Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Visitors next door, gathering in the herbs, and kitchen thrills and spills

Weekend visitors next door, grandchildren, endless entertainment watching their capers.  Here the just two year old ditches her best visiting sandals 

for her favorite climbing shoes, and favorite outfit, ready to tackle the Big Front Step

while her five year old brother obligingly holds open the screen door till she eventually gets there.

And the lazy cook thinking about making pesto, the herbs flourishing wildly and ready for pesto, thinks, hm, got all the ingredients, the parmigian cheese, the olive oil, the garlic, the crushed walnuts, not a fan of pine nuts.  But I didn't have the energy to make pesto.  However, the herbs needed to be caught right now at peak.

Seen here, foreground to background,  tarragon, rosemary

thyme, Thai basil, spearmint, oregano, basil, sage.  Particularly happy about the Thai basil, since I brought it back from seeds I saved last year.

Then I needed to pack them somehow to freeze.  Just freeze, don't fiddle about doing anything first.  This is great when you need a few twigs of herbs to lay on top of the chicken or the fish, in the oven.  Also to give to the neighbor when he grills meat, a rosemary twig tossed on the hot grill gives terrific flavor to meat, I'm told, not a partaker, but I can smell the herby effect.

So I knew there was a use for those bags the wine comes in. I felt a bit like an old farm lady doing this, putting up me herbs, except that she was probably not putting them in a freezer, nor using wine bottle bags.  

Maybe her Lydia Pinkham's Mixture came discreetly in a brown paper bag?  a lot of farm ladies used to swear by it, I know.  Not surprising, when you realize that this "tonic" was a pretty high proof alcohol!  Well, before the Model T arrived, a lot of women scarcely ever got off the farm, so there wasn't a lot of kicking up of heels to be done.  Enter Mrs. P.  But I digress.

Then, that done, on to the business of the day, baking bread rolls. Plus one actual loaf.  I was so carried away with the herbs that I clean forgot that the baking sheet I put the rolls on wasn't a nonstick.  So the rolls baked beautifully, and were welded to the pan.  

You see them here, with some debris in the background.

Nothing daunted, I used my trusty breadknife to cut across the bottom, leaving only a bit of a crust on the pan in the place of each roll.  And now I have pre-split rolls...ready to toast and butter. And a reminder that things go wrong in the kitchen, and can be rescued without too much sturm und drang if you have the right attitude. And I hadn't even had a glass of Lydia P, either. 

The loaf came out fine, parchment paper in a nonstick loaf pan.  Probably would have done well to put parchment paper under the rolls if I'd thought of it.

Then the scraped-off debris went out for the birds, whole grain bread, good for birds. The starling who has been run ragged feeding two giant babies all week seized on it, and stuffed a big wodge of it in the first baby's beak, pushing until it went down.  It worked fine till a bluejay, butterclaws, landed wrong on the plate, scattered the lot everywhere.  But I expect it will still be devoured.  Nothing's ever wasted. 

And I did a great freecycle this weekend, a big strawberry pot, almost perfect condition, ready for me to plant something. Pic is before I scrubbed it to get a nice mellow terracotta effect instead of the rather mossy look which I'm not so fond of.

Bit late for annuals, but I'm thinking of hen and chickens, never been able to get them to succeed here, in the ground, but I think this might work.  That's an upcoming project.  I would like to bring them into the house in the fall, too, and have them in view all winter. Always good to have something interesting to see.  As long as the cats don't get bright ideas about kitty hockey..

1 comment:

  1. Good score on the strawberry planter! I've been keeping my eyes open for one like that :)


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