Perfect for Summer
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 . . .
Many of my friends have been to Girl and the Goat – some loved it, raving about the combinations of food and ingredients and how chef Stephanie Izard composes the dishes. Others thought it was overblown and didn’t live up to the hype.
One thing is for certain – Girl and the Goat is one of the busiest restaurants in the Windy City right now, with reservations accepted only months in advance. We went there for my birthday earlier this month – our reservation was made back in July. So I’d heard the debate – how great is Girl and and the Goat? Really? Imaginative and out of this world? Or bombastic and overblown? (Yeah I used the term ‘bombastic’ – look it up on thesaurus.com. Boo-ya! And I totally just used the term ‘Boo-ya’ as well. Welcome back to 2005!)
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.
Thyme is the spice that gets along with everything. If thyme were a person, he would buy you a drink on your birthday. They would tell you good gossip. She wouldn’t check the expiration date on your coupons at the grocery store. She would be your best friend. Rich in aroma, as well as history, thyme brings a lot to any table, whether it’s veggie side dishes, omelets, stocks and soups, pork, chicken or seafood entree’s, “Om-E-Let” you decide how you like it best! (see what I did there? Food puns are fun!)
This was my late breakfast this past Sunday morning. What prompted me to make this in the first place is that I’m having a dinner party later this week and decided to make paella – some of the folks are Jewish, so I knew I couldn’t use pork sausage. So, I decided to make this on a dry run first and try making my own turkey sausage, before I make it later on this week.
So I bought a pound of ground turkey and added the following spices:
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.
The siblings of seasoning, otherwise known as Coriander and Cilantro, provide a nice contrast of taste sensations. Coming from the same plant, this spice and herb has a rich history dating as far back as 5,000 BC. I can’t even wrap my mind around how old that is.
Basically, coriander is the seed (used as a spice) for the plant (or herb) known as cilantro, also known as “chinese parsley”. I wonder if chinese parsley is more of an old-school name – because I pretty much always see and use the name cilantro when referring to this delicious herb.