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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Foodie Friday - Herb Garden

OK - so I realized right after I made that last post that I had something else I wanted to do for Foodie Friday next week. So, I finished this one up and you're getting it today.

Oh the indecision... it's a killer, isn't it?

So like it or not, here's this week's installment.


A wonderful thing about summer is the food. Of course, that's a wonderful thing about fall... winter... oh heck, spring too. But they're all different.

Many (including one of my bff's) will disagree with me on this, but one lovely thing about summer is the tomatoes. The fresh, vine ripe, sweet tomatoes. I got some at Costco last weekend.

Which, by the way, Costco last weekend was a mad-house. Is Christmas coming early this year? Because I don't think that everyone there was just buying tomatoes. Good grief.

But I digress.

So I bought these tomatoes and paired them with some fresh cucumbers from my man's aunt's garden. I added some feta, fresh herbs and EVOO and we had ourselves a beautiful and quite tasty, I might add, Greek salad.

Which kind of leads into my topic for today. Not really. But hey, it's my blog, and so I'll say it does.


I deeply believe in having a fresh herb garden. For one thing, there are times when fresh herbs are just preferable to dried for a particular recipe. Especially for grilled or fresh dishes. Dried herbs are perfect for soups, stews, and things that cook for a while. So, in order to have fresh herbs you either grow them, or buy them. I try very hard to not buy them because typically all I need is a few sprigs... then the rest of it eventually goes bad. With my own garden... I don't have to worry about it going bad.

I just have to worry about killing it.

Which is actually hard to do with herbs. Even in the Texas heat. Most of them are fairly well adapted to hot and dry conditions.

But here's a run down of essential herbs in my garden...

Sweet Basil
It's almost indestructible. I use it quite a bit with tomatoes in the summer months. But it is an annual which means you have to plant a new one each year. So worth it, though, IMO.

Lots and lots of thyme. Right now I actually have three different varieties. The one pictured is lemon thyme which has a wonderful citrusy taste and smell. Wonderful with seafood such as shrimp along with some lemon juice to enhance this flavor.

I believe these were called garlic chives. They are very flavorful and easier than anything to grow.

Something new for this year,

Purple Sage
I haven't really used this yet, but I thought it was such a gorgeous little plant that I had to get one. I still need to do some research on what to use it with. But I think it would probably be great on some grilled chicken.

Not pictured: Rosemary (I use this all the time, especially on lamb chops. However, ours is as old as our house and is on it's last leg... I've got to dig it up in the fall and plant a new one), Flat Leaf Parsley (I use this a lot, but unfortunately, mine didn't survive a transplant within my yard... still looking for that perfect place for them), Oregano.


Greek Salad

Several vine ripe tomatoes (cut in largish bite size pieces)
Sliced cucumbers (cut in half if they are large - but bite size)
Chopped fresh herbs (any combination of basil, oregano, thyme, etc wll do)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Feta cheese (I prefer slices over crumbled)
Extra Virgin Olive oil

When we were in Greece several years ago, we noticed it was served with the vegetables layered on bottom with some salt/pepper and some herbs. Then the slices of feta on top with the herbs sprinkled on top of that. Then the EVOO was drizzled on top of that. It's so beautiful and cool and delicious for a summer side dish.


The G's said...

There is nothing better than fresh basil!!