Last night we stopped at the Ukrainian Deli, ‘Mom’s,’ in Soap Lake and finished grocery shopping. We came home with delicious tomatoes, cucumbers, and scallions out of their garden as well as lots of fun delicacies from all parts of Europe. I knew I had fresh mozzarella in the frig to use too.
When preparing this Greek salad for dinner I cut several stems of basil to use and to dry; it is wonderfully tasty with a clean licorice finish. The whole kitchen smelled like it for hours. Naturally, there is a lot drying and much more to pick. There are so many varieties of basil, but the original plants are my favorite. When I was about ten my uncle had relatives that farmed basil out on Long Island, we went there for a family event. I recall walking down the rows, smelling the basil and marveling at the compact flower heads. It was apparently nearly ready for harvest. This Italian contingent of the family, married into via my father’s sister, used copious amounts of it in their cooking and it tasted wonderful.
My entire life I have been interested in herbs. My first herb book was Rodale’s Herb Companion, and I still have it. All of my gardens have contained at least kitchen herbs. This garden is no exception; two different mints, oregano, winter savory, chives, garlic, thyme and basil are right up by the deck for ease of cutting. The curly leaved parsley was mowed down by rolly-polly bugs late last year, the flat leaved variety is volunteering in another section of the garden, but the aphids are demolishing it this year. Usually herbs are fairly resilient, but the aphid population is out of control this year.
We also purchased a huge jar of sauerkraut and pork franks (sausages), so we will be eating German tomorrow night. In the morning I will prepare everything for this one pot meal. The recipe I use is from my father’s parents’ friend, not my mother’s German parents, but she ate similarly as a child. An apple, brown sugar and meat combine with the sauerkraut… naturally, I have to start with sauteed onion and garlic. Then there is a dense, flavorful loaf of pumpernickel bread to have with it rather than the traditional potatoes. Maybe at the end of the week we will have to pick up some curry from Moses Lake just to be sure we cover the whole food spectrum.