I simply LOVE my herbs!
But I certainly do not have a green thumb! I suppose some of them really want to live, they really don’t want to give up, or they are mutating genetically and becoming like cactuses: they store all the water they get for when they have to face tough times :P
I am particularly fond of my basil :) Even so, I have to replace it once or twice a year, but it is only because when I go on vacation he can’t stand to be away from me, maybe he believes I’ll never be back and gives up. Basil with separation anxiety! But when I am home, oh the basil thrives! I always have a lot more than I need, and I tell you, I use it A LOT! Last year it even tried to bloom, just to show off I am sure. Sadly I had to get rid of the flowers: you should not let your herbs flower, they will spend their energy in trying to reproduce to the detriment of the quality of the leaves.
Recipes with Basil:
Tomato sauce: Boil for several minutes 1 box parmalat strained tomatoes, 2 tbs olive oil, oregano to taste and lots of basil leaves broken in pieces with your hands.
Caprese: Slice tomatoes and mozzarella, sprinkle with olive oil, salt and basil.
Pizza: add basil to whatever red pizza (pizza with tomato sauce) for increased flavour.
Then comes my sage :) I have been trying to grow some sage for over 1 year! It just would not work! I planted a plant, and it soon became a bunch of wooden sticks! I also planted seeds, soon they sprouted, I was happy like a kid with his science experiment! Sadly, it took quite a long time for the little sprouts to become big enough to be able to take some leaves to cook… and at some point they all died, we never got to taste it. Before I did not have the heart to take leaves since it would have meant to kill the little plant, and then they started suffering and I thought probably they needed all their leaves to make it :(
Last Christmas ALL my plants died, the wooden sticks of the original plant of sage where still in a pot, and all the other plants looked just like that too! I was sooo sad. Then one day… a leaf sprouted from one of the wooden sticks: UNBELIEVABLE! But I did not take any action, the thing was dead, I had already spent a lot of time and energy on it, I just left it sitting there. Somehow though, it seems it decided to give it a try and now it has so many beautiful, big leaves! I almost cannot believe it but I own a plant of sage :D See how many leaves are sprouting from the wooden stick?!! I still try not to pay too much attention to it, given its behavior I believe it is shy :P
Recipes with sage
Sauce for gnocchi: Melt butter with lots of leaves of sage broken in pieces with your hands.
Roasted potatoes: Cut the potatoes, stir in a metal with olive oil, salt and leaves of sage broken in pieces with your hands. Bake at 400ºF (200ºC) for 30 minutes, turning once.
Fried sage: I am going to have to ask my grandma for this recipe :P
This guy here is oregano, and I erroneously mistaken it for boxwood basil for years! Isn’t it pretty?! If you are looking for a resilient good looking plant, this is it, I tell you, this baby will just keep growing! I don’t use it to cook since I use dried oregano, but it was given to me from a friend a looong time ago together with other herbs (thanks Mel, I loved it!). Everything else died (in the short or long run) but this guy… he is now part of the family ;)
Recipes with oregano
Tomato sauce (see above)
Pizza: add lots of oregano to whatever pizza you are making! Or make puff pastry pizzette
Caprese: as an alternative to caprese with basil. Caprese with oregano is very tasty!
Meat marinades: oregano works well for meat marinades.
Bread: for a taste of italy in your home made bread mix oregano in the dough or top the bread with a good sprinkle of oregano.
Dip: Feeling in the mood for a snack or appetizer? Mix some olive oil, oregano and if you’d like balsamic vinegar, then dip some bread in it.
Finally we have a new entry, Max’s mint, just waiting to become a tasty mojito :P But who knows, maybe it could even make it through the summer… and be useful for quite a few mojitos
Recipes with mint
Chicken marinated with yogurt and mint
Pasta with swordfish: coming soon!
Ah, I almost forgot, all the herbs live happily in the patio with some good company…
Doesn’t she have a beautiful pattern on her back? Last summer we were able to follow (comfortably from the sofa) the life of these little guys. We went through all the courtship (big red throats popping out and a lot of push-ups), mating, pregnancy, and finally the arrive of the little ones! Just like watching Discovery Channel, only for real! Florida always surprises me with its thriving wildlife, I suppose growing up in the city in Italy did not teach me much…
I’m growing cilantro right now, which I love (& also I’m trying to grow a strawberry plant, but with no luck- it’s almost dead..time to start over :D)
Growing up in Melbourne, I watched the life cycle of many lizards, I love when they stick out their red throats. And did you know their tails can come off and grow back if they are injured. Pretty cool!