Tag Archives: herbs

Who Wants Parsley?


I’m not sure what the name is for my style of gardening. Half-assed? Amateur? Laissez-faire? Thankfully, I look at gardening as a creative release—without the perfectionism I apply to my writing profession—but you gotta wonder what the heck happened when you have a garden full of parsley.

I already mentioned in my post about okra that my garden is nothing to speak of this year. I am the one to blame, although the heat and drought didn’t help. But I also love the experimentation of gardening, which is why I have collards and onions and kale scattered among a couple rows of planted (by me) carrots. So when the parsley decided to go to seed–when? last fall?–I let her go. My parsley is free!

There’s nothing like going out to snip fresh parsley for pasta or taboulleh. But I’ve got more than I can use, especially since Bill isn’t a big fan of it. I gave away a plant. I put some chopped parsley in the freezer. I’m sure I’ll put more in the freezer. (Drying herbs isn’t an option at our house because of cats and another prolific species: spiders.) And I plan to repot some plants for my winter herb garden. Or, I can just leave it tucked cosily  between the tomato plants to seed itself next year.

So last weekend when I was at the Holland Farmers Market, I was telling one of the farmers about my prolific parsley. He suggested selling it to a local organic food store but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go through the red tape of retail. On the way home I thought: Why not barter?

This post is an advertisement for my local community: If you want parsley and you’ve got something to trade for it, I’d love to barter with you. If you’re a nonprofit in need, I’m also willing to donate. And, I’m also open to suggestions for preserving and sharing my bounty!

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My Winter Herb Garden Survived the Winter


Remember back in October when I wrote a blog post about the herb garden I bought from Visser Farms? It survived the deep freeze! And we had a cold, snowy winter here in West Michigan this year.

While the plants were looking pretty grim in February, most of them pulled through to make it until spring. In fact, the arugula is about to bloom (but I snapped off the flower head) and the curly kale is back in business. The oregano was hardly fazed by the change in temps. And the cilantro has been revived. Even though it’s not quite gardening season here, I’m pleased to see that everything but the basil survived this experimental trial out on our breezeway where temps got as low as the 20’s.

I was able to snip fresh parsley throughout the winter and even made a frittata with some of the herbs and greens.

It gives me hope for next year. I might be able to start a greenhouse in our breezeway and eat fresh vegetables year-round!

My Winter Herb Garden Experiment


Today I went to the Holland Farmers Market, as I often do on Saturdays, but I know that the season will soon come to a close, so I’m thinking of the winter ahead.

Visser Farms, one of the largest vendors with a big variety of vegetables, was selling a potted herb garden that I just couldn’t resist. I was looking for a pot of parsley to keep in my breezeway, along with my rosemary, like I did last winter, when I spotted this nice mixture of herbs, kale, and arugula.

I have to say, I’m a bit skeptical about the basil surviving long. Tomorrow night temps are supposed to be in the 20’s. But my breezeway stays pretty temperate. And the windows face south, so it’s sort of like a greenhouse.

What do you think? Any chance everything will survive?

I’ll report back each month. Meanwhile, it’s nice to enjoy fresh, young green plants to snip for my culinary adventures as the season wanes into winter.

Next time I report on the herb garden, we will likely have snow!

Herbalicious Recipes from the Holland Farmers Market


At the Holland Farmers Market Chef Series today, Tamara Elhart focused on herbs in her demonstration, “Herbalicious.” 

A caterer who runs a cooking class business out of her home, Tamara had several great recipes for using herbs from your garden and at the market: Mediterranean Herbed Olive Oil, Grilled Herb Burgers, Pizza Bianca, and Potato Crisps with Herbs. (You can link to her recipes on the Holland Farmers Market website.)

Like last Saturday, the skies threatened rain so the demo was held inside, but there was still a great turnout.

Tamara had lots of good tips about using herbs:

  • Refrigerate the Mediterranean Herbed Olive Oil at least one day for the flavors to develop.
  • Snip basil leaves from the top, which also encourages growth.
  • Cut herbs in the fall to use during the winter and for gifts at the holidays.
  • Preserve herbs by storing them in boxes of kosher salt.

The Pizza Bianca recipe is an easy one that you can do either on the grill or in the oven.

When making the Potato Crisps, Tamara used an old-style mandolin to make even slices.

Because of the switch to an indoor demo, she wasn’t able to make the Grilled Herb Burgers so she grilled one ahead of time, shown here with Potato Crisps.

Here’s what they look like before grilling.

Now is the time for using fresh herbs in West Michigan and in many places around the world that are in the peak of the growing season.

What recipes are your favorites?

Fresh Herbed Goat Cheese


 

If you’re looking for a party appetizer and you’re allergic to cow dairy products, like Bill is, this recipe is an easy, tasty suggestion. What I made for a party tonight was inspired by Laura Klein’s Fresh Herbed Goat Cheese recipe from OrganicAuthority.com

Since two of the guys at the party don’t care for cilantro, and parsley is in the cilantro family, I substituted rosemary for parsley. And, because the lavender buds just popped out this weekend, I thought lavender would be a nice touch. All the herbs came from my yard: 

Thyme

Lavender

Rosemary

Chives

 Here are the herbs on the cutting board before chopping: 

 

And here’s the local chevre I used from Dancing Goat Creamery

 

First, I chopped the thyme, rosemary, and chives. Then, I simply pulled the buds off the lavender and added them to the mix. 

 

After a touch of black pepper, I rolled the cheese in the mixture and put it in plastic wrap. (You could use wax paper as an earth-friendly substitute, which I will do in the future once my plastic wrap is gone!) Then I stuck it in the fridge until party time! 

 

For those with gluten and corn allergies, you might enjoy Sami’s Bakery Millet & Flax chips as an accompaniment. You can pick these up at local health food stores (such as Nature’s Market and Harvest Health Foods in West Michigan). 

My Rosemary Survived a Michigan Winter


And my friends are jealous. However, this is the first time it’s happened. Either I got lucky or I did something right this year. I’ll share my secret with you…Let me know if it works for you next winter.

I usually plant some rosemary right in the ground, in my herb garden outside the front door for easy access from the kitchen. This plant did not survive. The one that’s in the photo was in a pot–the same pot shown in the picture–and spent last summer on the patio, where it is now.

All I did was bring the pot into our breezeway, which faces south, and watered it occasionally when the temperature wasn’t too far below freezing. I think the combination of the sunny window and the cold–but not quite freezing temperatures–kept it going.

It sat right next to the flatleaf parsley, which I later noticed had aphids on it. But once I moved the parsley outside, the aphids disappeared. I’m sure some natural predator came across them in the garden and had a feast!

Now I have rosemary to snip all summer long again–a key ingredient for potato and lamb recipes!