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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Gardens Enhances Ones Cooking

For many years now, it has been an important priority for me, to make sure I have a garden to tend to during the summer months. While some think that gardening is a lot of work and that the super market suffices, some reap the full benefits of having what they need in their gardens.

(Picture by Rej Brandt) 

Essential plants every cook should have in their garden (mostly herbs):
- Cilantro
- Oregano (various types)
- Parsley
- Thyme
- Dill
- Chives
- Basil (various types)
- Mint (Peppermint, Chocolate Mint, Spearmint...)
- Edible Flowers
- Rosemary (for an amazing lamb roast on the BBQ)
- Lavender (cream infusions for truffles and crèmes brulées)
- Hot pepper plants to add heat to your cooking
- Baby tomatoes, air loom tomatoes, etc.
- Different types of lettuces for quick salads or sandwich fixings

Really, the list could go on and on. But those are the ones which I find the most convenient to have around so I can just cultivate as I need them without worrying if I'll have some left in the fridge or not while i'm cooking. A garden will get you excited about cooking again by adding an entire other dimension of complexity to your cooking and or baking. It will bring freshness in your foods and even inspire you to create new dishes to incorporate your plants flavors. For example, two years ago I had planted a struggling plant of chocolate mint in a pot on it's own, and next thing I knew, it was overflowing from the pot. I had to do something about it, so I made a chocolate mint cheesecake topped with blueberries (as shown below). Combinations and possibilities are endless with a garden of fresh foods at your disposition.

Worried you don't have a green thumb? Don't let that fear stop you. Having herbs in pots along the house, can never go bad. Unless you are having a drought and you feel the need to water your plants, they should be able to tend to their own needs, compliments of nature herself. Many websites offer insight on starting your own small yielding herb garden. Also maybe consider having an indoor herb garden to last you through the winter months (that is, if your winter consists of -40 degrees Celsius like mine does).  For more tips on herb gardening click here.

During the summer months I will be posting quite often on how to incorporate your garden fully into your everyday cooking! Stay tunned!

Eat well, sleep well and till tomorrow!

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