All posts by Botanical Interests

Sweet and Savory Popcorn


Popcorn is one of the quickest snacks to prepare, that’s why it’s great for the busy holiday season or for watching the big game on Turkey Day. There’s no special equipment needed for our recipe. Just 10 minutes and your creative flavor combinations!

Pour about 3 tablespoons of vegetable or coconut oil and 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels into a pan over medium-high heat. Cover with a lid and wait for the popping to begin! Shake the pan over the heat until the popcorn is almost done popping, then remove it from the heat until the popping stops. Remove the lid and mix with your favorite flavor profile. We used Italian seasoning for one batch, and cinnamon and sugar for another, but we also enjoy Cajun seasoning for a spicy kick, dill and celery salt for a salty, tart treat, or classic ranch flavor.

Garlic Bread Popcorn: Melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Pour over the popcorn and turn to coat. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of garlic salt, 2 tablespoons of Italian seasoning mix (usually dried oregano, basil, parsley, and rosemary), and 2 tablespoons of finely grated Parmesan cheese evenly over the popcorn, and mix thoroughly.

Cinnamon Toast Popcorn: Melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Pour over the popcorn and turn to coat. Sprinkle 1–2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon evenly over the popcorn and mix thoroughly.

flavored popcorn

Pumpkin Hummus

Pumpkin Hummus

Holiday parties start with Halloween, so be ready and have this quick dip recipe handy.

1–2 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
2/3 cup pumpkin purée (from fresh pumpkin or canned)
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon salt or more
1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced

  1. Purée all ingredients except rosemary in a blender or food processor. Add more olive oil or water as necessary to achieve desired consistency. Stir in the rosemary at the end.
  2. Serve with pita bread, fresh vegetables, or tortilla chips.

Easy Zucchini Refrigerator Pickles

zucchini pickles

Cucumbers get all the pickle glory. Try zucchini pickles! Enjoy these easy, delicious, no-can pickles. Your dinner guests will be amazed! Debatably better than cucumber pickles.

9 medium (3 pounds), unpeeled zucchini cut into wedges or slices
1 medium onion (red, white, or yellow), thinly sliced
4 1/2 tablespoons salt
2 1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup fresh dill flowers and leaves or 1/4 cup dried dill
2–4 hot peppers either cut in half lengthwise or scored on the bottom (1/2 or one whole per jar depending on preference); chili flakes may be
2–4 cloves garlic (or to taste), sliced in half
1 1/2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds


  1. Add salt to zucchini slices/spears and onion; stir to coat.
  2. Place salted zucchini and onion in a colander over a bowl, and refrigerate for 24 hours. (liquids will drain into the bowl.)
  3. Discard drained liquid; set salted zucchini and onion aside.
  4. Heat vinegars and sugar on the stove until sugar is dissolved.
  5. Divide remaining ingredients among the jars or other non-reactive, clean containers.
  6. Fill the containers with zucchini and onion leaving a little room on top (1/2″) so liquid will cover.
  7. Pour vinegar-sugar mixture over zucchini, onion, and spices.
  8. Place lids on containers and refrigerate once cooled.

Enjoy after one week of marinating. Makes about 4 pint-sized jars.

Here are a few of our favorite varieties for zucchini pickles.

0240p-Squash-Summer-Emerald-Delight-ZucchiniBlack Beauty Zucchini 


Roasted Tomato Sauce

Roma tomatoes

It’s tomato season, and we couldn’t be more excited! With baskets of tomatoes being pushed around the office, we’re thinking of ways to use them. One of our favorite recipes is roasted tomato sauce. Enjoy this delicious sauce over crusty Italian bread, on pizza or pasta, or even for breakfast with over-easy eggs! Perfect for freezing, too.



Yields approximately 1 quart of sauce.

3–4 pounds of Roma or other “paste” tomatoes, sliced in half with stems removed
1 medium onion, sliced
2–3 garlic cloves, peeled
5–10 leaves of fresh basil, roughly chopped
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
salt, pepper, and sugar to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 300ºF.
  2. Mix all ingredients together, ensuring each piece is covered in olive oil. Pour on a sheet pan and roast in the oven for 2 to 4 hours or until the tomatoes split.
  3. Once removed from the oven, let the tomatoes cool. Pour all ingredients into a food processor or blender. Blend on high, adding salt, pepper, and sugar until desired consistency and taste are reached. (If preferred, strain out the seeds before blending).

