Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Little House on the Prairie kind of day

It's been utterly grey and damp and when life allows me to pass a whole day in the kitchen, it is a dream come true. I recently spent time with a fellow resident of Sleepy Hollow, Clare Pierson, who is a modern day kitchen witch. She makes ointments, vinegars and oils from plants, trees, seeds and berries and is a venerable fount of information.

Here on Evergreen Way we have a vegetable bed that is not especially well tended. (Sometimes I completely forget to pick whatever is ripe and end up leaving it for the critters.) One of my favorite herbs to grow is lemon verbena which needs virtually no maintenance (my kind of plant) as it becomes the most astounding bush of fragrant leaves if left to its own devices. Before the snow last week, I made a mad dash outside to harvest some branches and today, in a nod to Clare's inspired creations, I made a bottle of lemon verbena infused vinegar. It now sits patiently inside the cupboard as I imagine the tangy flavor it will yield in a few weeks' time. When I was growing up and reading all about the trials and tribulations of the Ingalls family, the necessity to put food by to use in the lean winter months made a huge impression on me.  We don't live on the prairie, and we don't live in a sod house, but in our way I too seek to tuck away treats to brighten the palate in the cold months that await us along the river.

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