Do you ever name your plants? Last spring when I brought a little organic rosemary plant home, I wanted to name it Herbie, but after a while, I felt the plant was too feminine to be a ‘Herbie’, so simply Rosemary she became.
Rosemary lived right near the kitchen in my garden potager delighting my nose and eyes, even giving much of herself for our culinary needs. I just couldn’t see her go the way of the other less-committed cold intolerant herbs when the days grew cooler.
Because she and I had became inseparable, I wanted her to come live with us. I whispered to her gently as I pruned her branches back about 4-5 inches, knowing it was for her good. I’m sure I felt worse about it than she did!
Happily settled in the sunny south windows near the kitchen, Rosemary stoically watched, as one by one, all her garden friends succumbed to the frost and cold. Not even a tear was shed when I cut fresh sprigs for drying and recipes. She always gave back that wonderful life-giving woodsy-piney fragrance, strong and invigorating.
Rosemary will always be indispensable in the kitchen. It is one of the few herbs that can withstand higher temperatures of cooking without losing much flavor. Rosemary’s distinctive aroma is hard to describe, though noted food scientist Harold McGee breaks it down as a combination of “florals, pine, wood, eucalyptus, and clove” (“enticing” also works).
Because the people who live in our home like this girl so much, I thought we would share one of our favorite recipes with you.
Recipe for Rosemary Roasted Potatoes
- 3 pounds of new (red skin) or regular potatoes (or substitute 1/2 with sweet potatoes)
- 4 -5 Tbsp. of olive oil or softened coconut oil (enough to coat potatoes)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. of sea salt
- 4 stems of fresh, stripped of its leaves, or dried rosemary herb (2 Tbsp. if dried)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh cracked black pepper
- dash or two of ground cayenne, optional
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Wash and prepare potatoes for roasting, cutting them in quarters or smaller.
- Add all other ingredients in a bowl with potatoes, toss to coat with herbs and oil.
- Place on a flat baking sheet with a lip on all sides and lined with parchment paper to keep food off of aluminum and to keep from sticking.
- Use spatula to turn during the cooking time, and sprinkle on Parmesan cheese if you wish.
- Bake for 25-35 minutes or until golden brown
If you can imagine it, these are often even better the second day as the flavors amalgamate, so sometimes I double the batch. Served with eggs and fruit, it is a great way to begin of your family’s day.
Plant your rosemary outside for a summer of full sun, but if you want it to survive a hard winter, you will need to dig up your aromatic plant, re-pot it, and bring it inside.
Indoor Growing & Drying Tips:
The herb Rosemary needs a good bit of water, so using a plastic saucer will prevent ruining your furniture or floor.
If you want to fertilize, use an organic fertilizer (one safe for food) and water the soil, not the leaves. While outside in the garden during the spring and summer growing season, savvy gardeners fertilize rosemary with weekly applications of a high nitrogen formula organic fertilizer, then withhold fertilizer during the fall and winter months to encourage the hardiness for which Rosemary is known.
If you save for cooking, the sprigs dry beautifully on a tray in the dehydrator or as a little bunch hung by a string in a warm place until dry.
Roasting with Rosemary
Whole sprigs or the discarded stems (once the leaves are used), when tossed onto the coals of your grill, give the essence of rosemary to roasted zucchini, peppers, lamb, steak, or chicken. So aromatic.
Bon appétit, my friend!