UPDATE: It is not too late to plant an herb garden. This column was originally published one year ago. The picture above is how it looks one year later!
June 2nd, 2011
I have a friend who is a native of Southern California and lives in a beautiful home with a view of canyons and a peak at the Pacific Ocean.
One morning, just after the sprinklers did their thing, I walked through the sliding glass door to the backyard and smelled a fresh scent of rosemary. It was as if someone was cooking herb potatoes right there in the backyard. Combine the stunning view with the savory smell and I wanted to freeze that piece of time forever.
I soon realized the three foot wide bushes were rosemary. The stems of her plants are so hardy she can cut them and use them as skewers for grilling. Imagine infusing meat and vegetables this way. Yum!
This year I am planting some herbs in a long box on my deck. It gets sun from the east. It truly is an experiment because I think there may not be enough sun. The beauty of plants is that for a very small investment you can get a big bang. If they do not make it, it’s not like losing a tree.
Along with Rosemary, I planted Italian flat leaf Parsley for everyday cooking. It has seemingly doubled already and I only put them in yesterday.
I planted Sage because not only do I love the celery green color, I love using it in poultry dishes and as a surprise flavor in lemonade. Try adding some sage to your simple syrup (water and sugar boiled until thick) for a delicious surprise. Keep a few sprigs as a mystery garnish.
Tarragon is planted next to the parsley. I use this hint of licorice flavored herb in sauces and stews. Tarragon is the star of Béarnaise sauce. Sometimes I just use it as a pass through. I will make a sauce using whole sprigs of tarragon and removing them before serving. In the middle are garlic chives.
I have never used it before but not only did I like the shape and color next to the tarragon and rosemary, when I pinched a bit with my fingers and rubbed the essential oil I got an aroma which made me hungry.
There is a distinct garlic tone. I think I will use this in a sauté of vegetables or as part of a marinade for flank steak.
Here is a current look at the garden.
The tarragon didn’t make it so this year I dropped a German Thyme in its place. It smells really good and I’m excited to use it in sauce and for grilling.
How does your garden grow?
Have a yummy week!
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Best of the Road…stay tuned!