A trip this week down to Petals of the Past Nursery in Jemison, south of Birmingham, was a great outing and provided inspiration for getting herbs into the ground and using them in cooking.

Linda Franzo, owner of the Passionate Platter in Slidell, Louisiana, provided lunch and demonstrated the preparation of all the menu items that used a variety of herbs. If you have a chance to see this cooking guru at work, I’d highly recommend it. How she manages to keep all of her recipes straight as she banters with her audience and disperses cooking tips is a mystery to me. It was an entertaining and informative morning and a delicious lunch.

Franzo’s Italian heritage inspired her to make focaccia using potato dough and, of course, adding a sprinkle of finely chopped rosemary and basil salt. Franzo served the focaccia with a hefty spoonful of her Marinated Mixed Beans. See her recipe for those in Quick Fix.

If you should have any focaccia left over, which is doubtful, use it to make Home-Made Croutons.

Linda Franzo’s Focaccia

• 6 cups unbleached flour

• ¾ cup potato flakes

• 1 tablespoon salt

• 2 teaspoons sugar

• 1 tablespoon (or 1 package) yeast

• 2 ¾ cups water

Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add 2 cups of the water and mix, adding more of the water as needed to make a wet dough. Place in a large container and cover. Set the dough out all day or place in the refrigerator overnight.

About 1 to 2 hours before baking, oil a large sheet pan well. Spread out dough and cover with a cloth. The dough will rise again. Pinch in some dimples in the dough and sprinkle with finely chopped rosemary and a light sprinkle of basil salt or any herb topping.

Bake at 425 degrees about 15 minutes or until light brown. The texture is spongy and soft.

Herb Salt

• 1 cup kosher salt

• ½ cup finely minced or processed herbs


Mix together in a bowl. Do not put the salt in processor. That will make it too fine in texture. Place in a jar. The salt will preserve the herbs.

Home-made Croutons: Cut bread into cubes. Toss with a little olive oil, cracked pepper, garlic powder, Parmesan, salt and chopped herbs. Bake at 350 degrees until light brown or brown in a pan on the stovetop.

Lost a recipe? Have a recipe to share? Reach Betty Slowe at bettyslowe6@gmail.com.