Our share this week was still small, but delightful. A big bunch of fresh thyme, fresh oregano, onion greens, Bibb lettuce and a radish.
O.k....side note. I just wondered why I instinctively capitalized Bibb lettuce so I had to look it up.
Bibb was developed in the backyard of Jack Bibb's Grey Gables house at 411 Wapping St. in Frankfort, Ky....He was Lt. John B. Bibb, sometimes called "Jack," and he served during the War of 1812, represented Logan County in the Kentucky House of Representatives and the state Senate from 1827 to 1834. An amateur horticulturist, Bibb developed the lettuce and shared seed with friends. It was first commercially produced in 1935.
Anyway, during the day yesterday I had planned to make an oregano pesto with the fresh oregano, the onion greens, some pecans and some parmesan. I thought that on a bit of pasta with a salad of the Bibb lettuce and radish would be lovely. We also had some chicken we had to grill so that too. By the time I got home though and sat and talked to Ernie a bit, sitting outside in the front yard and watching the sky....my energy flagged a bit. I looked at my herbs and realized I should have put them in some water to keep them fresher and I realized that I had let my Bibb lettuce wilt too. I read this article and realized I'd done exactly what you shouldn't do...just throw it on a refrigerator shelf. Lesson: store it correctly next time Cynthia! I should have wrapped it in paper towel and put it in a plastic bag. O.k....next time! I promise.
So my plans weren't going so well but then I read an earlier email I'd received from a blog friend, Sarah Head, in the UK. Sarah has read my blog for a long time and I may not hear from her often but I'm always happy when I do. She left this comment the day Judi died and I've never forgotten it:
Cynthia, just wanted you to know that we sent distant healing to Judi, you and all your family at our public healing session this morning here in Solihull, UK. Your blog has been an inspiration ever since you took Judi to live with you and I know you and her friends and family have enabled and enriched her dying.
I've just never forgotten that. It's funny how some kindnesses stick with you. You appreciate them all, but certain ones stick with you.
In responding to last week's Sola Gratia post she mentioned that if I had a lot of mint I could make an infused vinegar and an infused honey, and she kindly sent me two handouts she had prepared. I read those and felt inspired. I told Ernie we'd have the grilled chicken and I'd throw together whatever vegetables we had for the side. Then I trotted into the kitchen to make an infused vinegar with my herbs. It couldn't be simpler, a jar with your herbs and cidar vinegar.
Here are Sarah's directions:
To make a vinegar from fresh herbs, gather on a dry day once the dew has gone from them and shake them to make sure that you are not going to include ants, flies, spiders or other insects in the mixture. Fill a glass jar with the aerial parts and pour cider vinegar over them. You can include stems if they are not too woody, or you might want to use only the leaves and flowers. Stir the mixture with a chopstick to bring all the air bubbles to the top (you'll be amazed how air bubbles stick to the leaves) and then screw the lid of the jar on tightly. (This is to ensure that when you pick the jar up regularly to shake it, the lid doesn't fly off and you end up with herbs and vinegar all over the kitchen!)
If you are in a hot climate, you can use the sun to heat your vinegar. Place the vinegar jar in a sunny window or in a greenhouse where the sun can warm it over a period of time. You don't need to worry about botulism poisoning when you make herbal vinegars because the toxin cannot live in the acid environment. You can strain the vinegar after 3-6 weeks and use it, or leave it as long as you want. You can also use this method to make a vinegar with raspberries, blackberries or hawthorn berries.
She graciously said I could share ther handouts which have some fascinating notes and recipes and even references. I want to try the honey infusion as well! Do download both documents---they are wonderful! If you have problems downloading them just let me know. Thank you SO much Sarah!
I pulled the oregano leaves off their stems but out of sheer laziness I left the thyme leaves on. They were clean and dry so I just tossed them in my jar, got the water bubbles out with a chopstick as directed, and poured in my cidar vinegar. Now it is sitting in my sunny kitchen window, next to a sea urchin shell from Lubec, Maine and a Leaf and Dart salt dish filled with all the Lego tires that Bob the cat carries downstairs from the Lego room and drops in his water dish.
Ernie grilled the chicken beautifully...spatchcocked, salt and peppered and with some smoked paprika on top. I had some slightly lapsed asparagus and half a bunch of Swiss chard. I tossed the cut up asparagus in a hot pan with a bit of olive oil until it was almost browned but still crisp and then added the Swiss chard, salt and peppered it, and cooked it til it was wilted. Oddly enough however, the potatoes stole the show. I had some gold potatoes which I threw in the microwave until they were cooked through because I didn't feel like turning the oven on. When they were done I cut them up and let them cool while we puttered. Then I just chunked them and threw them in the pan which I'd cooked the vegetables in. I sprinkled red pepper flakes and salt and pepper over them and some the thyme I'd missed putting in the vinegar jar. I just let them sit over a medium high heat until they browned (I'm trying to learn to let things just sit...and not turn them too much) and then before serving, drizzled a bit of the chive oil I made last week over t hem. And I gotta say....SUCCESS!
As always...let me know what you're cooking!