Saturday, April 2, 2011

Oregano, Rosemary & Thyme

After Mother Nature's fun little April Fools joke that consisted of rain and snow yesterday, Boston is finally experiencing a little bit of spring weather!  Everyone has come out of hibernation and are out and about on the streets or laying in the parks soaking up the sunshine.

Since it's finally a true day of spring, I figured today is the perfect time to tell you about my new "gardening" endeavor.  I've been wanting to grow my own herbs for some time now, but it took the help of some of my favorite people being in town to make it happen.  This past week we were fortunate enough to have a house full of wonderful visitors!  My mom, Kaston's mom Annette, and my ex-suite mate from Mizzou Kaitlin were here.  It was such a blast having all six of us packed into our tiny apartment.  And no, I'm not being sarcastic.  We got to show them around the city and of course take them to all of our favorite places to eat.
Nick, Mom, Kaitlin, Me, Kaston, Annette
Between the three of them I had the perfect combination of people to get this herb growing started.  Both my mom and Annette are goddesses of gardening so they knew exactly what I needed to get and all the tips on how to plant them and keep them healthy.  Kaitlin of course is the crafting goddess.  Basically our entire year together at Mizzou consisted of crafting beautiful things.  Oh, how I miss it.  Naturally, with her being here for a week we had to craft something.  And what better craft than to paint my new flower pots.  And the rest is history.  I now have three beautiful pots filled with oregano, rosemary, and thyme.  I was really hoping to get parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme to coincide with the blog but these three were my only options.
Doesn't she just look like a crafting queen?
The precious pots.
Pretty, pretty.
It was really hard to contain myself and not put 20 pictures on here.  The pots are my new favorite thing in our apartment.

So I'm sure you're wondering when I'm going to bring food into this.  Well, the time is now.  Like I mentioned in my last blog, I have been rummaging through other food blogs lately.  My new favorite is The Pioneer Woman.  She has such an impressive and intricate blog filled with all kinds of goodies.  You should check her out.  The Pioneer Woman  While I was looking through her blog I was keeping my eye out for a recipe that I could incorporate my freshly grown herbs into.  And I found just that.  It was a bread that caught my eye.  And it called for fresh herbs, just what I was looking for.

4 cups bread flour (or all purpose)
1 cup water
4 oz. melted butter with your choice of chopped herbs.  I used rosemary and a little bit of thyme.
2 tsp salt
1 tsp yeast

To start, I added the tsp of yeast to the water and let it dissolve for a couple of minutes.  I then combined all of the ingredients in my mixer using the dough hook.  It can be done by hand but when I have a $500 mixer that I bought for $12 I will be using it at any chance I get :)

Freshly picked herbs.
Melt the butter and then add the herbs.  Let it cool and then add to the flour mixture.
I let the mixer go for about 10 minutes until the dough had formed a ball and had an elastic texture.  One of the suggestions on the Pioneer Woman's recipe was to mix until you could make a windowpane in the dough, which is where you stretch the dough until it's nearly translucent.  If you can do this without it tearing it's ready.  Great tip.  Thank you Pioneer Woman.

After it was ready, I covered the mixing bowl with a damp cloth and let it rise for an hour or two.  When it has doubled in size, knead by hand for a minute or so.  Then it is ready to bake.  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  The Pioneer Woman baked her bread in a cast iron pan with a top however, I didn't have one that would fit in our tiny little oven.  So I baked in an oven safe glass bowl with a lid.  Whatever works right?  Before putting it in the oven, coat the sides of the dish with olive oil, cut a large x in the top of the bread, and sprinkle with salt.  Bake for 30 minutes with the lid, and then remove and bake for another 15-30 minutes as needed.
Serve warm with melted butter.

I will note that I didn't have bread flour on hand, so I used all purpose, therefore ending up with a more dense bread.  So, if you would like a light and fluffy bread use bread flour, and if you want a dense thick bread use all purpose.  Also, it's wonderful the next day.  I just warmed up a piece and it was just as delicious as yesterday!

If anyone gets around to making this I would love to hear how it turns out!


  1. Homemade bread is possibly my favorite food and this one has my mouth WATERING!

  2. Glad to get a shout out even if I look like a doof in that picture. The bread looks soooo good, nothing like I pictured from your text. Just goes to show how many words a picture is worth...1000.

    I miss you and your yummy food.


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