Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Herb Garden

We are condo dwellers for now so will not be having a vegetable garden.  All of our citrus trees are back in San Antonio as well receiving attention and care from Jamison and Luiz.  We were able to create an herb garden to feel like we have our "plot of land".  We are currently growing Chives, Spearmint, Cilantro, Basil, and Parsley.  We are also growing a serrano plant (random).  Rosemary is my absolute favorite and I could not get that to grow from seed this season.  Maybe I will buy a starter plant.

So what am I using all of these for?  I shall tell you.

I have never been a huge fan of fresh parsley in an uncooked form in recipes.  It is too strong for me.  I have been really enjoying it in a cooked form in Italian food.  Add it to your meatballs, stir it into your ground beef, or marinate your chicken in oil, crushed red pepper, and parsley. You can also sprinkle the parsley on your garlic bread.  Parsley and I are becoming better friends.

I have never actually used real chives.  In almost every recipe that called for them, I substituted green onion.  Chives make your dish look beautiful and add a very mild onion flavor.  Chives are in many  of  Julia's Mastering the Art of French Cooking Cookbook.  I am enjoying using these mostly for the cool factor.

I love basil...almost as much as rosemary.  At Thai restaurants, I  order the Basil Bowl. I love to add fresh basil on top of pizza.  I love to stir it into pasta salad or cooked pasta.  I love to sprinkle it over mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, olive oil and salad vinegar.  The best tip I read was to pick your leaves from the top of the plant frequently.  This keeps your plant from going to seed and helps the plant to produce more leaves.  I have one plant that it about 6 inches tall and that is all I have needed.  I can literally strip it of almost all of its leaves and then the next week, the plant looks full and green again. 

Even though I drink large amounts of hot tea, iced tea, and fun drinks I never remember to put any mint in them.  Does anybody have any favorite recipes or recommendations for how to use our mint?

I am not sure I will ever be able to plant enough cilantro to sustain us continuously.  Luckily, this is one of the more affordable herbs to purchase from the grocery store.  I purchase this almost every time I go.  Cilantro goes in fresh salsa, steak marinades, Asian food, Mexican food.  I have no clue how I manage to use an entire clump of cilantro in a 2 week period, but I do!

What other herbs should I be growing?  How are you using the herbs that I am growing?  Do share!

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At June 27, 2012 at 8:53 AM , Anonymous erin said...

i'm about to start a garden too - so far, basil and rosemary, but i have room for one or two other herbs. maybe dill?

At June 27, 2012 at 9:24 AM , Blogger KEE said...

How about adding some oregano to your herb garden mix? It is so good in everything italian along with the basil.

At June 27, 2012 at 2:41 PM , Blogger Janet said...

Dill dip, good. Sounds like a great idea.

At June 27, 2012 at 2:42 PM , Blogger Janet said...

Seems to be big in Cuban food too. Does it grow like a ground cover?

At June 28, 2012 at 11:29 PM , Blogger Elena said...

Your palate is awesomely diverse!

I have oregano in my herb garden and it does appear to grow like ground cover. I like to make tea with it when we are congested and squeeze a lemon on it with a teaspoon of honey or so.

A GF raved about fresh bruschetta not to long ago so I used parsley, oregano and basil from the herb garden to add to the tomatoes, onions, and garlic. Let's not forget the olive oil.

I use cilantro to make guac and it goes well in soups as well.

At July 1, 2012 at 1:17 PM , Blogger Janet said...

Oregano in tea? Very interesting.


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