Grow some of our favorite tomatoes for this sauce.

3039n_Tomato-Bush-Ace-ORG (2) 3055p-Tomato-Bush-Italian-Roma-Organic 3087p-Tomato-Pole-San-Marzano-Organic0236p-Tomato-Pole-Principe-Borghese


Garlic Confit

garlic confit

Sounds fancy, doesn’t it? Confit (kōn-fēʹ) comes from the French word “confire,” which translates to “preserve.” Today, confit is a condiment made by preserving food (and intensifying flavor) in fat, sugar, or wine through a slow cooking process. For example, a confit can be fruits cooked in sugar, meats cooked in fat, or vegetables cooked in oil or wine. In our case, we are making a garlic confit by poaching garlic cloves in olive oil. This process produces a rich, garlic flavor in the cloves with the bonus of also having garlic-infused olive oil. Delish!

5–10 garlic cloves, peeled
1 ½–2 cups of high-quality olive oil (or enough to cover garlic cloves)

Pour olive oil in a small saucepot and add garlic cloves. Heat on low for about an hour until garlic cloves are tender. Do not fry or brown the cloves. Cool before putting into jars.

Oil and garlic can be stored in an airtight glass container for up to a month in the refrigerator.

Once you’ve made this epicurean condiment, try it in your favorite recipes as a substitute for raw garlic. See below for our favorite garlic hummus recipe with garlic confit.

2 cups chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
2 tablespoons tahini
4 tablespoons garlic-infused olive oil
8 cloves of garlic confit
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon of salt
Warm water as needed

Place all ingredients into a food processor or a blender. Blend to a creamy consistency, adding water to thin as necessary. Serve with vegetables, pita chips, or as a sandwich smear.

Plant our organic or virus- and nematode-free garlic this fall!

Garlic Duganski 250x350Garlic Metechi ORG 250x350

Edible Lavender

lavender butter syrup and sugarWe often think of lavender only in lotion, oils or candles with its relaxing aroma, even though it’s also edible! You can easily substitute lavender for other herbs, especially rosemary, when flavoring sweet or savory dishes. We added lavender to three common kitchen staples—sugar, butter, and syrup—which you can then add to a multitude of recipes. Use lavender sugar in shortbread cookies for a floral surprise; lavender butter over roasted chicken for a pleasant, earthy flavor; or lavender syrup in lemonade or cocktails for a flowery taste of summer. You’ll be surprised how delicious the lavender from your garden can be!

Lavender Sugar

1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon of dried lavender or 2 tablespoons fresh lavender

Mix the two ingredients together and seal in an airtight container for two days before using to ensure the flavors meld. Recipe can be doubled or tripled, depending on how much sugar you need.

Lavender and Herb Butter

¼ pound of butter (1 stick), softened
1 tablespoon of dried lavender
1 tablespoon of dried parsley
1 tablespoon of dried oregano

Mix all ingredients and chill in the fridge for a few hours. If you prefer, you can use almost any other dried herb, such as basil or chives.

Lavender Syrup

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon dried lavender or 2 tablespoons fresh lavender

Mix ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, stir the mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved. Let cool for a few hours, strain, and pour into an airtight container. Syrup can be stored in the fridge for several weeks.

Any of our lavenders are perfect for these recipes!

1311_Lavender-Provence-Blue       1053p-Lavender-Hidcote-Dwarf

1156p-Lavender-English-Tall       1238-Lavender-French-Purple-Ribbon

Savory Corn and Garlic Scape Pancakes

savory corn and garlic scape pancakes


Pancakes don’t have to be only for breakfast or dessert; savory pancakes are delicious for lunch or dinner! Savory pancakes are easily customizable; we added sweet corn and onion-y garlic scapes in ours. Garlic scapes grow from the green tops of the garlic; they have a light garlic flavor but bring enough intensity to be a substitute for onions. And they add a fresh pop of color to this recipe!




