Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Parsley, sage, rosemary...
I've been blogging a lot about food lately. I like food. It makes me happy. But so does making inedible stuff, so here is a post about food and a craft! Double happiness. Cute little herbs and salad greens in crusty terracotta pots always look so beautiful. Herbs are generally easy to grow, but if you succeed in not killing them, they will probably outgrow the little pot or bolt (go to seed.) At this point, I find it is best to either replant them in the ground, or throw them in the compost bin and start over with fresh potting soil and a cute new little plant or seeds. Fresh herbs are amazing for cooking. I've been trying to perfect some roast recipes lately and love being able to just walk out to my backyard and pinch off sprigs of thyme and rosemary. Basil, chives, cilantro, and stevia are also growing out there right now. I let my cilantro go to seed last year and neglected to collect the seeds, which are coriander. Now I have about 4 square feet of tiny cilantro starts. Bring on the salsa and guacamole! Growing your own herbs will also be much cheaper than buying them fresh at the store. Now for the craft part. Aren't those herb markers adorable? Thank you. My wonderful, thoughtful dh bought me a metal stamp set (after I told him specifically what I wanted, located the store for him, and sent him back after he bought the wrong thing.) I have the $5 set, but got two because some of the letters in the first set were deformed. There are better quality and more expensive stamps out there. Then I bought some used silverware (real silver plate looks best) at a local thrift shop and went to work with my hammer and stamps. Just place the utensil on a hard surface and hammer flat. Then stamp the word you want on the utensil. Color in the letter with a permanent marker like a Sharpie and wipe off the excess marker with rubbing alcohol or baby wipe. Note to self: apologize to dh for not listening to him when he said I was making dents in the concrete garage floor. I recommend taping the utensil down so it doesn't move while you are pounding on it, and if you have a metal vice or anvil, use that as your work surface. Now when I ask my kids (minions) to go out and bring me a few basil leaves, I don't have to try and explain, "You know, the green one. With the leaves." They can just read the silverware. I have also been experimenting with drying herbs. We had a gigantic rogue basil plant about 3 feet high. When the chickens finally decided to destroy it (they'll get to all tender plants eventually) I picked up the smashed branches, picked off the leaves, washed and dried them, and put them in the dehydrator. Well, yes, my minions (uh, children) did most of the work but I supervised. And took pictures. I also plan to dehydrate a lot of the cilantro. When the leaves were crispy, I packed them in a glass quart jar and put the lid on tight. Although bunches of drying herbs hanging from the ceiling sounds romantic, in my case they would probably just get dusty. You can also use an oven to dry herbs if you don't have a dehydrator. Note to dh: I would love a mortar and pestle for grinding herbs. I can give you directions to the store. This post is linked to Real Food Wednesdays.
What herbs do you grow or would like to? What are your favorite dishes with herbs?