Friday, December 12, 2008
On My Hearth: Fresh Herbs
Beren and I usually spend Friday "happy hour" at my parent's house; this consists of us visiting with Mom to lift her spirits as well as Beren sharing a beer and some "guy time" with my Dad. It's hard being the fulltime caretaker of a cancer patient and though Dad does a phenomenal job, it's got to wear on him so we do whatever I can to lighten the load now & then. If that means a six pack and a couple of laughs to help them both escape for a while, so be it.
I don't want to cook an elaborate meal when I get home, so I'm planning a simple dinner of spaghetti (Dreamfields for me), salad and homemade bread:
PARMESAN HERB BREAD
3 cups bread flour
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup non-fat dry milk powder
1/4 cup grated Parmesan (or Asiago) cheese
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil
Put all ingredients into bread machine or follow your user's manual. Select correct bread cycle and crust color, then press start.
Note: If you use fresh herbs, add slightly more and mince finely before adding.
This can be made on the dough setting and then rolled out as a pizza or focaccia crust.
Variations: Add 1/2 cup pitted and chopped black olives (in oil) or minced fresh onions.
I used up the last of my bottled Italian dressing on the Rosemary Chicken the other day, figured it was silly to buy another prepared item when surely I have the ingredients right in my own pantry and back yard. While my friend Jersey can whip things things up without instructions, I am not as talented so I did a quick google search and was surprised at the lack of dressing recipes using fresh herbs! All of them called for powdered garlic, dried basil, etc. which was not gonna work for me. I finally found this fabulous site and since I also wanted an excuse to use my new mortar & pestle, this recipe fit the bill (no pun intended).
I know, those of you living in cooler climates don't want to read about the fact that my herb garden is still lush, green and in full swing! However, don't be too envious; I'll remind you of this moment in mid-summer when I can't keep a darn thing alive because it's too freakin' hot! And, besides, I'd give up fresh basil for a white Christmas..sigh..any of you northerners have room at the inn for me and my entourage? I'll bring you some fresh herbs, I promise! *wink*