Those Who Care

If you really care for your friends and family, you will prepare yourself to care for your own needs and have a little extra for those less fortunate.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Are There Any Old-Fashioned Cooks Anymore?

My herb garden did beautifully this year.  I have an abundance of fresh herbs.  My two parsley plants are the size of an old style washtub.  I've used and dried and still have far more than I need.  So, of course, I have offered to share.  As prices for fresh herbs are $1.99 for about an ounce, you would think someone would be interested.  But no!  Everyone just looks at me with either a blank look or a look that asks "What cave did you just crawl out of?"  I've yet to find anyone that uses fresh herbs!  I'm not talking about unusual herbs, just common cooking herbs (I only share medicinal herbs with those who have shown me knowledge).  You know, parsley, chives, dill, oregano, sage.  Really common ones.  Once they understand what I'm talking about I get another common response.  Either "I don't cook like that" or "I just use what comes in a can."  And so I am worried.

Those little cans of herbs are very expensive, the nutrients are long gone because of age and I don't trust the ingredients.  The cheaper herbs may be sweepings for all I know.  I sure hope they aren't but how can I be sure?  With my own homegrown herbs I am sure.  I am also sure of receiving all the precious vitamins and nutrients from a living food.  Even if I dry them, at least I know how the plant was raised and that it is very fresh.

So, if any of you are new to using herbs, here is a great starter recipe.  My husband loves this salad dressing.  Although it takes a little time, it is worth it.  And the time is mostly in allowing the flavors to meld.

Mama's Ranch

Thinly slice 1 clove of garlic and 2Tlb of shallot.  Sprinkle with Redmond Salt and mash with a fork. Allow to stand for about 20 min, occasionally mashing again.  (This allows the salt to cook the shallot and garlic for a less biting flavor.)  Add to 1/4 c buttermilk. (I make my own with dried milk and a half teaspoon of lemon powder or vinegar and let stand 5 min.)  Add dill and parsley to taste. (I use about a tablespoon of dried dill and a tablespoon of dried parsley.  Less in the summer with the fresh herbs, just adjust to your taste.)  Add 1 Tlb of dried onions and a dash of onion powder.  (This is a lot of onion I know but the flavor is just not the same without these different types of onion.  Each adds its own taste.)  Add a bit of fresh or dried lemon peel.  (This lightens the whole dressing but you can do without.  Since I use a lot of lemons for medical reasons, I have a lot of dried lemon zest.)  Let stand awhile for the flavors to meld.  (This is the best point for adjusting to your own taste.)  Place 1c mayonnaise (can use a lite version or homemade) in a bowl.  Add 1/4 sour cream (or yogurt or even just more mayonnaise).  Stir and add the buttermilk and herbs.  Taste and adjust.  This has kept in my fridge for over a month without spoiling and just improved in taste as the flavors mingled.  This is such a basic recipe that any of you could improve it or change it to suit your family while allowing you to be sure of what you are eating.  It also costs a lot less than bottled dressings from the store.


  1. There would have been no blank look from me! I love fresh herbs and drying my own!

  2. I really enjoy your canning posts. Keep it up, write and they will come....thanks.