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  April Edition   ::   THE OH SO INDULGENT NEWSLETTER
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NEWS

REVIEW - NEW CHOCOLATE SHOP

RainDrop Chocolate

On our way to dinner my husband and I spotted this little chocolate spot. We thought we would stop by after dinner for dessert but seeing as how it was a weeknight and almost 10pm we didn’t thing it would still be open. To our delight there was a glowing neon sign beckoning us to come in. There were already other customers sampling the creamy gelato flavors made in-house. My husband couldn’t resist and ordered a heaping full bowl of strawberry vanilla bean. I headed straight for the truffle counter.

I was so excited by the flavors that I bought a box of twelve containing their hand made exotic flavors including Early Gray, Chipotle, Lavender, Curry and several more!!!! The man sealed my box with artisan wax, a beautiful touch for such hand-crafted goods.

Until I asked, I had no idea that I was talking to the chocolate maker himself. From the way he addressed me and how kind he was to the employees there wasn't the slightest hint of pretension. I was greeted merrily and he was so unassuming as he told me how they use no fillers, wax or fondant in their chocolates; this is a truly rare find. What a down to earth establishment and chic place to go after a date.

Once home my husband and I bit into the smoky spicy dark chocolate chipotle truffle; our taste buds lit up! Never have I tasted chocolate so extraordinary yet so comfortable to the palate. I think they will be seeing a lot more of us at the RainDrop Shop.

by Chef Natasha Treu Fletcher

810 Waugh Dr Ste 100 (Cross Street: West Dallas Street)
Houston, TX 77019
(713) 524-2864

Hours
* Tue-Thu 11am-10pm
* Fri-Sat 11am-11pm
* Sun 12pm-10pm

Spring is in the Air! Veggies Playing

Get discount tickets for for THIS months Glass Slipper Ball .
Tell them you want to purchase them at the Chef Natasha discount for $50

Chef Natasha Treu will be featured as one of the Best Chefs of Houston along side Over 20 Chefs from some of the finest restaurants and caterers .

This fabulous Gala is SATURDAY APRIL 14, 2007. Dance into the night with Grammy® nominee Scott Gertner. The Ball is Benefiting Zonta Intl. Click here to order tickets by mail. Be sure to bring anyone who would enjoy this fabulous event! The dress for the event is cocktail attire with black tie optional. For more information go to www.GlassSlipperBall.com or www.zontahouston.org.

 

Tips and Tricks

Grow Your Own Edible Herb Garden

Basil
Everyone loves to cook with fresh herbs. Growing them yourself is cost effective, has fresher flavor, is safer and is lots of fun. Add more pride to your cooking and color to your garden with our handy guide to Herb Gardens!

A true herb connoisseur can select from a wide variety of common and not-so-common herbs. For example, the E & A Evetts Ashfields Herb Nursery of Shropshire, England, lists 57 herbs, 16 mints, 17 onion-type herbs, 20 sages, and 17 thymes in a recent catalog.The Brooklyn Botanic Garden Handbook on Herbs lists 73 different types of herbs.

Some herbs fit into one or more classifications according to use -- culinary, aromatic, ornamental, and medicinal.

Step 1 Choose Your Herbs
Beginning herb gardeners may have a problem deciding which herbs to plant because of the large number of herbs from which to select. A quick check of your supermarket shelf will give you some idea of the types of herbs used in cooking and also will serve as a planting guide.

Following is a good variety of flavors and uses of recommended herbs for beginners:
Strong herbs -- winter savory, rosemary, sage
Herbs strong enough for accent -- sweet basil, dill, mint, sweet marjoram, tarragon, thyme
Herbs for blending -- chives, parsley, summer savory

Step 2 - Choosing Your Location
Now that you have your herbs you need to choose a location for your garden. Choose an area with enough space to have a garden with good drainage and rich fertile soil, which is deep and easy to work or you can use pots. Good garden soil is not easy to find, and most beginning gardeners soon realize they must improve on one or more conditions of the soil.

