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Thursday, December 10, 2015

25 Days of Herbs and Celebrations - December 10

Dear Folks,

Celebrating the Multicultural festivities of December, I thought I would pick an herb or spice which is referenced in the Bible (land of three of the Major Religions of the world) and used in many cuisines around the entire world, as a way of gathering together all the wealth of diversity around us - in true celebration.

Day 10
Herb:  Sorrel Rumex (
Polygonaceae (Buckwheat) Family) one of the herbs recognized as a Bitter Herb of the Bible, although not mentioned specifically.
Hanukkah  Continues
There are three major varieties of Sorrel (Rumex):  broad-leaf (arrow head shaped leaf) (Rumex acetosa), French (Rumex scutatus), and red-veined sorrel (Rumex sanguineus var. sanguineus).  All have tastes that range from tangy / sour to bitter and are a lovely green for salads or cooking.  Most of the flavor comes from Oxalic Acid, also found in spinach and like spinach, should not be consumed in large quantities (People with arthritis or kidney stones should eat minimal amounts of sorrel because the high oxalic acid content can aggravate those conditions.).  I love the lemony flavor of my sorrel.  It is great in salads and cooking for the extra zip it gives.  Before the introduction of lemons in the Middle Ages, sorrel was used in cooking and to prevent scurvy due to its high Vitamin C content.
I grow the Broad-Leaf and it is a wonderful herb in the garden, usually producing year-round, and will thrive for several years.
Sparrows enjoying some of my sorrel!
Growing certain types of greens in the desert garden can be challenging and most people who have grown sorrel have not had luck with it growing through the summer.  I found an afternoon shaded spot worked well to keep me in sorrel year-round. The growth is far more vigorous in the winter, but still produces enough during the summer for occasional use. (Pictured, the birds never paid any attention to the plant until I temporarily potted it to move it!)
Baker Creek has 3 types of sorrel seed for sale --
Dandelion & Sorrel Salad

This Recipe for A Chocolate Dreidel was too cute to pass up, even though not quite in the theme.
More recipe ideas for using sorrel.
Here is an “herb soup” recipe I crafted after reading various versions many years ago.  I am including this recipe because 1) Sorrel is one of the traditional ingredients, but I did not have any growing at the time I crafted the recipe, and 2) Using up extra lettuce/greens and herbs is a wonderful bowl of flavor and good for you things on a chilly day.
Herb Soup
(aka –  How To Use an Abundance of Fresh Herbs and Greens)
“101+ Recipes From The Herb Lady” by Catherine, The Herb Lady, Crowley
Serves 6

I have to say when I was trialing this, I wondered if the use of water (you can use broth) was going to give it enough flavor - oh my!  I did not need to worry about that - wonderful and very satisfying on a chilly night.
     The wonderful thing about this soup is you can vary the herbs, lettuce, croutons (bread) and cheese and come up with a different taste every time.

1 shallot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
4 cups mixed fresh herbs, finely chopped (I used Thai Basil, Cilantro, Parsley-see note below*)
1 Package spring lettuce mix (or 3-4 cups of greens from your gardens)
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
6 cups boiling water (can use broth - but try the water the first time)
6 cups croutons (any stale bread diced will work too - some day-old nice artisanal breads would be great for this)
3/4 cups Parmesan cheese

     Set aside 1/2 cup each of herbs and lettuces for garnish.
     Divide croutons and cheese into 6 soup bowls
     Saute shallot in butter for 1 minute, add herbs, salt, lettuces
all at once and cook, stirring for 5 minutes.  Add boiling water,
cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Ladle
greens and broth into soup bowls, add garnish of herbs and
lettuces to each bowl. Serve and enjoy.

     *Traditional recipes call for sorrel and chervil or any combination you like - the Thai Basil has a tarragon aspect to it which minced the chervil with a kick and cilantro's citrus back-note minced the sorrel.

Grinch Song From Animated Show (because the Grinch was a sour-puss)
Jingle Bells
Jingle Bell Rock – Bobby Helms 1957

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

My Cookbook 101+ Recipes From The Herb Lady - back cover.


My Publisher 101 - print

My Publisher 101 - ebook - pdf

My Publisher 101 - ebook - epub

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