Lemon Verbena Tea

This morning I wanted tea. But which kind? Not chai. Not peppermint. Something more… what? I stood in front of the cabinet with the overflowing tea shelf and my eyes traveled up, up, up to the shelf where I have slowly but surely been accumulating jars with dried herbs from the garden.

(Yes, I have become one of those people who save jars, soaks the labels off, and re-uses them. Another hippie point for me!)

Lavender, Basil … Lemon Verbena. Yes. The only plant to survive the infestation that claimed the kale. She grew like a lemony weed and seemed happier when I cut back the ungainly bits so she was tidy again. I pulled down the jar of dried leaves and took a generous tablespoon. I put it in a little sieve I have that sits on top of mugs and let it steep for five minutes. It was delicious. Lemon but also something ethereal. You know those women who are tiny and bird-boned, so soft spoken it seems like they are always whispering? But often those women are also the fiercest when crossed? Polite, until they aren’t. And then a bit scary. Lemon Verbena is like that.

This morning I wanted tea. And I made some from my own garden, from a plant I’d gotten to know enough to think of as the Miss Marple of herbs. Not a revolutionary act in itself, but perhaps the start of something.


This Week In Food

In an ideal world I’d keep a record of what we eat every week, so as to cut down on the repetitions of certain dishes and inspire creativity. With that said, this might be the only time I actually do it, but it was a great week in food…

Sunday Night

Balsamic-Braised Tofu with Button Mushrooms served on a bed of Middle Eastern Couscous and a side of Steamed Broccoli.

This is an old favorite we haven’t had in a really, really long time as it was originally for chicken. But, if there is one thing I’ve learned about tofu, it’s that it is a great stand-in for chicken. So we gave it a go, both of us standing over our respective pans murmuring how much we missed this dish. (His pan had chicken, mine tofu.) We both loved it, and despite the fact that it’s a four-pan meal it might make it into regular rotation.

Monday Night

Composed Dinner Salad of Lettuce, Nicola Potatoes, Heirloom Tomatoes, French Green Beans and Kalamata Olives with Balsamic Vinaigrette. Accompanied by Fresh-Baked Whole Wheat Focaccia Bread.

On a Monday night in the summer, you don’t want to cook and you don’t want to clean. Hence the salad. It takes one pan to cook the potatoes and green beans and you don’t have to worry about them getting cold – they are supposed to be cold. He, of course, went a step further and added sardines to his salad instead of the expected tuna. The whole thing is really jazzed up by the addition of a great, warm bread. Focaccia is a new obsession; I got a cookbook with nothing but focaccia recipes and intend to work my way through it.

Tuesday Night

Spaghetti with Basil Pesto.

Simple, but the pesto was freshly made. It is another one of my new obsessions, with it’s own cookbook to work through, and I am still figuring out the best amount of oil to use.

Wednesday Night

Italian-Marinated Tofu Sandwiches, served with Pesto, Roasted Red Pepper and Lettuce on a Whole-Wheat Bun. Served with Sweet-Potato Fries.

He is nearly to the dark side now. My vegan plans are finally coming to fruition. See, I make this Italian-Marinated Tofu dish that he actually likes so much he requests and this week he said, “I bet that would be great on sandwiches. And we do have those hamburger buns we have to use up.” So we tried it, and you know what? It’s absolutely kick-ass on sandwiches. That’s another victory the vegan. Wuu-ah-haha!

Thursday Night

Yellow Dal with Roma Tomatoes, Jalapeno Peppers and Cilantro on Jasmine Rice with a side of Curry Carrots.

Speaking of using things up, we had exactly a cup of yellow split peas sitting in our cupboard. We made dal the way I like it, with heaping amounts of fresh tomato thrown in at the last minute. He cooked up some chicken to go with it and, after hearing that our friend’s mother puts Garam Masala on everything, gave that a go. He said it was wonderful.

Friday Night

Well, tonight we go out. Likely, dinner will be black-bean burritos bigger than our heads.

Hops Update and Warning

Every Sunday when I call my folks, I make sure to tell them about the hops my husband is growing. They are, of course, fascinated with the minutia of my life – just like you, dear blog reader – but I have an ulterior motive.

When we are found, dead in our home, smothered in hops tendrils, my parents will be able to say I warned them. The hops really do seem like they want to eat everything in their path, sending out little tendrils towards the snapdragons and bonsai plant. Mark my words.