Tag Archives: herbs

Kitchen Garden

This is the time of year that my thoughts turn to

GARDENS

There’s nothing like the days growing shorter to make me want to be out in the sun. Or at least in a sunny window. And so it is in November that I really want to garden. Maybe I’m just living in the wrong hemisphere, or maybe it’s just my contrary nature, or maybe I just need some dirt not covered by snow and ice.

This year, I will really and truly try to garden indoors. Again.

But I don’t have the best track record.

  1. I tend to feel sorry for the poor pitiful specimens in the grocery store, most of which were a deep breath from dust before they got off the truck, and so I bring them home….at least with herbs they can be used dried…..and thus I continue my long tradition of The Dead Plant Society collection.
  2. OR I forget that since I live in a well shaded yard, and that even when the leaves drop from the trees, it’s still dark by photosynthesis standards.
  3. OR that the brightest windows are often the draftiest windows and plants don’t like to grow in Arctic breezes, it’s not just the snow that gets them down.
  4. OR that the first killing frost or the first snow are past the point to dig something up from outside and bring it in. And definitely the too-late mark for looking for a shovel or a pot or a bag of potting soil….
  5. OR I try to start seeds without supplemental grow lights and the shortest days of the year are not long enough for any good germination.
  6. AND I forget that artificial heat, even at the low levels I keep it at, dry out the pots Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah quick
  7. And then Michael Tortorello has a great story on Kitchen Gardens  in the New York Times. I am inspired all over again. I have sorrel and thyme already in, and I have vowed not to buy anything in the grocery store, but rather wait for the Plymouth Farmers Market and buy only actual plants and not dried herbs that still have soil attached…And I have not 1, but 2 pieces of ginger root that have sprouted…Shades of The After-Dinner Gardening Book!After Dinner Gardening Book

    Ginger rooting - root, root root for ginger!

    Ginger rooting – root, root root for ginger!

 

 

Have a wonderful day!

 

 

 

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Filed under Autumn, Books

Leading by a nose…..

Herbal Inspirations.

This is the time of year that the garden is just bursting….

and it’s cool enough to want to eat it all!

cuke3

cool as a cucumber – they don’t even realize that their days are numbered

 

Thyme, ready to hang up and dry

Thyme, ready to hang up and dry

oregano

oregano

Basil

Basil

This time of year just plain smells good!

Herbs in the Kitchen was one of the earliest herbal reference book I bought.Herbs in the Kitchen I’m pretty sure I got it from the Paperback Booksmith in Hanover Mall, in either ‘75 or ‘76. It was one of the standards.  I still love it, and get inspired every time I read it.

My modern herbal library- not to be confused with my early modern herbal library – has grown since then.

Helen Morganthau Fox, gardening with herbsMrs Grieve, modern herbal

Eleanour Sinclair Rohde  ESR a garden of herbs I’ve read them and studied and collected all.

AGSAdelma Grenier Simmons inspired trips to Caprilands in Connetitcuct and I was able to attend several of her lectures and workshops, as well as collect her books;

Jeanne Rose’s Herbs and Things, herbsthingsnew_smallwhich nicely bridges the centuries of herbal lore;

Susan Wittag Albert and the China Bayles series. China Bayles even has her own book of herbal days, China Bayles Book of Days. China Bayles Book of DaysYes, a fictional herb guru has her own book!

Carolyn Dille and Susan Belsinger have written together and separately….

This is a together one

This is a together one

But it’s only recently that herbs and other things you eat that come from the garden can be equal (ish) partners between the covers.

