Friday, April 17, 2009

Damn it...It's Friday Foodie

I haven't cooked all week unless you call nuking a frozen entree cooking; which by the way, I don't. Sorry all of you that do but for me cooking requires pots, pans, multiple ingredients, detailed instructions, booze, and a fairly good size mess for JR to clean up.

As you all know, I'm hold up in a hotel room of which the amenities include a microwave, a 2 burner cooktop, cheap aluminum pots that I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole, no spices (the horror), and a spatula. That's right, a SINGLE spatula (This is so wrong that there ought to be a law. that's all I have to say). Let's not forget the corkscrew (I bought it yesterday when my new BFF from the wine shop help me find a wonderful Pinot) but there is really only so much I can to with it and trust me, I already have (I opened the Pinot, Gawd, get your mind out of the gutter).

Now, I could recycle an earlier food post that some of you may have not seen but really BORING! Or, I could find something online that I think you all may like but that just doesn't seem right. Plus, you are all more than smart enough to find a recipe online that sounds good to you.

What does that leave? Not a hell of a lot, recipe wise.

Let's talk about herbs a bit instead.

It's spring (In North America. Mum-Me, my Aussie friend, I think you'll have to wait awhile). Time to plant those herbs or to buy those starts at the nursery. There are several herbs that can be grown and dried (marijuana will not be on the list of herbs that can be grown and dried. Not that it can't be just that I don't want anyone to get in trouble. The Feds get really pissy about the whole pot thing. Ahhhh......the fond memories of the 70s). Oops, back to the matter at hand.

There are many herbs that are easy to grow and best used fresh. Parsley, cilantro, basil, rosemary, lavender, and tarragon are the ones that I have always had good luck with;

Parsley (the flat leaf stuff): plant from seed. A couple of months later you'll have plenty of parsley. When you need some trim to within an inch of the soil, clean, and use. Yummy! Also makes a great breath freshener. Don't let it flower or it will get bitter. At the end of the season cut it all down to within an inch of the soil, loop a rubber band around the stems, hang upside down in a cool dry place. I've used a dehydrator to do this also.

Cilantro: follow the same instructions as parsley. Cilantro is the leaf of the coriander plant. It is used in Chinese and Mexican recipes. We love this stuff in rice.

Basil: There must be a dozen different varieties of basil out there in seed form. I'll eat any and all of them. Plant from seed. Start using as soon as the plant gets big enough that you can cut off all but about 2 sets of leaves. Do not let it flower. Basil can be dried but I prefer to make pesto and freeze it in ice cube trays. When totally frozen place into ziptop bags to use during the winter. In Phoenix my plants grew year round. Sweet!

Rosemary: Is a hardy plant that will grow year round in most places. Those of you in the far north woods may have to put it in a pot and protect it during the winter. You can cut it into long spears, hang like you do for parsley. Personally I never really dry it. I was just use bits of it throughout the year. It makes great spears for shish kabobs. Cut approximately 10 inch pieces, soak in water for 10 to 20 minutes, spear meat, veggies, or fruit. Brush with olive oil and grill. Serve to gratified family who will think you are terribly clever.

Lavender: When I think lavender I think cookies but it has many other uses. It is very similar to rosemary. You can use the flowers and leaves. Go easy with this stuff though. If you use too much it's like eating a flower arrangement. Makes great kabobs. Need lavender recipes? Let me know I'll post some. Plant this from a start. I use it fresh. Though I've dried it, put it into mesh bags and placed it in the panty drawer. Awesome smelling stuff.

Tarragon: Tarragon is the BFF of chicken and fish. Sort of has a licorice flavor. This stuff grows like a weed. Wait, most herbs are weeds. Dries well, store in air tight container. Don't know what to do with it? Again, just let me know.

There are plenty more but these are the ones that I've had the best luck with. Give growing your own (we used to grow our own, heehee....sorry another 70s reference) a try. Not only will you get the satisfaction of planting and tending but fresh is always best.

Now, Sher has this pass it along thing going. The first 5 commenters on her site get a jar of maple syrup fresh from the Canadian north as long as they are willing to pay it forward. Well, now I like free stuff as well as the next guy but what I really like is giving stuff away. Giving Christmas gifts are so much better than getting them and dang think of what I can cook up with that maple syrup. Can you say maple brittle or creams.

So I'm paying it forward to the first 5 commenters that are willing to pick something and give 5 away on their site. So comment and promise to do the same and you will receive from me......

In honor of the whole Texas move I'll be giving away 3.8 ounces jars of Penzeys Chili 9000. I haven't tried this but I lurve me a Penzeys store. And it just so happens they have one in Houston. It's fate I tells' you.

Even without being able to cook for a week I've come up with enough verbiage to make a complete post. What are the odds. Pretty good actually.



  1. Ok. So I'm already part of Sher's game so I don't know if I can pull this off twice... but I'm back to my normal blog-reading schedule and you popped up.
    I have never tried to grow herbs, but I think I will this year. Expect emails, calls, and messages of panic when I have all the stuff and don't know what to do with it. As for the contest, throw me in if you want, or use 2-6. I'm fine either way! :)

  2. I love fresh herbs. Havento tried to grwo tarragon yet....

  3. Oh, crap! I have to pay it forward? Does it count twice if I comment on both you and Sher's site? Oy, what have I done? John is gonna kill me!

  4. Jen: Do what I'm going to do; don't tell him. See everyone happy.

  5. Dang - I can't really cook till I get my new oven. Come see me I left you a fun tag even though I know you're so busy. Hugs!

  6. Way to jump that bandwagon!! No, really...schweet!!!
    The chili goodness is an awesome idea. Don't include me in your five though, let someone else play along since I'm already in it.
    And I'm totally going to plant parsley. I love parsley.

    Also, we need to hook up for a Christmas gift exchange. The thought alone makes me giddy.

  7. We had to stay in a hotel for a week while waiting for a house to close a few years ago. The hotel was adjacent to a Claim Jumper. So, even though our hotel room had a little kitchen, we ate every single night we were there ate the Jumper. And to this day I cannot look at hamburger sliders.

    And I'm aware that this story had absolutely nothing to do with your post.


  8. Your idea about rosemary as shish kabob spears is awesome. We've got a couple of huge rosemary bushes, so I think I'm trying it this weekend. I hope your move goes smoothly and you find a great house (not to mention those all-important grocery stores).

  9. I just planted my garden today and I have planted some herbs in my flower bed. Thanks for all the good advice on how to use and store. I printed them off and will keep them close by.

  10. You would have been fun to hang out with in the 70's. Hell, you'd be fun now. I'm not going to tell you what year I was born in or what year I finally tried that oregano lookalike for the first time. ;)

  11. And hit the Dollar store to get some utensils for that bare hotel room.