Saturday, March 23, 2013

Spice to the Maximus!

 I've been mopping up sniffles. Last week I bore that type of cold that shrivles your nose, until you bid your sense of smell and taste good-bye,

This reminds me of the last time I suffered from congestion. Oh, I remember when a stench was hot beneath my stuffy nose.

Yes. This adorable pup, Oakly, adventured into the deep, dark abyss called a skunk den!  
PEW! Let’s just say I wanted to open a can of woop-butt (for lack of better verbage) on this stinky-faced-dog. 

Skunk juice is a remedy I will never try again, but that rotten smell temporarily cured my clogged sinuses!  Even in my cold-ridden-state, my nostrils whiffed his nastiness. Heck, I even tasted it.

All ended well. We bathed - 2 times, maybe 3 - until he smelled like shampoo (with a trace of foul odor as a trophy of his adventure).

Now, back to the reality of my nose that's struck dumb, yet again.  It  seems like a foreign extremity attached to my face. Pfft, I’m surprised it didn’t jump right off it. I wouldn’t have noticed.

What's more, with stuffed nose comes flattened, bland flavors - making eating a chore (For those spirited foodies who want to know more about the scientific link between smell and taste, listen to this intriguing radio blip!).

In this smell-deprived state, I only dream of hot, sweet, tangy spice rubbed grub!
How about YOU enjoy the food I'm missing?!

So many people don't make the time to learn to create spiced, good-eats at home. When hunger pangs and the cravings kick in, it’s off to something fast, quick, easy, tasty, dirt-cheap, and usually packaged food. The beauty of the takeout box. Nothing against that...Truly! 

But, I believe everyone can spice-up their foods, scrumptiously AND easily.

 Let's say, you've got a hankering for Chinese .....
Rather than scurrying to your closest takeout, what can you do instead??

But, listen to ME. Or else....
For the next couple blog posts, I’ll highlight an herb that will keep you coming back for more...and more...and again...and more....and you’re done...for a wee bit you just breath...then you want more. 

Week 1:

What does it look like?  The pine needles from last year's Christmas tree

It tastes...Piney, sweet, slightly floral, tea-like 

Mix it into these EASY dishes: 
  • Melt it into butter to top steamed potatoes.
  • Mix it with your favorite olive oil with a pinch of salt and pepper to dress your favorite crusty bread. 
  • Or, top that bread with rosemary, a pear and a tiny bit of pungent cheese like goat, feta, paremsan, or blue cheese.
  • Keep it quick by flavoring your store-bought tomato sauces with this herb!
  •  Kick your salad up by throwing in some fresh rosemary.
  • Lift you grilled cheese to a whole new level with a dash of rosemary.
  • Entertain your friends by sprinkling it on slice of soft mozzarella and tomato, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, and a basil leaf.
  • Spread it over steak, chicken, other game meats, you name it...yum. 

    It compliments these flavors: 
    Apples, asparagus, basil, blue cheese, caramel, citrus, cranberry, garlic, fennel, figs, lemon, mushrooms, nuts, onion, oregano, parmesan, parsley, potatoes, raisins, sage, savory, sugar, thyme, tomatoes

    Should you use dried or fresh?
    Both! Dried rosemary acts as an excellent replacement for fresh!
    In recipes, use 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary and 1 tablespoon of fresh interchangeably. Some people recommend a 1/2 teaspoon dry to 1 tablespoon fresh because rosemary adds such a strong taste. 

    Growing directions: 
    This herb is a perennial - plant it once, and it grows back every year. It really takes very little care. All you need is sunlight and daily watering. Our rosemary grows abundantly in the summer and can be used dry in winter time! 
Now, check out this high flavor, low effort, healthy-for-you rosemary recipe! 

Rosemary Garlic Chicken Breast
Serves: 2

Prep time: 15 minutes (plus several hours to marinade)

Cook time:10 minutes

-  a plastic bag for marinading   the chicken
-  teaspoons and tablespoons
-  a spatula to flip the chicken
-  a frying pan

-  2 chicken breasts

-  2 tablespoons chopped, dried rosemary
-  2 teaspoons dijon mustard
-  2 teaspoons lemon juice
-  2 tablespoons vinegar of your choice (I used white wine vinegar.)
-  2 and 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil
-  2 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced or chopped
-  2 teaspoons dried onion flakes or powder
-  a couple shakes of salt and pepper

For cooking:
-  1-2 tablespoons of oil

1. Trim any visible fat from the chicken breast.
2. Put the chicken in a Ziploc bag or flat plastic container. 3. Mix the marinade ingredients together; then pour it over chicken. Seal the bag or container and marinate chicken in refrigerator several hours (the more time,the better).
4. To cook, coat your frying pan with 1-2 tablesppons oil of your choice (I used olive oil). Warm the oil.
5. Take the chicken from the refrigerator, and place it in the pan.
6. Cook the chicken on medium-high heat. Keep it on the first side for 4-5 minutes or until the chicken does not stick to the pan and the spatula easily slides under the chicken.
5. Once your chicken is easy to flip, cook it on the other side for another 4-5 mintues.
6. Total cooking time will be about 10-15 minutes, but the chicken is done when it feels firm to the touch and is lightly browned on both sides.
7. This chicken would also be delicious grilled or indoors on the George Foreman.
8. To round out my plate, I paired my chicken with quinoa and sautéed vegetables! 



  1. The cure for the common cold = GARLIC!

  2. Yeah, Chels....Even that's better than skunk spray!

  3. What a delicious chicken dish. I grow rosemary in the summer time. I use it sparingly though. Sometimes the piney taste is too strong for me. Glad your cold is feeling better.

  4. You're quite right. Rosemary can overtake a dish. It's a fine line...and is really up to personal preference. In this dish, the acid in the marinade and the tang of the mustard cut through the floral notes!

    Thanks for the well wishes!

    I hope your rosemary flourishes this time around!

  5. Welcome back Manny..I check your blog from time to time to no avail...I'll have to bookmark those recipes in case I decide to cook sometime..Of course I can't just go out and pick my herbs..:)Hope you are enjoying this snowy Monday and that your cold is better..