Vegetable Literacy Deborah Madison has her chapters based on plant families…..it’s very different kind of organizing and makes a whole lot of sense. This is from her blog

‘Vegetable Literacy’ is centered on 12 plant families and how they meet in the kitchen. It’s also a cookbook (some 300 recipe). Mostly it’s about connecting the dots between botany and the garden and the cook. People ask me what inspired this exploration and I have to say that I don’t recall a single moment in which that intention suddenly leaped to the fore. It was more like the idea of botanical families and the relationship between them and the kitchen had been there for a long time. Maybe it’s in my genes—my father was a botanist and gardener and farmer among other things. And even though it didn’t occur to me plant anything until I was in my mid-thirties, something must have rubbed off.  And it rubbed off from my botanist brother, Michael, my many farmer friends and the gardeners I have known. Most of all, though, it was starting to garden that made plants and their families come into view with increasing clarity. Once I started to grow vegetables, I saw them in different ways: how much space they need, how large and many their leaves, how similar the blossoms within a family, the possibilities of eating more of them then what we see in the store or even the farmers market—hence the many little pointers about eating the whole plant—and more. The garden reveals the big and sometimes gnarly world that lies behind the pretty vegetable.’

Deborah Madison with allium

Deborah Madison with allium

So, stop and smell the mint,mint close upand the fennel

fennel flowering

fennel flowering

and the borage….

borage

borage

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Filed under Books, Influencers, Summer

Summertime Kitchen Sink Salads

One notably hot summer – as if we have other then notably hot summers – our suppers consisted of Salads, Sandwiches and Smoothies. It was a “there’s already enough heat in the kitchen, who has any appetite to anything big in this heat anyhow?” summer.

But I never made a salad in a jar. Nor am I about to now. Salad dressing in jar, yes. Salad outside the jar.

Now, IF (when) I’m in the checkout line for far toooooo long, the magazines that line the counter seem more and more interesting. This can lead to some buyer’s remorse. And so the other day I ended up with….a magazine I looked at the next day and said, “I spent CASH MONEY on this hooey?”.

Being summer there was a story on salads, but not any salads:

MEALS IN MASON JARS

This is a Strawberry Pecan Salad

This is a Strawberry Pecan Salad. In a Mason Jar. and although I haven’t mentioned the name of the periodical, they’ve included a photo credit, bless their heart.

You may remember where I stand on the Mason Jar as food service ware. Shark jumped.

fonzie jumps the shark ill

So, what exactly IS a Mason Jar?

The Mason jar was invented and patented in 1858 by Philadelphia tinsmith John Landis Mason[1][2] (1832-1902). Among other common names for them are Ball jars,[3] after Ball Corporation, an early and prolific manufacturer of the jars; fruit jars for a common content; and simply glass canning jars reflecting their material. Wiki

And now for a salad to eat out of a bowl or a plate…..the Summertime Salad.

Take greens, wash them well, add fruit, veggies, nuts, herbs, maybe some cooked beans or hard boiled eggs or even some cheese, leftover cooked macaroni, stale bread bits…. literally everything BUT the kitchen sink  – top with a dressing.

You can get these things from your garden or the Farmer’s Market or even the regular ole grocery store. This can be your lunch, your dinner or your supper. It can expand to serve from one person feeling peckish in the heat to a good sized hungry crowd. This isn’t as much as a recipe as permission to eat the things you like in whatever combination you think would be tasty. The dressing brings it all together.

 

  Goddess Dressing, Neo-Green:

½ total cup rough chopped fresh dill, basil and/ or parsley (or whatever combo you’d like or happen to have on hand – add up to another 1/4 cup if you like it greener)

3 cloves of garlic, peeled

1 Tablespoon grainy mustard

½ cup plain yoghurt

½ cup olive oil

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (1/2 a large lemon)

Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

  1. In a blender (or food processor) combine the herbs, garlic, mustard, and yoghurt and process until well blended.
  2. With the machine still running, add the olive oil in a steady stream.
  3. Add lemon juice and pulse to combine. Season with salt and pepper .
  4. Put on the salad…you already figured that part out, right?

Adapted from Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby. Lettuce in Your Kitchen. William Morrow and Co, NY. 1996. pp. 138-9.

Lettuce in your kitchen

I may have initially gotten this book just for the great title. It’s a really great salad primer, as it turns out.

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Filed under Books, Eating, Recipe