Return of the Zombie Hyssop

Two years ago I had a blast when the herb anise hyssop showed up in our shares and mine turned out to be unkillable. “When you bring your bundle home, trim the last half-inch of stem off, and keep in a jar of water in a cool spot in your kitchen,” Moriah suggested. “It will last a week that way in hot weather, and it may even put down roots.”

week? After a month, I named mine Victoria and proclaimed it some kind of vampire. The hyssop almost made it till Labor Day before succumbing to the ravages of me disappearing on vacation.

But! Thanks to last week’s herb selection, I have a new hyssop! If this one lasts another week it will also need a name …

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CSA Share: July 16

Royal Burgundy beans taste just like green beans, but they're much more visually dramatic. Photo by Satrina0.

A new crop showed up at Added Value last week: The farm’s summer youth program participants. The crew of 10 will be working on the farm Wednesdays and Fridays, learning about farm work, food justice and community development. Want to work alongside them? Come by the farm on any Friday between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. and help out with the weekly CSA harvest.

This week’s harvest was a busy one: Kristen and crew culled 80 pounds of beans yesterday, which we’ll get to enjoy in this week’s share. There’s yellow wax, royal burgundy, and two types of green beans. “They all taste very similar, though when the Royal Burgundy ones are cooked or tossed with something acidic, they lose their bright purple color,” Kristen reports. “I use them to impress people with some pretty display and veggie dip.”

{This week’s share details after the jump}

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RIP Victoria, Beloved Zombie Hyssop

I went out of town last weekend and returned to a tragedy: Victoria, the zombie hyssop I acquired way back in week 2, finally succumbed to the ravages of mortality.

She was doing just fine earlier in the month, perkily sharing her age-defying tips with a batch of mint I strategically placed nearby. But apparently Victoria couldn’t handle my absence: I left a relatively vibrant green plant and returned to a desiccated leaf-dropping stem.

I’m wearing a black armband this week to commemorate the loss. Kristen, can we have another petexotic planting again soon!? -Stacy Cowley

What I Made with My Share: Hyssop Ice Cream

I didn’t want to open my first post here with a sentimental superlative but this is the thing about living in Red Hook: I have the most wonderful neighbors in the world. They bring over chicken and dumplings, patiently teach me to parallel park, babysit for my dog, give me cuttings of their hard-to-kill houseplants, lend me comic books and tell great stories.

Christina, who bakes consistently formidable pies using Crisco, put together a super tangy peach pie for the Fourth of July. Since there was a rack of ribs in her oven (it was too hot to grill), she came over to use my empty oven. We set a timer. My whole apartment smelled like browning pie crust, which is great but also completely unbearable when you have to wait an hour or so before you can start eating the pie.

So Christina lined a tray to catch the pie filling as it bubbled out of the crust. Then she walked around the room offering everyone caramelized pie goop and some of the extra crust, which she baked with a little salt, sugar and cinnamon to hold us over. See? Amazing neighbors.

Recipe after the jump.

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Anise-Hyssop Sauce Recipe

Anise Hyssop by nycnosh on Flickr

When you pick up your second share today, you’ll get a bundle of fresh anise-hyssop. What is that and how do you use it? I thought you’d never ask!

Anise-hyssop is a licorice-scented herb from the mint family, and you can use it any way you’d use mint or basil. Infuse simple syrup for lemonade, milk for ice cream, whiskey for cocktails; add its flowers to cookie dough; toss whole leaves in a salad or Thai chicken dish; layer with tomato and mozzarella; add to a pesto. Continue reading