Project: Drying Parsley

Here’s the time I tried drying parsley. It worked, but this isn’t a how-to, just my story.

Drying Parsley

I was so focused on my sad, blighty tomatoes I forgot to mention the success of my parsley.

An over-abundance actually.

I had so much I didn’t know what to do with it. I couldn’t re-plant it on the balcony because it’s full of chive, mint, and tomato plants. Like, full. So I decided to dry it.

I looked up a few recipes/how-to’s online and realized there is no one way to do it. So I took the one I trusted the most (read: not microwaved) and tried it out. Oh, it was also the quickest.

The instructions I chose (sorry I don’t have the link but it’s probably E-How or something) said to use a “cooling oven” to dry the parsley after blanching for 20 seconds in boiling water.

The instructions also said it wouldn’t take long (didn’t say a time just that it would all happen quickly).

Project Drying Parsley

In hindsight I realize I needed to know how hot the oven should have been before cooling for this “quick” process to happen. I had been cooking tater tots at a low temperature so “cooling” wasn’t a long process and made virtually zero impact on the drenched, blanched parsley.

Anyway, so I ended up turning the oven on to the lowest setting and spread the parsley out quite thin on cookie sheets. It worked but it took two hours at least. Ages.

I am happy with the dried parsley, but for the past couple weeks while I’ve crushed it up (when I have time, I’m not slave to the kitchen) I’ve been picking the stems out of the mess.

So there we go.

Sad Garden

SAD GARDEN

The weather has been somewhat precarious lately and truth be told it has made me somewhat reluctant to tend to my garden.

But the rain and wind let up for a couple hours and I took a look. Unfortunate, really.

Rotten Tomatoes

Unfortunately the only tomato I harvested was rotten.

Sad garden.

It’s a far cry from what I hoped the garden would be. Also it’s a bit disappointing after the, you know, slow but encouraging start the garden seemed to have.

Weeds look healthy though.

Top Five Uses for Mint

It’s no secret that I’m new to gardening and that my experience up until this point has been less than green.

Meaning I kill plants.

However, this year although the garden is not exactly keeping up with the Joneses at least things aren’t dead yet.

That was the introduction. Because this story isn’t very long. Basically I just wanted to highlight the fact that I’m not a natural gardener and so it shouldn’t be a surprise that I bought a little mint plant in which to plant in my garden (I heard it’s a good companion plant and chases the bad bugs away) and then promptly forgot to plant it.

Now it’s planted on my balcony. It just so happened someone (who must be crazy) put a bunch of vertical horizontal trough-like deck planters behind our communal dumpster (which is where all the best stuff goes) so I grabbed one (OK fine. Two) and planted the mint in there.

And would you believe the only thing I had thought of to do with the mint was make tzatziki?

Since I don’t want anyone else to suffer from the same lack of inspiration, here are the Top Five Uses for Mint. By Robyn. Not counting the tzatziki (that was a freebie).

Top Five Uses for Mint

  1. Room Deodorizer. This is, like, the original Febreeze. The easy way to use mint as a room freshener is to use essential oils. However, if you want to be herby you can break up the mint around the house. The friction releases the aroma. Mmmmm. Smelly. But I actually don’t think I would do this in my house because scents kind of make me sneeze. But perhaps if it’s a light scent it would be OK. Or if my house was SUPER stinky. Anyway, it’s really good to know about because I will no longer wonder how to naturally freshen my house.

  2. Mint Sauce. Actually this is super easy to make—no really! You take chopped mint, one tablespoon of sugar, four tablespoons of white wine vinegar, and salt and pepper. You beat it up a bit and then serve it on lamb! Yeah!

  3. Mint Tea. OK so I’m a COFFEE drinker, not a TEA drinker. But I know mint is good for a stomachache (along with other digestive ailments) so if you have a queasy stomach, just throw some mint leaves into your tea and voila. Or something. I think it will work, and even if it doesn’t it will be tasty.

  4. Insect Repellent. This is one of the most interesting uses for mint I’ve seen. Basically you just have the mint around and the aroma keeps mosquitoes away. And if you have it down by your door, it should keep ants out. Brilliant! Or, you can purchase these nice little mint candles for 60 bucks a pop. And… the ad says you can use the candle holder as a (wait for it) planter once the candle is burned up. Or you can buy a $2 plant at the greenhouse. Whatever, your call.

  5. MOJITOS! I am so embarrassed. How did I not think of this sooner? Well, except for the fact that we haven’t had a summer and stuff and junk. But seriously.

    So in case you want to make your own mojito here are the five ingredients: white rum, sparkling water, sugar cane juice, lime juice, and of course mint leaves. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm refreshing.

Zucchini Tales

Chopped zucchini

It all started simply enough, mom had record-sized-and-numbered zucchini in her greenhouse and offered one to me.

Of course I accepted.

Zucchini!

Well that same week I was invited over to a friend’s house and when I asked what to bring she said something like, “Well, what do you have?”

Oh! Zucchini!

So I brought it on over and she cooked it on up and it was fabulous and delicious.

So, you understand when I gladly accepted a second zucchini. And a third.

Although I was invited out for dinner a few times over the next couple weeks, I did not have the opportunity to bring out any more zucchini. And then I was house sitting for a few days, and sometimes I forget about what’s in the drawers of my fridge and…well you know.

By the time I re-discovered the zucchini it had lost its firmness and started to grow a beard. Oh my…

Time to bake!

I looked up a couple recipes online and decided to challenge myself: I would only bake what I could make from the ingredients already in my house.

The challenge was twofold.

  1. Because I rarely feel like shopping
  2. Because I am trying to learn the art of making the most of what I already have

So I started with bread. My grandma had given me some zucchini bread a while back and even though she said she had to cut the bottom off because it wasn’t perfect, I thought it was tasty. Also, I had recently made banana bread and it was so fabulous I was stoked to try again.

Well…

Zucchini bread fail

Zucchini bread fail!

Something happened.

I knew it wasn’t cooking properly, but the top was starting to burn! It was disappointing but I still had another zucchini so I kept going. This time I made soup. I didn’t take any photos but trust me when I say yum.

It’s peppery and zucchini-y and awesome! The purée soup also freezes well so I’ve had some awesome lunches this month.

But the soup working out didn’t distract me from the bread disaster. What happened?

It rolled around my head all night and it came to me in the shower. I cleaned the oven a couple nights ago and must’ve disconnected the bottom burner thingy! Eureka!

So, I tried again. I didn’t have any more zucchini but I still had about 15 baking apples leftover from the orchard. And I was still up to my personal challenge…

Delicious apple pie

I’m back!

Oriental Lilies and Me

Pictured here is the last remaining lily of a nice plant I have. I received it as a gift and when I looked closer, I suspected I may be able to replant the bulbs on my patio once the flowers were done.

I looked it up online and wouldn’t you know it, I can. So, at some point in the next few weeks that is what I plan to do. I don’t know the first thing about flowers, gardening, soil, growing things, or replanting, but by golly, I will at least attempt a replantation.

Probably my first step is going to involve putting my plant in my car and driving to my parent’s house. And after that, I will look instructions up online, put bulbs in dirt, move everything onto my patio and hope for the best.

Well, sounds like a pretty Robyn-proof plan. We’ll see how it goes.