2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (vegetable oil works, too)
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups cooked corn kernels
1–1 ½ cups milk (any fat content works)
3 tablespoons diced garlic scapes
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons salt
Black pepper to taste


    1. Heat a medium-sized skillet with the oil over medium-high heat. Meanwhile mix remaining all ingredients together, adding the milk a half a cup at a time to desired consistency. Thicker batter produces denser pancakes, and thinner batter produces lighter pancakes.
    2. Drop a heaping tablespoon or two into the hot pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side until brown.

That’s it! A simple recipe for a quick, delicious meal. Serve with salsa, ranch dressing, or Greek yogurt.

Summertime Grilled Vegetable Salad

grilled saladSummer is just around the corner. It’s the beginning of flip-flops, days spent in the water, and, of course, grilling season! Vegetables on the grill not only get a smoky char, but the natural sugars caramelize, bringing a hint of sweetness to your savory dish. Try our vegetable trio grilled salad at your cookout kickoff!


2 fennel “bulbs”, sliced into 1/4” pieces
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
5 rhubarb stalks
2 teaspoons honey
½ cup pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 spinach bunches, cleaned, with stems removed.
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Toss the fennel slices in 1 tablespoon of olive oil; sprinkle on salt and pepper. Place slices on the grill. Cook for about 5 minutes on medium-high heat, and then flip over for 5 more minutes.
  2. Brush the rhubarb with 2 teaspoons of honey. Lay horizontally on the grill. After 4 minutes, check for tenderness. If rhubarb is tender, remove from grill. Cut into 1″ pieces.
  3. Meanwhile, toast the pumpkin seeds in a sauté pan. Do not add butter or oil. Toasting them dry brings out the full flavor of the seeds.
  4. Whisk together the balsamic vinegar, the rest of the olive oil, and salt and pepper into vinaigrette.
  5. Combine fennel, rhubarb, raw spinach, and pumpkin seeds in a large bowl, and toss with vinaigrette to coat. Salad can be eaten warm or cold. Enjoy!

Kale and Tofu Egg Rolls

kale and tofue eggroll
It’s delicious and good for you, but let’s be honest, you can eat only so much salad. So try your salad greens in an egg roll! Use kale, spinach, or mustard greens in these healthful, Asian-inspired baked egg rolls. If you don’t like tofu, you can use ground turkey or chicken, or eliminate the meat and double up on your greens!


1 tablespoon sesame oil
12-ounce package extra firm tofu
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bunch kale, chopped
1.5 cups shredded carrots
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon sriracha chili sauce (more or less depending on how spicy you like it)
1 package egg roll wrappers


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Heat a 10” or 12” skillet with sesame oil over medium-high heat.
  3. Dry tofu with a paper towel and crumble into pan. Sauté until tofu is lightly browned. Remove from pan to a large bowl.
  4. Heat olive oil in the pan. Add chopped kale and sauté until kale is slightly wilted. Remove from pan and add to bowl with tofu.
  5. To the kale and tofu, mix in the shredded carrots, soy sauce, garlic powder, and sriracha.
  6. Place one corner of an egg roll wrapper in front of you so it is in the shape of a diamond. Spoon about two tablespoons of the mixture on the end closest to you, fold the wrapper corner over, and then fold in the sides. Using your finger, wet the top corner with water before finishing the roll. This will help the egg roll stay sealed.
  7. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray and place the egg rolls seam side down on the sheet. Spray finished egg rolls with cooking spray. Bake in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Leave under the broiler for two extra minutes if you like your egg rolls extra crispy.

Spring Pea Pesto

Pea pesto recipeIt’s a new day for pesto! Swap basil for peas to make a spring condiment that brightens up your winter dishes. It’s delicious in an omelet, on crostini with ricotta cheese, in a vegetable pasta salad, or even on top of a baked potato. The possibilities are endless.


10 oz fresh peas
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
2 teaspoon salt to taste
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper to taste
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil


Pulse all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Keep in the refrigerator for several weeks or freeze in an ice cube tray for up to six months to enjoy in winter.

What will you make with your pea pesto?