Cheap and Spicy, Baby! (And no, that’s not a metaphor).

29 Sep

Spices are expensive (they cost an average of 5 bucks a bottle around here), and since my spice cabinet looks like this:

Spice Town

I’m always on the look-out for spicy deals. Yes, I do buy fresh when I can, but let’s face it, sometimes I just don’t *know* if I’m going to need a bunch of fresh mint, even if it is on sale.  My solution?  I grow my own!  Yesterday I harvested my Aerogarden, plus my 6 basil plants (more on that in a minute), and ended up with this (oh, and yes, that’s the mini counter-top spice stand in the background, where I keep the spices I use on a regular basis.  There’s another cupboard elsewhere for baking spices, but I got tired of taking pictures):

Alotta Basil, yo.

Alotta chives, mint, thyme, dill, & parsley

Red Basil Plants

I didn’t even trim the red basil, thinking there was no way it would fit in my dehydrator, but I stuffed that sucker to the brim and fit everything in!  Yay!

dehydrator-tastic!

a snarf-ton of basil

a half snarf-ton of red basil

Just so you know, when you purchase one of those cute little organic basil plants at the market, I highly recommend making sure you’re getting just *one* plant.  We ended up with two each of traditional basil and red basil (which is, if you can believe it, basily-er than the traditional green… I love it!), plus when the cherry tomato plant in the Aerogarden finally kicked it, we replanted with the seed pods they’d included for free, which contained two more basil plants!  Aargh!  Anyway, for a while I was doing fine harvesting things when I wanted to make a delicious pesto sauce for dinner, or Husband and I’s favorite, Tomato-Basil sandwiches (which we made & served at our rehearsal dinner).  Then I started packing up little baggies full of fresh basil and pawning them off on friends.  And relatives.  And, you know, random people I met on the street.  My poor little basily buddies were all but taking over the house when I remembered my food dehydrator!  Herbs dry out in only a few hours, so by dinnertime all of that lush, green vegetation had turned into this:

dehydrator-iffic!

Which I dutifully separated into jars:

thyme, dill, and a chive/parsley blend

(I find the Aerogarden parsley WAY too strong, so I soften it a bit by mixing it with some chives).

Holy Basil, Batman!

Just so you know, that’s a zillion dollars worth of basil right there, folks.  I’m not even kidding.  I just saved myself a ZILLION dollars.  Which, I guess really isn’t that important, considering I won eighty thousand million dollars from the Zimbabwe lottery this morning (if only I’ll promptly send my bank account #, SSN, and home address to Mr. Guy Who Is Apparently My Long Lost Cousin).  I’m a lucky girl. You wish you were me right about now, don’t you?  *grin*

I also moved the 4 outside basil plants inside since the weather’s turning, and I’m hoping to get a few more harvests out of them.  I have no idea how long the Aero herbs will last… Our cherry tomatoes lasted from February to August, and even then we only had to turn them out because they got too big for the garden.  The herbs have been growing since August, and according to Aerogarden, should live at least 6 months.  We’ll see…

Anyway, by the end of the night last night my kitchen smelled like an herby wonderland, and I had fallen madly in love with this tiny jar of thyme, which makes me want to instantly acquire and roast a turkey:

thyme, glorious thyme

Isn’t that little jar adorable?  Oh, it’s a warm fuzzy in and of itself, isn’t it?

Anyway, Here’s the recipe for the tomato-basil sandwiches… You’re going to LOVE them.

Melissa&John’s Rehearsal Dinner Sandwiches

Take the following ingredients:

-a few slices of your favorite tomato (we like kumato & yellow heirloom varieties, but a nice juicy red one will work fine)

– a slice of FRESH mozzarella cheese (don’t use that packaged stuff… it’s so un-cheesy.  if it isn’t shaped like a ball, don’t buy it.)

– a few leaves of fresh basil

– a dash of salt & pepper

And stuff them in between two pieces of toasted bread (homemade, of course) slathered with Mama’s Apple Butter.  If you don’t have a Mama, I suppose you could use store-bought apple butter, but it won’t taste the same.  If you aren’t brave enough to eat tomato and apple in the same sandwich, I suppose you could replace the apple butter with balsamic vinegar, but again, it won’t taste the same.  Hope you like it!  })i({

2 Responses to “Cheap and Spicy, Baby! (And no, that’s not a metaphor).”

  1. JoAnn Snyder October 3, 2010 at 6:33 pm #

    glad you remembered the dehydrator, its a very useful appliance. Lots of herbally deliciousness for winter !

  2. ferabeth October 4, 2010 at 4:10 pm #

    It’s especially useful when friends who have grown too much spearmint ask if you’re interested in some… Organic Spearmint Tea… here I come! Yay!

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