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.

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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