From our Nov/Dec '10 issue:
The holiday blitz is upon us and the mantle of winter is about to descend.
Here’s a monthly reminder to help you choose/use herbs and spices each day of this busy month. Happy Herby Holidays.
Dec. 1- Make a big batch of onion soup for busy weekday nights. Stick a few cloves into an onion and brown it thoroughly in an oil butter combo to add to the stock/soup. Remove to serve.
Dec. 2- Saute red and green pepper slices in olive oil with a pinch of marjoram. Serve with burgers.
Dec. 3-For a quick snack or dessert serve apple wedges with bleu cheese and savory biscuits or crackers.
Dec. 4- Bring aromatic greens into the house and as many fresh herbs as you can find at the market.
Dec. 5- Make orange or apple pomanders. Use a turkey skewer to start the holes and tuck whole cloves all over the apple/orange surface. Roll in powdered cinnamon.
Dec. 6- St. Nicholas Day. Hide a mint chocolate and some shiny coins in your child’s shoe in honor of St. Nick.
Dec. 7- When arranging greens you can easily remove the pine sap from your hands with canola or vegetable oil.
Dec. 8- Mince parsley and chives and add to your waffle recipe for chicken and waffle supper.
Dec. 9-In this season of early darkness, lore tell us that garlands of winter savory were worn to ward off drowsiness.
Dec. 10- Air-dry a cup of cranberries on a rack or alternatively dry in a low oven. Use in a winter potpourri with some bay leaves.
Dec. 11- The feast of the Escalade is celebrated in Switzerland. The Swiss defeated the enemy and protected their walled city by throwing vats of hot vegetable soup on the marauders. Make some vegetable soup and top it with grated cheese and chopped chives.
Dec. 12- Roast some onions with plenty of dried thyme. Serve with beef.(ps-don’t throw it on the table!)
Dec. 13-St. Lucy’s Day- Make a tea with a pod of the spice cardamom.Or if ambitious make a cardamom cake or buns to celebrate the Festival of Lights and Lucy on this day.
Dec. 14- Bay leaf, or laurel, protects and purifies. If you have a bay plant treasure it- place it near your manger.
Dec. 15- The herb rosemary makes a pretty tiny spiky wreath. Tie with thin red ribbons for each place setting.
Dec. 16- Today marks the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. Take an herbaltea break this afternoon.
Dec. 17- Add a cinnamon stick for stirring to a cup of hot chocolate.
Dec. 18- Simmer whole cloves, orange peel, powdered cloves and allspice berries for a room refresher.
Dec. 19- Seeded biscuits: Before baking the rounds, paint top with melted butter and sprinkle on poppy seed, celery seed and fennel seed.
Dec. 20- Make mulled wine for an open house. Warm red wine with 1-2 Tbsp. sugar, some cinnamon sticks, and orange/lemon segments.
Dec. 21- Serve your next steak with a generous pat of rosemary butter. To soft butter add minced rosemary, ground pepper and a splash of lemon juice.
Dec. 22- Make some cranberry/mint ice cubes. Add 1 berry and 1 small mint leaf to ice cube compartments. Cover with a little water.Freeze. When frozen add more water to encase the berry.
Dec. 23-Defrost last summer’s pesto and serve on pasta tonight.
Dec. 24- In many homes fish is the tradition on Christmas eve. Fennel fronds go well with all fish and lend a clean anise flavor to a fish soup.
Dec. 25- Serve your Christmas roast on a bed of curly parsley and surround with cherry tomatoes.
Dec. 26- Traditional “Boxing Day” in England. Collect, recycle any boxes, paper and ribbons today and enjoy a plate cinnamon topped snickerdoodles.
Dec. 27- Revisit your tins of spices today and toss any that have lost their punch. Restock with fresh spices for the coming new year.
Dec. 28- Have omelets for dinner tonight. Top each with a shower of chopped chives, marjoram and Italian parsley.
Dec. 29- Place lavender sachets in coat closets.
Dec. 31- If t home for New Year’s Eve plan on a cheese fondue or raclette- a sprig of thyme on the cheese tray will neutralize odors.
Submitted by Rita Richardson