23 December 2010

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme...

I love rosemary! I think I started loving it when I planted a bush several years ago - mainly for the reason of having a few sprigs here and there for random recipes. But that bush has done far more than offer up a couple of sprigs a few times a year. I credit it with (finally) jump-starting my labor with Thomas (after three weeks of "home rest"; then permission to have the baby, but, of course, no baby; and then walking multiple laps around the backyard close to midnight). I do not recommend chomping on raw rosemary, by the way. Desperation brought me to that point. But since then, I've found better ways to use that bush. Here's a few of them.

1. Southern Living had this suggestion in one its latest issues. Tie up several long sprigs with a pretty bow and - Ta-da! - some pretty greenery to hang on a door, mirror, or whatever else needs a little sprucing up. I hung mine on my front door for a couple of reasons: a.) My home is not large and doesn't require something huge (although something big does look nice). b.) My Christmas wreath has had it, and I needed something to prove to the neighborhood that we do celebrate Christmas. I also cannot bring myself to buy Christmas decorations that are not on clearance. I know I'm a cheapskate, but I'm okay with that. So the rosemary got me by this year!

2. Another idea comes from a sweet lady named Karen that Catherine Pendley and I met at the boys' swimming lessons last summer. Karen is a very interesting lady who has lived many different places and traveled extensively throughout Europe. I loved hearing her TELL me this recipe because she pronounced everything so beautifully. Just be glad I'm typing it.

Make a roux (equal parts butter and flour, mixed over medium heat until smooth) and then add about 1 1/2 cups of milk. Heat until thickened and add salt, pepper, and one or two chicken bouillon cubes. Yes, this is really cream of chicken, but it is sooo much better than what's in the can! Simply pour this mixture over chicken breasts, throw a few sprigs of rosemary on top, cover with foil, and bake for about an hour on 350. So good!

3. Our family's favorite bread to have with an Italian meal is definitely Becky Gunnoe's Rosemary Bread. We think it's famous. It's that good.

Mix 1 T. dry yeast, 1 T sugar, and 1 C. warm water in large bowl and allow mixture to become bubbly. Mix in 2 cups of all-purpose flour and 1 tsp. salt. Add 1 T. fresh rosemary. Knead until it's smooth and elastic (add more flour if necessary). Oil bowl, cover, and let rise in warm place for 1 hr (until doubled). Punch dough down, divide in half, and let it rest for 5 min. Shape into two loaves and place on baking stone or "sprayed" cookie sheet. Melt 2 T. butter and brush on top. Sprinkle 1 T. rosemary on top. Let loaves rise until doubled, about 45 min. Lightly sprinkle course salt over tops. Preheat oven to 425, and bake bread for about 20 min.

I love a good edible evergreen!

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