New English Garden Bee Plants – “Essence Purple” and “Silver Mist” English Lavender

"Essence Purple" English Lavender

“Essence Purple” English Lavender

"Silver Mist" English Lavender

“Silver Mist” English Lavender

One of my favorite online plant purveyors, Wayside Gardens, has 61 new perennial cultivars this year, many of them bee favorites.

There are few, if any, flowers bees and other pollinators love better than English Lavender.  Wayside Gardens is offering two new English Lavenders this year, “Essence Purple” and “Silver Mist”.

An English Lavender extraordinaire, ‘Essence Purple’ is the variety for those of us who can never have too much Lavender in garden and home. Bushier, better branched, and perhaps even more fragrant than others, it is simply heavenly in color, form, and scent. Find new places to tuck this magnificent plant in your sunny garden and patio this season!

One of the most beautiful of English Lavenders, ‘Silver Mist’ sets nearly white foliage with a soft, fuzzy aura that looks like clouds in the garden. The flowers are pure sky-blue and continue over an especially long season. Compact, well-branched, and marvelously fragrant in bloom and leaf, it’s a must-have for the sunny garden and fine containers.

Both Lavenders are evergreen in mild areas and deer-resistant.

An herb, Lavender is useful for everything from potpourri to Everlastings to air freshener. Cut branches to tuck into your linen closet, use the flowers to perfume tea and sweets, and admire the pollinators that are drawn to these plants all season long. Every garden needs at least one stand of Lavender!

Perfect Herbed Honey Oyster Dressing

 

Stuffing, also called dressing, is a seasoned mix of vegetables and starches and sometimes meat and seafood (such as oysters) that are cooked within the body cavity of an animal that is then served alongside the animal usually as an ancillary course.

Various kinds of stuffing go as far back as the Roman Empire, where recipes appear in De re Coquinaria, a collection found within a kitchen anthology called Apicius that chronicles thousands of Roman dishes. In De re Coquinaria, chicken, rabbit, pork and dormouse stuffings are made available. While some scholars argue that because of the language used in Apicius, which is closer in ways to Vulgar than Classical Latin, that many of the recipes contained within it were not cooked in Rome, there are long traditions and other historical references that corroborate the wide use of stuffing in Ancient Italy.

Stuffing in America is not uncommon in restaurants but is not regularly utilized in most households. Rather, it is traditionally served during the Thanksgiving holiday. 

This is the perfect Thanksgiving stuffing/dressing!

Ingredients

2 loaves Italian or French bread (1 lb total), cut into 3/4-inch cubes (12 cups)

1/2 lb sliced bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil (if needed)

2 medium onions, finely chopped (2 cups)

1 1/2 cups chopped celery

3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme or 1 tablespoon dried thyme, crumbled

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage or 2 teaspoons dried sage, crumbled

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2/3 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted

18 oysters, shucked, drained, and chopped (3/4 cup)

2 1/4 cups turkey giblet stock or low-sodium chicken broth

 Directions

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Spread bread cubes in 2 shallow baking pans and bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of pans halfway through baking, until golden, 25 to 30 minutes total. Cool bread in pans on racks, then transfer to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, cook bacon in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain, reserving fat in skillet.

If bacon renders less than 1/4 cup fat, add enough oil to skillet to total 1/4 cup fat. Cook onions, celery, thyme, sage, garlic, salt, and pepper in fat in skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to bowl with bread cubes, then stir in bacon, honey, parsley, butter, and oysters. Drizzle with stock, then season with salt and pepper and toss well.

Transfer stuffing to a buttered 3- to 3 1/2-quart shallow baking dish. Bake, covered, in middle of oven 30 minutes, then uncover and bake until browned, about 30 minutes more.

Honey Barbecued Oysters

One of my college friends raises both bees and oysters at his home on the Chesapeake Bay. This recipe is for him!

Ingredients

1 cup ketchup

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

3 cloves garlic, crushed

2 Tbs. honey

2 Tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Dash of Tabasco sauce

2 dozen small or medium oysters

Rock salt

Make the Sauce

In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients (except the oysters) and stir to blend.  Cover and let sit for at least one hour.  Sauce can be made up to 2 days ahead.

Prep the grill and the oysters

Prepare a medium hot fire in a charcoal grill. Pour rock salt on a rimmed platter. Shuck the oysters, removing the flat top shell and loosening the oyster from the bottom shell; leave the oyster in the shell, reserving as much liquor as you can in the shell. Nestle the oysters in the rock salt to keep from tipping.  Cover loosely with clean kitchen towel until fire is ready.

When the fire has died down and the coals are covered in a fine coat of ash, spread the coals out evenly over the bottom of the grill. Place the oysters on the center of the grill and spoon 1 Tbs of sauce onto each oyster. Cover grill and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the liquor and sauce are just bubbling. Take care not to overcook.  Serve immediately on a rock salt lined platter.