I broke my toe a couple weeks ago.
Growing up on a farm, having fresh-grown asparagus whenever I wanted was something I grew up accustomed to. It’s just how we rolled down on the farm, ya’ll. It has always been one of my favorite vegetables – if not my top favorite. And, fresh asparagus always heralds the arrival of Spring. That, and Bradford pear trees blooming. And irises blooming. And Passover. And Easter. And spring break . . .
Rosemary is one of the most versatile herbs, with popular uses including cooking, medicinal and aromatherapy (fancy!). Is there anything it can’t do? One of the world’s oldest herbs (aren’t they all?), Rosemary has a storied history, with as many myths and superstitions associated with it as it has practical uses. And then there was Rosemary’s Baby, which actually has nothing to do with the herb, but is still a cool movie, even if it can be seen as Roman Polanski’s creepy precursor to his wife’s grisly fate a year later. But that’s another topic . . .
It’s been awhile since I’ve featured any spices or herbs, so I thought I would bring this back and discuss Sage! Sage is like the wise elder of herbs. It’s no wonder the term is now synonymous with wise and experienced – the plant, just like so many other plants used in cooking, has been around for thousands of years. Originating in the Mediterranean and Asia Minor regions (again, just like practically everything else), sage is a member of the mint family, making it related to rosemary, Nevada’s state flower the sagebrush, as well as the psycho-actively popular Salvia.
The awesome vs. effort ratio is pretty high with this quick dinner = it’s easy to make and the end result is, well . . . awesome. Here in Chicago, summers can get pretty hectic with street festivals and plans to see friends and vacations. This was nice to enjoy on a slow summer evening – it’s simple to throw together and hearty enough to be filling without being too heavy.
A perfect meal – lazy and simple (like me), but bright with flavor – and a glass of wine to enjoy on a patio while summer is still with us.
- Chicken sausage
- Fresh grilled asparagus
- Sun dried tomatoes
- Sauteed mushrooms
- A little olive oil
- Grated parmesan
- Toss well with some linguine – enjoy!
Ahh, paprika – the exotic flame of spices. Paprika is sold and used as a fine powder, ground from certain peppers. Spain and Hungary are probably the most well known European purveyors of paprika, with Spanish paprika generally known as a more milder version to Hungary’s richer and stronger paprika. However, Turkey and the US are also known for producing and selling paprika as well. I’ll bet when you buy the more common brands in the grocery store, like McCormick’s and what-not, if it isn’t specified as Turkish or Spanish or whatever, then it’s most likely manufactured here in the US.
There are many different varieties of paprika as well – from super-mild, to super-spicy, depending on the types of peppers it’s made from. I think Spain is best known for their smoked paprika – so named because the peppers are dried by smoking from oak wood. And color-wise, the more bright red versions of paprika are more mild. The more dull and brown the paprika, the sharper and hotter it will be.
Quick post today – So last weekend I made a quick lunch with leftovers in the fridge:
- Barbequed boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- Sliced tomato
- Cheddar cheese
- Chipotle mayo (a little concoction I dreamed up – chopped chipotle peppers in their sauce, Duke’s mayo and sweet relish)
Got any plans for this weekend? 4th of July weekend (or the weekend closest to it) is one of my favorite times of the year, not the least of which is because I feel like there’s an extra energy in the air here in Chicago this time of year. Maybe it’s the excitement from all the extra tourists (god love ’em – I remember when I was one myself), maybe everyone having that extra time off work during one of the hotter times of the year, but it’s just an extra buzz in the air that makes people happy despite the heat.
These are times I live for in January and February – when it’s soo cold and everything is either wet and nasty or covered in snow – or covered in snow and nasty. When it seems like the bus will never come and the sky is that depressing color – kind of gun metal or cigarette ashes on the bottom of your dirty, black-scuffed Uggs. I’m pretty sure the whole city daydreams of this time during January and February. Daydreams of full-on sunshine, strappy shoes, strappy shirts, beer on a patio under trees with brilliant lime-green colored leaves.