Tag Archives: Thyme

Do This!: Get Back to Your Roots

Get Back to Your Roots

Get Back to Your Roots

There is something very gratifying about growing your own greens. Herbs, flowers, veggies, whatever. I must have acquired this love to ‘putz’ in the garden from my Italian father, who can almost always be found in this worn-out threads strolling the beds, pulling weeds, watering the seedlings and making our backyard look lush.

But there is more than just beauty to growing your own garden — it is quite a practical thing to do. During the summer, I often want to make a simple tomato and basil salad or fresh salsa for a BBQ.  But as I stroll through Whole Foods, I realize how quickly these things add up — a pint of tomatoes for $3.99, large bunches of parsley, cilantro basil and mint for $1.99 each {and 1/8 of which I actually need and end up wasting the rest}. The benefit of growing a few simple herbs that you like to use all the time is your own free herb aisle that costs you nothing more than a few seeds {or seedlings} and will last you from spring to late fall.  And let’s be honest, it’s more effort to go to the store to buy these things than it is to sprinkle a little water on your plants each day so that all you have to do is snip off what you need whenever your cooking heart desires.

Even if you don’t have much space {concrete jungle dwellers}, all you need is a few window boxes or small pots and you’re set. For most things you do need sunlight, but a few herbs will do just fine on a windowsill if that’s all you have access to.

Here’s what you need to get started:

  1. Small plastic cups and plastic wrap {if starting from seeds}
  2. Window boxes or pots {if starting from seedlings and to transfer your seeds to once they become seedlings. You can usually fit 2-3 kinds of herbs side by side in a window box depending on how long it is. And 1 herb per round pot.}
  3. Potting soil {the kind with time-releasing nutrients is great so you get the benefit of rich soil over a few months}
  4. Water {of course}
  5. Your own two hands 🙂
If you plant nothing else, plant these:
  1. Basil {really hearty and goes great on lots of summer veg}
  2. Thyme {perfect on sauteed/grilled mushrooms, zucchini, chicken. will continue to grow inside through the winter. }
  3. Rosemary {my favorite herb! will continue to grow inside through the winter}
  4. Sage {BBQ chicken’s favorite friend!}
  5. Mint {will keep coming back in your pot EVERY year. even after it dies in the winter. That’s an easy one!}
  6. Strawberries {surprisingly easy to grow in a pot. and what a treat!}
  7. Arugula {small leaf lettuce is really easy to grow in a window box — and SO much more flavorful}
  8. Parsley and Cilantro {don’t you just hate buying an entire bunch when you only need a little}
  9. Grape tomatoes {if you have sunny outdoor space for a really large pot, you will get hundreds of little juicy tomatoes off 1-2 vines. I eat them like candy!}
Tips:
If you have the patience to start seeds in a small plastic cup with a little soil, it’s awfully gratifying to see them sprout up. Most seeds only take 1-2 weeks to germinate, so even though it’s already June, you can still start some herbs that don’t need to grow as tall as tomato plants — like basil or parsley.
  1. Get a baking sheet and line it with a plastic cup or small pyrex dish for each plant. Fill it about 3/4 of the way with light, fine soil and place your seeds on top evenly spaced.
  2. Follow the directions from your seed packet, but it will probably tell you to cover the seeds with 1/8-1/4 inch of soil. Add water to soak the soil and then cover the cup with plastic wrap and use a rubber band to secure the wrap to the sides. This will create your own little greenhouse to trap moisture and heat and help the seeds grow {especially if starting in April or May before it’s warm outside}. Add more water each morning if needed to keep the soil moist.
  3. If you start in April/May before it’s warm, keep these inside, but whenever you get a warm day you can easily transfer all the cups on the sheet to a sunny spot outdoors to benefit from the natural heat/sunlight. If you’re starting now, you can place the cups outdoors. Just make sure they are covered so the birds don’t get them!
  4. Once your seeds become ~2-inch seedlings, transfer them to a larger pot with soil and let them spread their roots!
First Strawberry of the Season!

First Strawberry of the Season! (June 7th)

City Herbs

City Herbs

Sweet, Sweet Tomatoes

Sweet, Sweet Tomatoes

Recipes to Showcase Your Home Garden:
Creole Roasted Fresh Corn-Tomato Salsa
Spinach, Strawberry & Halloumi Salad
Tomato, Basil & Feta Salad
Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken
Whole-Grain Mustard & Rosemary Pork Chops

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recipe goodness :: herbed buttermilk biscuits

Herbed Buttermilk Biscuits

Today is my dear friend Kristin’s birthday — the same one who went to Paris and loves all things french. So in honor of her big day, I made her these incredible herbed buttermilk biscuits from french food writer and cookbook author, Dorie Greenspan. I love when someone takes something so ordinary {enter biscuit} and adds one small, but brilliant touch {enter thyme} to reinvent the old standard. Dorie is a master with pastry, so I had no doubt these would turn out to be a fantastic breakfast treat, but biting into the warm, flaky biscuit and surprising your still somewhat sleepy taste buds with the fresh herby thyme is a delightfully unexpected way to start your day.

Herbed Buttermilk Biscuits
{From Dorie Greenspan
; adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours}

Makes 12 biscuits | 425º | Cook Time: 14-18 minutes

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 TBS baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp dried or 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, crushed between your fingers
6 TBS cold unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
3/4 cup cold buttermilk, well shaken

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 425º F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, soda, sugar and thyme together in a bowl. Drop in the butter and, using your fingers, toss to coat the pieces with flour.  Quickly, working with your fingers, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is pebbly.  You’ll have pea-size pieces, pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pieces of every size in between – and that’s just right.

Pour the buttermilk over the ingredients, grab a fork and toss and gently turn the ingredients until you’ve got a nice soft dough.  Now reach into the bowl with your hands and give the dough a quick gently kneading – 3 or 4 turns should be just enough to bring everything together.

Lightly dust a work surface with flour and turn out the dough.  Dust the top of the dough very lightly with flour and pat the dough out until it is 1/2-inch thick.  Don’t worry if it isn’t completely even. Use a knife or biscuit cutter to divide the dough into 12 pieces and transfer the pieces to the baking sheet.

Slide into oven and bake until the biscuits are puffed and golden brown, 14 to 18 minutes. Serve immediately {with delicious jam or honey — Fauchon is my favorite french jam if you really want a franco-breakfast}.

Breakfast Inspiration:
recipe goodness :: how to cook the perfect sunny side-up egg
Give Your Monday Morning Mug a Kick in the Pants with Kicking Horse Coffee
Greenmarket: Put Smarter, Cheaper & More Scrumptious Food on Your Table
Michael Pollan Agreed With Me, $8 Eggs Are A Good Idea

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