I will get to herb blogging in a minute, but first I have some very exciting news to share. Earlier today I got an e-mail from one of our regular herb bloggers, Squeezeweasel, from Gastronomy Domine. She noticed that someone had come to her blog from something called Best of Blogs, and when she checked, she found that Gastronomy Domine and Kalyn's Kitchen had both made the list of ten finalists for Best of Blog Awards - Best Cooking/Recipe Blog. Well needless to say, we are very excited! Flattered too, with some of the great blogs in the list of finalists. Voting starts on Tuesday, so when it does I'll let you know where to go in case you want to vote for one of us. (And don't you think it's pretty darn cool that out of ten finalists, two of them are herb bloggers.)
Now, on to the herb blogging report for this week. Are you ready to learn about new herbs and plants? I'm always amazed how much I learn every week. And I think it's kind of fitting that the food blogging event where you can always learn new things is hosted by a teacher. Thanks to all my herb blogging friends who share their knowledge with us, week after week.
Santa Venetia, California, U.S.A. The first person to start out the herb blogging this week was Cookiecrumb, who posted in Praise of Parsley. She had a photo of the adorable Herb Blogging Dog,Bean Sprout, chasing a butterfly into the parsley plant and shared how parsley became an acquired taste for her after she started growing her own flat leaf parsley. Cookiecrumb tells us the flat leaf parsley has more subtle flavors and better mouth feel than the curly type, and gives tips for how to keep it good in the fridge. There is also something new (again) on Cookiecrumb's blog, which according to polls, more than half the people in the U.S. will like. (Since I am a teacher, with students who sometimes read my blog, I will be unable to tell you whether or not I really, really like the new blog header.)
Forest Falls, California, U.S.A. The next to report in was a new blogger, Cyndi, from Cookin with Cyndi. Cyndi and I have something in common, since she is serving as full time president of her local teacher's union, a job I also held in my local. When Cyndi mentions the word negotiations on her blog, I think to myself, "Gee, those fourth grade students sure are cute." For Weekend Herb Blogging, Cyndi shares a cute photo of something she calls a pincushion plant, botanical name Nertera Granadensis. It was a gift from a friend who retired after 40 years of teaching! The plant reminded him of how Cyndi is always getting poked and prodded in her teacher's union job. Cyndi reports she has a black thumb, but luckily her husband is tending the plant.
Malaysia Rokh from the great blog Tham Jiak managed to fit in Weekend Herb Blogging, even though she is in her last semester of school and a big project is on the horizon. (Congratulations Rokh. The end is near!) As usual, she manages to give us a very interesting post, this time about the Chrysamthemum and its uses in Asia. I had no idea that tea was made from the chrysamthemum flower, let alone a drink called Chrysamthemum Ginseng Tail Drink. Rokh also tells the story of a legend around the Chrysanthemum, once believed to be a source of youth.
New York City, New York, U.S.A. A Weekend Herb Blogging regular, the lovely Paz, wrote about asparagus this week. Paz reports she was not that crazy about asparagus until she started to cook it herself. She took a great photo of some asparagus in the market, gives us information about the nutritional value of asparagus (it's good for you!), and shares a great sounding recipe for Soft Boiled Eggs with Asparagus on Toast. (Note to self: make some low carb bread so I can try this recipe.)
Pistoia, Tuscany, Italy Another regular herb blogger, Ilva from Lucullian Delights - an Italian Experience, made something for Weekend Herb Blogging which did not turn out the way she had planned. She was going to skip herb blogging, but when I visited her blog and saw her wonderful post about Oven Baked Cherry Tomatoes with Goat's Cheese and Olives, I "persuaded" her that this since tomatoes are a plant, and she used rosemary infused oil, this was certainly a post that was eligible for herb blogging. When you see her wonderful looking tomatoes, you'll be glad that I did.
Cambridge, United Kingdom Squeezeweasel had a lovely post this week, combining the topics of garlic and rosemary in a most interesting way. First, she showed us her garlic plants, some planted in beds and others in pots, an experiment to determine which way of growing them seems best. Peeking behind the garlic is a pot with rosemary growing. The rosemary is a touching reminder of SW's wedding day, since it came from her wedding bouquet. After the wedding, her mother rooted the rosemary and replanted it in a pot. Now, SW can carry a memory of the wedding with her no matter where she moves. (By the way, congrats to Mr. SW, who just finished the thesis for his Ph.D.!)
Andhra Pradesh, India Sailu's Food - Indian Food - Andhra Recipes - Ayurvedic Cooking is the blog title of our next poster. Sailu has redesigned her blog with wonderful new colors. Now that I am trying to pinpoint the geography of each post, I pulled out the atlas and discovered that Andhra Pradesh is a province in Southern India. Sailu sent a fascinating post about Red Sorrel Leaves (Gongara Pachadi). The sorrel plant comes with green or red leaves, and the red are more sour tasting, according to Sailu. In Jamaica these leaves are used to make Red Sorrel punch, and in Andhra recipes they are an ingredient in curries, stews, dals, and spicy pickles. Sailu gives us a wonderful sounding recipe for Andhra spicy pickle which comes from amma (her mother). When you read this post, don't miss the comments, where people who have had the Andhra spicy pickle rave about the taste.
Toronto, Canada Next to share was Ruth from Once Upon a Feast, with a fantastic piece on how to make gremolata, an Italian mixture used to garnish foods, made from a combination of parsley, lemon zest, and fresh garlic. I loved reading about this, since it was something I had seen in cookbooks but never made myself. Ruth used her gremolata to garnish Osso Buco (something else I've never cooked) and also to add scrumptous flavor to steamed spinach. She shares both those recipes, and a wonderful photo of the gremolata.
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Over in Australia, Ed Charles from Tomato has unpacked his bags, and snapped a great photo of some tomatoes just starting to ripen. What is making Ed angry and irritated is that one particularly juicy looking tomato has been about 3/4 eaten by a wild critter. Ed suspects a bird, and threatens to post a Weekend Cat blogging photo if his cat ever manages to catch the bird! (I don't know whether to be excited to see that beautiful tomatoes like this are still growing somewhere or despondent about the poor quality tomatoes I'm able to get at this time of year!)
Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A. My own post this week was about ginger root, apparently very popular despite my choosing it by default when I could not find rapini in any of the markets where I looked. I gave a tip about storing the ginger root in the freezer, then grating off some when you need it. I also shared a Teriyaki Chicken recipe from my past, one that I learned from a friend who had lived for a time in Hawaii. Judging from the comments on my post, most cooks love ginger and use it often.
The weekend is over already for some of you, and here in Utah it is winding down. I'm roasting a chicken in the oven, and getting ready to think about food prep for lunches for the week. I like to cut up veggies, wash salad greens, and get some things out of the freezer so I'm a bit more ready to make a nutritious lunch for school each day. (If you're under 30, these are habits I've acquired later in life!) Be sure to check back next week for more posts from my series Who Knew Low Carb Could Taste So Good. If you're a new lower carb dieter, hang in there, phase two is a lot easier! Plus, I've got a great phase one recipe coming for you tomorrow.
Don't forget, check out Weekend Dog Blogging at Sweetnicks and Weekend Cat Blogging at Eatstuff.