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Posts Tagged ‘herbs’

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What a crazy year, and I don’t just mean in world politics. I think each year I write about the chaos of my indoor garden but this year it is super chaotic. And that’s okay. The leaves still catch the light beautifully. 🙂

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savory

A chaotic growing season for me, I have to say. Some years I’ve had grand plans for what I intend to grow, where and in what vessel. Sometimes I’ve tried to find an organizing theme, like growing edible flowers … although I was reminded by my taste testers that year just because a flower is edible doesn’t mean it tastes good. One year I found potatoes sprouting in a pantry drawer and that set me off on a journey to grow potatoes indoors using methods my dad taught me for growing potatoes outside. This year gardening has been less an adventure and more like a solace and an anchor. A way to be alone with one’s thoughts, work with one’s hands, and all that good stuff.

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orange mint, tarragon, fennel, parsley

I’m not so worried about everything looking pretty. I want functionality … a certain chef has got to have his herbs to cook with, and since I benefit from his experiments, I decided this season to focus on basics like parsley, sage, tarragon, thyme, oregano, marjoram and rosemary. Savory was a new one for me. Delicious. I turned away from the beauty of dill because I always kill it. I did pick up a mint for its hardiness. I keep thinking about lavender.

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The biggest surprise has been the nasturtium. They popped up out of nowhere. I recycle dirt, and after I had planted some tarragon with some old dirt, up comes some nasturtium sprouts! I need to move them to a new spot because the oak tree, now in full foliage, is blocking the light. And in the midst of all this chaotic green, I now have two hot pink geranium as well. That’s what happens when you make a nine-year old put down the iphone, walk with you to the flower market and before you can say, “edibles only,” the flower market owner bends down and says, “Well, hello! What’s your favorite color?” As a non-edible, I’ve tucked the hot pinks away in a little nook where the sun can find them but not a certain chef.

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colors in the kitchen as the sun starts to sink

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The inspiration was William Merritt Chase’s Just Onions painting now on view at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. It is a lovely still life of a few onions next to a copper pitcher. Given that I know a certain fellow who is currently obsessed with collecting and restoring copper pots, I figured why not try my own series of “just[fill in the blank]” with the copper pots in the background.

Who knows? This may turn out to be a fun winter project, to sketch out still lives with these refinished copper pots, and then to see if I can bring these ideas to life.

Just Onions by William Merritt Chase, 1912

Just Onions by William Merritt Chase, 1912

Learn more about the actual painting here. And visit my JustFood shop for other food images.

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afternoon light on the cuban oregano

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It may not look like much but I am rather happy with this pot of basil. It began as a handful of stalks after Steve and his cooking crew had picked a bag of basil clean in preparation for his pesto. There was just something about the branches that called to me that day. I thought the mass would make a great picture and I wanted to keep them upright so I placed them in a glass. And then, of course, I could not help but wonder what would happen if I actually placed water in the glass. I took some photos and then tucked the glass away. Then lo and behold, I peered into the glass one day and what did I see but roots! I let the roots grow and even added a tiny bit of fertilizer and then soil to the water. The roots grew long and strong and new leaves unfurled. Until finally I could plant this … everlasting plant … in a new pot of soil. It’s the little things … 🙂

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