Gardener's Grapevine 2012.11.21

Written by David Green.

This week, as we celebrate all we are thankful for and prepare a bountiful feast for our special day with family and friends, think about your food a little deeper. Most food is not too exciting without a little help. Spices are God’s way of zipping up our food. As the chef Emeril says, “Put a little BAM into the dish.”

I grow herbs in the summer, harvest them in the early fall, dry them, and store them until needed. Would a turkey taste the same without poultry spice? Would apple pie taste remotely the same without the spices?

My daughter, mother-in-law and I will be cooking our Thanksgiving dinner this year and it is a lot of fun to see what everyone’s favorites are. This has been the year of invitations for this special day and its hard to tell such good friends no, but how many meals can you eat in one day? We truly feel blessed with so many great friends and family. I enjoy hearing about their favorite foods and how they prepare them.

In the winter it is such a treat to have fresh herbs to cook with, and they are very costly if you purchase them in the grocery store. As I was looking through a copy of Mary Janes Farm, an absolutely great magazine, I came across an idea for an inside herb garden. They took an old wide wooden plank about an inch thick and drilled large holes in it about four to six inches apart. This was nailed or screwed to brackets attached to the sides of a window. The shelf needs to be tight to the window, as the herbs cannot take the cold coming off the window. Next they put ceramic pots planted with herbs in the holes. I plan to do this across the big kitchen window and hopefully enjoy fresh herbs on our food all winter long.

Dried herbs are fine and you can increase the amount of dried herbs to intensify their flavor, but nothing makes for a great meal like fresh herbs. My favorite Sunday go-to is fresh rosemary sprigs on a whole chicken baked in the oven with carrots and potatoes. The rosemary infuses its flavor into all the meat and vegetables very subtly. And homemade apple pie with vanilla ice cream for desert.

Whatever rocks your taste buds, fresh is always best. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, make it flavorful.

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