Create a pattern for the designated planting area. Stake the area and attach strings to the stakes to form the pattern. Copy the design in the soil with a trowel, then remove the strings and dig a furrow for the design.

Step 3 - Drainage
Drainage is probably the most important single factor in successful herb growing. None of the herbs will grow in wet soils. If the garden area is poorly drained, you will have to modify the soil for any chance of success. To improve drainage at the garden site, remove the soil to a depth of 15 to 18 inches. Place a 3-inch layer of crushed stone or similar material on the bottom of the excavated site. Before returning the soil to the bed area, mix some compost or sphagnum peat and sand with it to lighten the texture. Then, refill the beds higher than the original level to allow for settling of the soil.

Step 4 - Fertilization
The soil at the site does not have to be especially fertile, so little fertilizer should be used. Generally, highly fertile soil tends to produce excessive amounts of foliage with poor flavor. Plants, such as chervil, fennel, lovage, and summer savory, require moderate amounts of fertilizer. Adding several bushels of peat or compost per 100 square feet of garden area will help improve soil condition and retain needed moisture. You can also add small amounts of fertilized potting soil in with plant.
If planting in pots I recommend Miracle Grow potting soil.

Step 5 - Planting
For plants- Space the herbs one foot apart to allow for growth. Dig holes twice the size of the root balls, but don't plant the herbs so deeply that their crowns are covered.

Before planting, tease apart the root balls: this will aid in the plants' growth. Place small amount of fertilized soil at bottom of hole. Place each plant in a hole and tamp in place.

Step 5 - Sowing Seeds
For Seeds: Nearly all herbs can be grown from seed. Although rust infects mints, very few diseases or insects attack herbs. A few herbs, such as mints, need to be contained or they will overtake a garden.

If possible, sow seeds in shallow boxes in late winter. Transplant seedlings outdoors in the spring. A light, well-drained soil is best for starting the seedlings indoors. Be careful not to cover the seeds too deeply with soil. Generally, the finer the seed, the shallower it should be sown. Sow anise, coriander, dill, and fennel directly in the garden since they do not transplant well.

Step 6 - Harvesting

Fresh leaves may be picked as soon as the plant has enough foliage to maintain growth. To ensure good oil content, pick leaves or seeds after dew has disappeared but before the sun becomes too hot. For dry, winter use, harvest leaves before the flower buds open. Pick the seed heads as the color changes from green to brown or gray. Wash dirty leaves and seed heads in cold water; drain thoroughly before drying.

Step 7 - Maintaining
Water thoroughly until the plant is established. Be careful not to over water the plants past this point, however, or root rot may result. (Herbs are quite drought-tolerant once established.)

Cutting and division also are useful in propagating certain herbs. When seeds are slow to germinate, cuttings may be the answer. Some herbs, however, spread rapidly enough to make division a main source of propagation. Tarragon, chives, and mint should be divided while lavender should be cut.

The herb garden should be fully established in about one year and will last for many years.

Sources:
West Virginia University Extension Services

HGTV

Recipe of the Month


Fresh Herb Walnut Pesto
Pesto has been known, in various forms, since Roman times, and probably was imported from North Africa. Basil a prominent ingredient in Pesto, has been used as a treatment for coughs, skin diseases, and intestinal problems.

The ingredients can either be crushed with mortar and pestle or finely chopped with a food processor. Here is a variation on the classic. Try it with toasted French bread or on you favorite pasta.

pesto

Ingredients:

7 garlic cloves

Fresh basil - 4 cups packed

1 cup good extra virgin 1st cold pressed olive oil

Fresh Lemon - 1 tb sp

1/4 c walnuts

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Kosher Salt or Sea Salt to taste

Ground black pepper to taste
  • Directions:

    1. Place walnuts on cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Toast in 400 degree oven until golden brown.
    2. Add walnuts and all ingredients to food processor.
    3. If too thick add a little more olive oil.

    Prep time: 15 minutes

 


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hank you
to everyone who voted for us to be the Best Caterer 2007

 

 
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Copyright 2007 Chef Natasha Treu’ Fletcher