I cook with herbs out of my garden, year round. In fact, if I only had room to grow one thing, like in a sunny windowsill, I’d grow pots of herbs. Herbs make food taste good. Fresh homegrown herbs make food taste phenomenal with just a few snips of my scissors. And it doesn’t hurt that a packet of seed or a small herb start is affordable and cheap when compared to the price of herbs in the supermarket.
|I keep herbs in a wine barrel on my back patio.|
I’ve been growing my own herbs for 15 years. I dabble and try new herbs, but I’ve found that I like to keep rosemary, bay, lovage, thyme, oregano, chives, garlic chives, parsley, pineapple mint, and chocolate mint on hand. All of these can be grown in containers or in the ground. I grow herbs in my Victory Garden, table garden, and in a wine barrel. I encourage my neighbors to share my Victory Garden herbs because it helps keep my plants compact and healthy.
My Pirate adores ranch dressing and not the cheap stuff. So last year, I dabbled with making my own ranch dressing from scratch. It was a revelation! It was delicious, affordable, and easy to make. It’s creamy and rich when you use full fat ingredients, but the low fat version tastes great too. I recommend letting it refrigerate for an hour for the flavors to meld together. This is our basic recipe that we tweak to our hearts content. Sometimes I add hot sauce, different herbs, lemon zest, or sherry vinegar. Let your imagination run wild.
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup buttermilk (approximately)
1 clove garlic, pressed or grated through micro-plane
3 T. finely chopped fresh chives
3 T. finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
Cayenne, salt and pepper
(Optional—My Pirate uses) ½ tsp. onion powder and ½ tsp. garlic salt
Combine. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving to allow flavors to combine. This holds for one week in the fridge, but our ranch dressing doesn’t usually last that long.