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!

Holidays With Honey – Potato Zucchini Croquettes With Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

potato zucchini croquettes

Few things are more satisfying than fried potato and zucchini.  An awesome holiday appetizer!

Yield:  20 to 24 pieces

Ingredients

2 russet potatoes (about 1 pound)

1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar

1 medium zucchini

1/4 bunch chives

Salt

Fresh ground pepper

1 egg

Vegetable oil for shallow frying

2 cups fresh or dry bread crumbs

Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce:

1 cup whole grain-style Dijon mustard

1/4 cup honey

Directions

Place potatoes, in their skins, in cool water. Bring to a boil, then simmer until they can be pierced with a skewer, offer no resistance, and slides off easily. Remove from the water and cool completely.

With a table knife, remove the skin from the potatoes and grate on the large holes of a box grater, into a bowl. Also, through the small holes, grate the zucchini. Chop or slice the chives finely and add to the bowl. Add the salt and pepper, to taste, along with the egg. Combine mixture well and form into patties or a log shape.  If making a log, cut into 2-inch oval pieces. Dredge in the bread crumbs. Place on a plate until ready to cook.

In a saute pan, heat 1/4 to 1/2-inch of vegetable oil, add the croquettes, a few at a time. Don’t crowd them. Fry until the bread crumb crust begins to brown. Remove to a paper towel lined plate when cooked, to drain. Repeat process with the remaining croquettes. Serve warm.

Combine the mustard and honey and serve as a dipping sauce for the croquettes.

Italian Week – Zucchini Fritters

It’s time to say “Ciao” to Italian Week. Here’s one last (vegetarian) recipe to close out the celebration. Zucchini fritters!

Ingredients

4 medium zucchini, finely diced
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup-1 cup all-purpose flour
Olive oil
Preparation

Combine the zucchini, eggs, parsley, parmigiano, and extra-virgin olive oil and stir until the zucchini is coated. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add 3/4 cup of the flour just a sprinkle at a time and stir. Continue adding until the mix is the consistency of pancake batter, add more if the zucchini is very wet.

Fill a large, heavy-bottomed pan with 1/4 inch olive oil. Heat over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Working in batches, spoon the zucchini mixture into the pan in 2-tablespoon mounds. The fritters should be three-quarters submerged in the oil. If bits of zucchini stray, scoop them up and return them to the fritters.

Reduce the heat slightly and fry until golden brown, turning once, about 5 minutes per side.

Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Allow the oil to return to medium heat before proceeding with the next batch.

Serve the fritters on a parchment-lined tray. The leftover fritters will keep, covered and refrigerated, up to 2 days. Reheat, wrapped in foil, in a low oven.