Tuesday, June 30, 2009
In my daughter's garden ... borage!
My daughter Katie and her husband acquired an amazing perennial garden when they bought their home last summer. On a recent visit, I discovered Borage, tucked away in a bright corner. Borage, also known as Starflower, is a unique herb originating in Syria, but naturalized throughout the Mediterranean region. It grows to a height of 2-3 feet and is bristly all over the stems and leaves. The flowers are most often blue in color.
Borage is used as either a fresh vegetable or a dried herb. As a vegetable with a cucumber-like taste, it's often utilized in salads or as a garnish. The flower, which has a sweet honey-like taste, is often used to decorate desserts.
Vegetable use of borage is common in Germany, in the Spanish regions of Aragon and Navarra and in the northern region of Italy. Although often used in soups, one of the better known German borage recipes is for Green Sauce (Grüne Soße), made in Frankfort. In Italian Liguria, borage is commonly used as filling for pasta ravioli. The leaves and flowers were originally used in Pimms Cup before it was replaced by mint. It is used to flavor pickled gherkins in Poland. A week ago, I didn't know about the existence of this exotic herb and now I've found it growing in my daughter's sunny garden ...
And now, here's the recipe for a British hot-weather beverage often associated with Wimbledon (tennis anyone?):
Fill a Collins glass with ice.
Mix 1 part Pimms Cup No. 1 (based on gin) with 2 parts lemonade.
Stir or shake.
Top off with club soda, or use lemon-lime soda for a sweeter drink.
Stir lightly -- but do NOT shake again.
For the coup de grace, garnish with borage leaves, or fresh mint.
Comment from a British friend: "Pimms Cup is the quintessential summer cocktail in England. Still drunk by the masses - particularly on those fleetingly rare, true summer days in the British Isles."