leaf and parsley

* Italian: oregano, rosemary, thyme, basil

* Chicken: tarragon, thyme and basil

* Beef: rosemary, thyme, parsley, bay leaf

* Fish: tarragon, lemon balm, thyme

Edible Flowers

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I grow and use edible flowers often to take my dishes and entertaining to the next level. They make a beautiful garnish for salads, soups and even cocktails. You can freeze them into ice cubes and then float in a glass of white wine or sangria. Top a salad with a few nasturtiums flowers for a beautiful boost of color and a peppery zing. Place the leaves from the nasturtium plant on top of soup to create the look of a whimsical Lily Pond. Sprinkle rose petals, violet flowers or a combination of both onto a white frosted cake to go from ordinary to extraordinary or top a white frosted cupcake with a single dandelion for a happy and elegant display. The ski is the limit . Of course, be mindful of where you source these flowers. Be sure they are pesticide free and positively identified as edible.

Here are some favorite edible flowers to use in your culinary creations:

Rose petals 

Calendula

Hollyhock

Red clover blossoms

Nasturtium flowers and leaves

Lavender and basil buds

Dandelion flowers