Papalo or Summer Cilantro

Papaloquelite, Porophyllum ruderale known as papalo or summer cilantro, is a Mexican and Central American herb. The leaves have a warm pungency like cilantro with a hint of citrus and a more powerful flavor. I recommend using about 1/3 as much papalo as cilantro when preparing salsa and then adjust flavor to your taste. In Mexico, restaurants often place a little vase of papalo cuttings on the table and the diner adds leaves as desired.
The use of Papaloquelite “butterfly herb” predates the introduction of cilantro, Coriandrum sativum to Mexico by thousands of years. It’s easy to understand why cilantro with it’s similar flavor was so quickly adopted. It is used for salsas, sandwiches, guacamole, salads or simply sprinkled over rice and beans. The flavor is lost when cooked. This Cornell U website has information on papalo.
http://www.gardenmosaics.cornell.edu/pgs/science/english/papalo.htm
Plants grow in ordinary garden soil with moderate to full sun. This summer mine has grown well in a shallow container and never bolted in summer heat. Today I sowed seeds in a small rectangular container for a windowsill garden. The intense flavor may possibly substitute for cilantro in Indian and SE Asian cooking. If you enjoy cooking with unusual herbs this is one to try.Papalo or summer Cilantro

Rustic Salsa
6 ripe Roma Tomatoes
1 Bell Pepper, any color
2 Pasilla chiles or ‘Holy Mole’
1 jalapeno or Serrano pepper
½ small mild onion, peeled & chunked
½ cup lime juice
¼ teaspoon salt
Chopped papalo leaves (1 to 2 tblsp).

Take a large skillet, heat and add whole tomatoes and peppers, heating until skins are slightly charred. Rub off skin from tomatoes and chunk. Remove skin from peppers, and don’t be concerned about a few charred bits as they will add flavor. Cut peppers in half and remove seeds and surrounding light colored tissue to temper the heat. Place all ingredients except papalo in a food processor or blender and process only until slightly chunky. Pour into dish and add 1 tablespoon papalo. Taste after five minutes and add more papalo if needed.

Salvia guaranitica Anise Scented Sage

Of all the plants in our little herb garden, the lovely and long blooming Salvia guaranitica is the one most favored by hummingbirds. Our home herb garden is primarily culinary herbs. It includes edible flowers and a few herbs attractive to pollinators, butterflies and hummingbirds. I went out in the late afternoon with a book and camera in hand hoping if I sat quietly the hummingbirds would appear. After about ten minutes I heard the little buzzing “chewit” call of the Rufous hummingbird. She made a dive for the blue sage with the large hooked flowers.

Salvia guaranitica with hummingbird by Helen Hilman

This photo is compliments of Helen Hilman who took it at our nursery. My own attempt was about as successful as photographing fairies in the garden.

To grow this sage, select a well drained spot in full to half sun. This plant will grow 4’to 6’tall. When winter temperatures fall below 20 degrees plants often do not make it through the winter. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to simply treat this plant as an annual for all the joy it brings. A light fertilizing during the growing season is all that is needed. Like all my perennial herbs, I stop fertilizing in early August to help the plants harden off for winter. Clip it back close to the ground in late winter for best summer blooms. The foliage is edible but relatively flavorless. Cathy Wilkinson Barash, author of Edible Flowers: From Garden to Palette assures me the flowers are safely edible. Their beauty, moderate water needs and lure for hummingbirds make them a valuable garden plant. When grown in container plants rarely exceed 3′ but will grow and bloom vigorously. They may become potbound after one season and need a larger pot. Divide to start another container or share with a friend.

Queensland Squash Scones

Queensland Squash Scones

This recipe originates from Queensland Australia. Sir Joh and Lady Flo Bjelke-Petersen were a tireless and colorful part of this regions history. He served as premier of Queensland for many years. Her constant support advanced his career. She was known for baking and serving these tasty and most economical scones that are based on Queensland Squash. It’s not hard to imagine scores of locals downing scones and cups of tea and thinking fondly of the premier and his hospitable wife.

Queensland squash is traditional for this recipe but any winter squash will do. If you use another type and it is fairly dry add one to three tablespoons water or milk so dough holds together and has a pliable consistency.

2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 cup baked squash, mashed
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Grease a baking sheet. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and squash and beat well. Sift flour with baking powder and salt and add to squash mixture, stirring until just combined. Remove from bowl and pat out until 1/2″ inch thick onto a floured cutting board. Cut into 1″ squares and place close together on a baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes, until a light golden brown. Remove from baking sheet and serve hot. A little butter, jam and a cup of tea alongside the scones is a small feast.

Blogging Again

It seems I forgot to do something this summer. Caught up in gardening, harvesting, guests, travel and cooking my blog has been sadly neglected. We still are bringing in trays of produce and pleased to have discovered some new varieties for our 2008 catalog. Our current favorite summer squash is a tossup between the delicious, prolific Salman F1 Zucchini

Salman F1 Zuchini

and the Italian heirloom Tromboncino.

Tromboncino Summer Squash

I’ve been slipping zucchini into everything I can manage, omelets, soups and even some seemingly rich chocolate cupcakes. I’ll try to post that recipe later as I didn’t do a great job measuring the ingredients. If you find you have too much zucchini to deal with right now shred it and measure out two cups into a zippered plastic bag and freeze. They will retain a fresh flavor for at least three months.

Our fall garden is already producing, kale, lettuces, arugula and spinach. Just a step outside and I have wholesome fresh greens for our household. The beauty of this is we can keep planting for a few weeks more.

It’s not too late to sow Misato Rose radish.

Misato Rose Radish

It is so beautiful with a bright rosy interior. To serve peel, slice, and add a simple dressing of lightly sweetened and salted rice wine vinegar then watch the color bloom. At their best during cool weather, I usually harvest these when between two and four inches. They are also known as watermelon radishes. In Northern China they are often served as street food. The entire radish is peeled, placed on a stick and swiftly sliced into a multi-petaled rose.

Mesclun mixes and salad blends can still be planted. Collect your seed packets from spring and sow out remaining lettuce seeds or order new seeds. Lettuce will slowly and steadily grow through winter in most areas. I like to clip plants after the second set of true leaves appear and harvest just what I need for the table. Next time I clip back another area. You can expect at least three pickings from this Cut & Cut Again technique. Lettuces clipped back seem more resistant to winter cold and frost. A plastic tunnel or covering of polyspun fabric will hold in warmth and boost yields. Lightly fertilize every few weeks, liquid seaweed is my usual favorite.

It’s sunny outside and the garden beckons.