Thursday, July 2, 2015

Resurfacing and Relocating

It's been little over a year since my last post. Yikes! A lot has happened, including a move. So, Herbs in the Burgh is now more like Herbs in the Greater Burgh Area. But that's OK. We can still have herb-infused fun! In fact, one great thing about where I live now is that I actually have a little outdoor area where I can keep potted herbs. Check out the spread of basil, parsley, chives, and aloe:

 I'm kind of surprised that the basil, parsley, and chives are doing so well. I wasn't expecting much when I swooped up the plants at a local produce market, but thought I might as well try (and the plants were on sale, so what the heck?). This deck is great, but it doesn't get as much sun as herbs like basil and parsley need and crave.

So having this little herb garden right off of my living room door has been great so far. I love going out and picking a little chives to put in scrambled eggs, or basil (and parsley, if you're feeling really herby!) to make an impromptu feta, tomato, and kalamata olive salad, and, of course, caprese! I used the basil to jazz up a golden beet and fennel salad (beets and fennel compliments of my CSA).

Which, by the way, if you are obsessed with herbs like me and look for ways to incorporate them into your cooking as much as possible, this list of veggie and herb pairings is awesome. As for the aloe, I like using pure aloe gel as an easy, simple face mask, but I also plan on experimenting with a yogurt and aloe face mask. The probiotics in yogurt and calming properties of aloe do wonders for sensitive skin.

If you're still out there, periodically checking in on my blog, thanks for sticking around! If you're new to this blog, welcome! I hope to not disappear for another year!

Friday, June 6, 2014

"Powerhouse" Parsley

I think I wrote a post in the past making the case for the nutritional value of parsley which is so often used--and then discarded--as garnish. A new list of  "powerhouse" veggies lists parsley in the Top 10! It's the only herb to make the list. That's a rather prestigious honor to just be used as a pretty face atop an entree!

If you're looking for a tasty way to incorporate substantial amounts of parsley into meals, try out this simple salad creation that uses parsley as an equal-contender ingredient, not as an afterthought. I'm not good with providing amounts, so personalize it to fit your needs. =)

Cooked cranberry beans (these beans are lovely, and they cook up big, tender, and meaty.)
Romaine lettuce, chopped
Sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
Parsley sprigs (don't chop, just use the whole leaves)
Feta or goat cheese, crumbled
Lemon juice
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Put all ingredients on a bed of the romaine lettuce. Use the parsley like you mean it! Eat and enjoy!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Moving Outdoors

Wow, many moons have passed since my last post. Bet you thought I was gone for good. But I'm back! And as I'm convalescing from what took me away, herb-related activities have been helping me heal, the most exciting of which is starting an actual, outdoor herb garden with my mom (along with growing veggies too). We've planted some starter plants of flat-leaf parsley, peppermint, sweet basil, purple basil, dill, and cilantro, and have some seeds baking for more parsley. We used the raised-bed, square-foot gardening method, and it really was quite easy to set up. Not a total breeze, but it was light, gentle work, good for a weakened body and an indented mind.

For indoor herb fun yesterday, I played with fresh ginger. First, I sliced up a bunch of (peeled) ginger and boiled it in water to make a batch of tummy-soothing ginger tea. I then challenged myself to come up with a good use for the boiled ginger byproduct, and came up with, together with my mom, the blueprint for what could be a tasty, yet healthy treat: Ginger Pecan Drops. Melted dark chocolate mixed with the boiled ginger (minced) and toasted pecans (chopped), plopped into drops, chilled, then lightly dusted with some powdered sugar. The powder sugar was an attempt to sweeten up the only chocolate we had on hand: 100%, unsweetened cocao. So yeah. If a dark chocolate bar is used, the powdered sugar might not be needed. Experiment to be continued...

I started the day today with another cup of the fresh ginger tea, heated, and with a couple teaspoons of fresh lemon juice. For those who are looking to cut caffeine intake, it was definitely an invigorating way to start the day, the warm spiciness of the infused ginger a light, yet assertive slap in the face. And supposedly ginger itself does have stimulant properties, so there ya go. It's going to be hot in the Burgh today, so later on I'm going to try the ginger tea on ice, perhaps mixed with some fresh peppermint leaves and maybe just a hint of honey for a soft kiss-sweetness.

Well, it's good to be back, and I think I'll stick around for awhile. =)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Grab a Twig of Rosemary and... Paint!

I'm super excited to share with you an event I went to at the Mattress Factory on Saturday. It was an art lab specifically focused on using herbs in pieces of artwork; the title of the lab was called "From Herbs to Art." Imagine my excitement when I found out about this event!! So many !!!!!!.

While not quite what I thought it would be (we didn't get to wander in the herb garden on the grounds because it wasn't in bloom yet; we used herbs that were bought from the grocery store instead), I'm glad I went. It was fun to use herbs as inspiration for artwork and not just as objects in a still life, but as actual implements used to create a piece of art, to be touched and felt (and smelled!) and included as an active, participatory agent in the creative process. I also had been putting off going to this exhibit on water, the artist of whom I had the pleasure of meeting and hearing speak about her present work in Larimer. So, in addition to leaving the museum feeling refreshed from some herb-centered art play, I walked away with a honed, revamped appreciation of water.

I can't wait to experiment more with herby artwork. More layouts, more herbs, more colors, more chaos. Endless possibilities! Here's a sample of my first experiments to leaf you with. ;)

What you're looking at: a print of a rosemary twig with separated leaves on the sides, and smudging in the bottom corner that was made using sage leaves.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Time to Till the Sill

Spring is coming. It may be crawling on its way, but we've jumped the clocks forward, had a couple nice days here and there, and the sun is gracing us with its presence here in the Burgh (although as I pick up writing this post, it's foggy and the sky is a thick dustgray here!). Despite last year being a disappointment with the growing aspect of this project, I'm going to give it another go this year. So, it's time to brush off my bag of seedling soil, roll up my sleeves, and... well, just wait for the sun to settle in.

One nice thing about doing an indoor growing project is that there isn't as much labor-intensive preparation involved as there is with outdoor growing. In fact, there is relatively little for me to do this year by way of preparation. For those of you who have been following along since the blog's inception, you may remember that my growing space--my large window sill--was shamefully cluttered. Not so this year! I've managed to keep the sill clutter-free, even with the early termination of the growing and through the long winter. For most people, this may not seem like a big deal, but I've had a running problem with clutter, which the photos from the sill this time last year certainly testify to. Perhaps this little herb project helped me clean up my act!

All the space needs is just a quick clean with a soapy rag.


That is how you till a sill.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Link Dump (Every Blog Deserves a Good One)