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Posts Tagged ‘tarragon’

The raspberries are in at the farm and they are super delicious, maybe more than any year previous. But this is exactly how I feel about the raspberries each year. Certainly this is the best they have ever tasted.

The town is emptied out because it is August. The students aren’t back yet and everyone and her brother is on the Cape or in Rhode Island. The sun and the air are perfect, especially at the farm.

I like to pick the tarragon in the herb garden. I don’t think anyone but me uses it. I think I single-handedly keep it robust, for you see, when you pick tarragon, it causes it to keep growing. Brookfield Farm tarragon the best tarragon I’ve ever eaten. It will not grow for me at home, neither in my garden nor in a pot.

One year I could not stop eating tarragon. I would pick it and eat it, lots of it. I think it affected my health. I didn’t grow an extra limb or anything, I just suspect it was acting on my hormones, something deep inside of me, bad. It made me a little crazy, I wanted to eat it at all hours.

I like the way tarragon makes my mouth kind of numb. I am experiencing a resurgence in my craving for it, only this year I have been eating it and then picking raspberries and popping them in my mouth. It is a taste sensation, I tell you, and I won’t be surprised when raspberry-tarragon desserts start showing up in fancy-pants restaurants from coast to coast.

When I eat the tarragon and pick the raspberries, I feel sinful, like I’ve gotten away with the Devil. The raspberries are in the accessible garden, directly across from the tarragon, so they are not for the regular farm share. That raspberry patch is way in the back of one of the main fields and not yet part of our share. I only eat a dozen or so of the raspberries at at time from the accessible garden and sometimes I think the sin is that there are so many overripe raspberries because no one is eating them at all.

Ah, summer. The real deal.

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Last week, I mentioned not only my love for arugula, but also my love for it with a fine, homemade vinaigrette.

I have been making my own dressings for a long, long time, just like you. About 2 years ago, I sampled this version on a friend’s spring arugula and I have not made another type of dressing since. Call it sad, call it funny, call me dull, call me silly, but every time I have the slightest inkling of making another vinaigrette, I default to this instead.

This recipe came to me from the great Lara Radysh. As usual, I’ve tweaked it to be a wee bit twinkly.

Lara Radysh’s Balsamic Vinaigrette (with a few meanderings into twinkly-dom)

2 TBSP prepared mustard

1/2 tsp tamari

3 cloves fresh, crushed garlic

3/4 C balsamic vinegar

2 tsp real maple syrup (no fake crap!)

1 1/2 C extra virgin olive oil (hereafter referred to as evoo)

1/2 tsp sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

Look, I know you’re smart. You can stop right here and just do what you will with the above ingredients. You’ve made dressing before.

On the other hand, here you are, so let’s do it twinkly-style:

You already know about using all good and fresh ingredients, right? Your fats (oils) should be organic, but maybe I’ll post on that later. I’ve switched to organic evoo in the last couple of years and for the most part I stick with that. I am not wealthy, so I don’t go crazy with the evoo, but I do get organic whenever it’s on sale. I really stock up, as you can imagine, because we go through the stuff like mad. You can even find organic evoo at Marshall’s, but it’s not vetted like the American brands, so I don’t know. Maybe it’s not really organically grown. Just don’t put too many fats with pesticides in your body because fat likes to hold on to chemicals.

I try to use the balsamic vinegar that was taste-tested as the best by Cook’s Illustrated. I know that makes me seem like I’m snooty and maybe even more silly than before, but that’s their job, so why not take advantage of it? It’s not even a snooty brand, just Monari Federzoni Balsamic Vinegar of Modena. The price of balsamic has sky-rocketed in the last couple of years (like everything else), so again, I buy huge quantities of this stuff when it’s on sale (a buck or more savings per bottle! not bad). We go through it like piss through a racehorse.

As far as the mustard: use whatever you like best. It should be really yummy. We always have some in the fridge, whatever was on sale. Hubby uses a lot of it, but I don’t touch the stuff. Except in this recipe. I like a stone-ground or a dijon the best, but I’ll use anything but French’s, honey mustard, or spicy.

Now, my doves, even though the ingredients up there are all measured out, the only thing I actually measure is the balsamic and the evoo. I use a lot of dashes and smidgens and tiny pours. You can do the same. Play with it. For instance, you don’t have to use any maple syrup; salt, either. You do have to use the garlic, that’s one thing. It’s not the same AT ALL without that. Or the tamari. You have to use a few shakes of tamari.

Another thing–use a large, glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. The jar I use is an old fluff jar. I don’t even use fluff, but I think I pinched the jar accidentally at a potluck. Who even eats fluff? When I was a kid, my neighbor’s mom would make him sandwiches with fluff and peanut butter. Look, I know it’s a “thing,” but I’ve never eaten one or made one for my kids and I never will. But this fluff jar is great. Don’t use a plastic jar, okay? And make sure your jar can hold this quantity BEFORE you start pouring. Yes, that should have been Step One. Oops.

Put the ingredients in the above order into your jar and turn on some really good dance music. Shake your booty and shake the jar in equal amounts until everything is a saucy mix. Okay, I know that’s silly, but do it anyway. Keep the vinaigrette refrigerated; remove about a 1/2 hour before using (evoo congeals in the cold).

That’s it. You are done. Except that the original recipe calls for “any herbs you have around.” While I appreciate this instruction, and you are welcome to it, I never put any herbs in my dressing. We don’t use it up too quickly, after all. Maybe it lasts 2-3 days, maybe a week, depending on how many salads we eat. I don’t like soggy herbs.

But you know what I love, don’t you? If you’ve been following along here at all, you know I love my herb garden. I love to put any number of different fresh herbs right in with the greens before tossing with the vinaigrette.

I will tell you that my favorite herb, fresh out of my front garden bed, is tarragon. This year, the tarragon is out-of-this-world, the best it’s ever been. It’s huge and full and green and delicious, enough to make me think I may secretly be French. I add a few chopped chives sometimes and also lemon thyme. Those are my favorites. Not much for other herbs in a salad. But sometimes I add some nasturtium leaves and petals. But always put the flower petals on after you toss the salad, right? Yes. Pansies and violets are fun. You can use violet leaves in the spring, they are quite good for you. Don’t forget the arugula if it’s in season. That’s where this all came from. Arugula that’s not local and in-season does not compare, my pets. Fresh arugula too is “out-of-this-world.” Maybe that’s why they call it rocket.

Now I’m gonna use a stock photo of the tarragon because it’s late and it’s the new moon and dark in the garden. Tarragon is in the artemesia family, full of mystery and medicine, ruled by Diana (the moon, again). Did you know that if you look up an herb like tarragon on Google images, you’ll find all kinds of amazing recipes? I am salivating already.

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