Monday, June 28, 2010

I beg your pardon, I never promised you an herb garden...


It would appear that I have one anyway. My darling boyfriend (who is the most amazing man in the universe; ask anyone) stopped by a stand run by this old guy outside of David's Market last week and on a whim picked up four Genovese Basil plants. He came home and told me about it, and suggested that we go back the following weekend and I could pick out some others.

Now, for those of you who know me know that I have the WORST black thumb. Seriously. Anything that I've ever tried to plant or cultivate has died a slow, painful death right before my eyes. The only exception is the lucky bamboo that was a birthday present from my siblings. I've had that thing for probably 7 years, and it's only JUST now starting to look a little sickly. I found out that the average lifespan for this particular type of bamboo is only 2 years, so I must've been doing something right. :)

My mother has her own herb garden, and on occasion has saved me some dried sprigs of basil, oregano, rosemary, and even shared her tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers when they were in season. I'm always been grateful, and because of her I'd also learned that home grown herbs are the absolute BEST to cook with, bar none. That being said, I've never seriously considered growing my own simply because I didn't want to waste the money or the time to wind up killing something that could very easily be used by someone else.

Well, last weekend that decision had been made for me. And to top it off, he also harvested some leaves from a couple of the plants and left the cuttings in water on the counter. Right where I prepare all of my food. I started trying to think of various ways I could incorporate the fresh basil into whatever I was making Every Single Time I was in the kitchen. Finally, after two days I'd cracked. I chopped up the fresh basil and sprinkled it over a tossed salad.

Oh. My. Gawd. The flavor completely permeated the salad. You could even taste it through the dressing! It wasn't overwhelming, but you could definitely tell it was there.

Then, yesterday morning, amidst no small amount of discomfort, I tagged along for another trip to the herb stand. I was completely blown away at the different varieties of plants that were on display! Not thinking, I left my darling at the table and went to the far end to read the labels on different pots.

Lemongrass: used in a variety of Thai cuisine; has cancer combative properties; wonderful in soups, stews, teas and to give any and all of your meats that subtle citrus flavor.

Chives: a memeber of the onion family; just cut some sprigs up and sprinkle on potatoes, mix with sour cream or anything else that would benefit from the sweet onioney taste.

Cilantro: also known as Chinese parsley; used in a variety of Mediterranean and Mexican food; the seeds are called Coriander and when ground to a powder it is called Cumin, the predominant seasoning in taco mixes; the leaves are the main herb used to give salsas their flavor.

Aloe Vera: the only naturally occurring source of vitamin B12; the gel has antibacterial and antifungal properties; used to treat a multitude of mild inflammations including burns, scrapes, cuts, sore throat, toothaches, intestinal inflammations and the like; also has moisturizing and healing properties good for a variety of skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and sun damage.

Where I'd acquired this information I couldn't tell you. But with each and every plant I had pointed out, as soon as my back was turned it was being loaded into our bag. It felt like Christmas!

Not long after we got home, he left again saying he had to pick up a few things for work. I laid down for a nap. When I woke up, he was just coming home and had bought a flower box to plant my herbs on the porch, along with 2 more pots for the lemongrass and the aloe vera plant.

Now I'm finding excuses to to go outside and look at my pretty herbs. And fight the fear that they'll be dead in a week.

1 comment:

  1. I *love* what a cook you are. Kev's just doing his herb thing, too - mainly basil and...god, I don't know. I'm *inside* most of the time. But I DO know that I luurve me some lemongrass! So post some of your favorite recipes!!