A few months ago I harvested and dried herbs from my garden, whirled them in my mini chopper, poured them into a little spice jar and mixed in Hawaiian salt. I used it a lot. My husband would add some to organic olive oil, shake on some red chili pepper flakes, and dip torn baguette pieces into it. After making some eggs yesterday for breakfast, I saw daylight at the bottom of the jar. So I did what any sensible domestic goddess would do: I made more.
The problem with a lot of my culinary adventures is that I often don’t write them down. I might take pictures with my phone, I might write on scraps of paper, but mostly the cookbook is in my brain. I go by feel, smell, a sense of flavoring and mood. As much as I wanted to recreate the first herb mix, I also had other things ready to harvest: fennel, peppermint, sage, Italian, Thai and lemon basils, celery tango, oregano, rosemary and Italian flat-leaf parsley.
Using the microwave to dry herbs means one doesn’t have to tie sprigs and hang them upside down somewhere. Sure it’s pretty for about a day, then they look kinda lame, the spiders discover them, and in Hawaii they might get moldy before they dry. All you need to do is place leaves in a paper towel, fold it up and put the bundle on a plate in the microwave. Zap for 30-59 seconds, depending how fleshy they are, and open it up and let them air out and cool off. Once you’re through with all that microwaving, place the dried and crunchy herbs into a mini chopper and whirl until you’ve got the green pixie dust that will go with gosh darn nearly everything you cook. I like to add some Hawaiian salt to help keep the herb mix dry, and you gotta admit, it adds a bit of sparkle to your food. Keep in mind that you’ll need to track that salt before you add other salt to your recipes. Don’t wanna go overboard!
As is expected, I nurture a few chili pepper plants to keep my husband happy. We have Caribbean red, habanero, Serrano and Thai chili plants at the moment. We harvested a few of the reds and so I made Belize hot sauce. Because we didn’t have as many peppers as the recipe called for, I threw five dried ones in to the garlic, onion, and carrot as they were cooking down in the olive oil and water. Once everything was just right, I whirled them in the blender, added the juice of four limes and some vinegar, and poured the hot mess into a French jar. The husband took a dab, wheezed, sputtered and coughed, and proclaimed it to be wonderfully painful. I aim to please.
Next up? French blue lentils. OMG these are stunning. I’m going to make some for salad, some for soup, and some with sausages and Swiss chard and kale. Should I take pics and blog about it? Why not?