Herbs are running amok in my backyard, and I couldn’t be happier. But there is something like too much of a good thing. The first year we moved into our home, I planted an innocent looking sprig of mint in a corner of one of my vegetable beds. Little did my green-behind-the-ears gardener self know that by the following year the mint would take over the entire bed and by this summer it was beginning to break out past a brick barrier to take over the rest of the yard.
As much as I love mint, it got to the point where I finally gave in to Desi and let him uproot all of the mint. I saved just a couple of sprigs that I have now planted in a pot, and they’re already flourishing. I am sure I will have all the mint I need in no time, and my vegetable bed will be able to play host to more veggies. Live and learn.
In addition to the mint, I have some perennial herbs that spring back to life each year, thicker and faster than ever before, like some lemon thyme that’s gorgeous in just about anything but particularly so with spuds and eggplant. The sage, a beautiful, hardy perennial gifted by my friend Bess just a couple of years ago. In addition to being super-delicious, it’s also perhaps the most gorgeous herb around with ash-green leaves and purple flowers. Chives, with their mild, addictively onion-y flavor and feathery flowers.
I planted some rosemary in the vegetable garden last year hoping it would return– it is a perennial– but it didn’t for some mysterious reason. So I’ve got some growing in a pot this year because I just long for its intoxicating flavor in a richly vegan “beef” stew. Come winter, I’ll just move the pot indoors and hopefully my rosemary shall live.
Also this year I bought some French tarragon that I’m not sure what to do with, but will find out– and let you know. If you know about good uses for this herb, do share.
As neck-deep in herbs as I am (and I mean it in the best possible way), I try to find new uses for them each time I cook. One recipe I cooked up this week and really loved– and which is very versatile, really– is my Herb Roti.
This is also a high-protein roti, because I mixed up garbanzo bean flour, or besan, and whole-wheat flour to make the roti dough. I also threw in handfuls of mint, sage, and thyme, all finely chopped, along with some spices.
I’m running out of time, and I gotta run. But here’s the recipe, and keep reading to learn a little bit more about me, if you want to.
1 cup garbanzo bean flour or chickpea flour or besan
1 cup whole-wheat flour or atta
1 cup loosely packed herbs (I used thyme, mint and sage, but coriander, rosemary, chives, garlic greens would all be great in here, together, or by themselves). Chop the herbs really fine.
1 tsp salt
1 tsp red chilli powder, like cayenne
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala powder
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and add enough water to make a smooth dough. Cover the dough and set aside for about half an hour.
Shape the dough into 12 smooth balls. One by one, roll them out, dusting the surface with enough flour, into circles around 6 inches in diameter.
Heat a cast-iron or nonstick griddle. Spritz with some oil spray and cook each roti on both sides until reddish-brown spots appear.
Serve with a subzi or chutney. Don’t leave these rotis standing too long because the garbanzo bean flour in them will cause them to stiffen up.
Two talented bloggers and friends, Richa of Hobby and More and Mel of Veganize This!, passed on to me some blog awards: the Versatile Blogger Award and the Stylish Blogger Award. Both require I post seven facts about myself, and I thought I’d take up the challenge. It seemed a little difficult in the beginning because I’ve already shared facts about myself thrice before, in this and this and this post. But once I’d started, they kept coming.
Instead of passing on the award to specific bloggers, I am just going to share this award with all of my blogger readers and friends, including Richa and Mel.
And now here you go–seven random facts about me:
I was a Hollywood movie critic for the Times of India for a couple of years after I first moved to the United States. It was a blast to sink my poisoned fangs into gems including Blade, Meet Joe Black, and Practical Magic.
I could never have a direct conversation with my now-deceased mom-in-law, because we did not have a common language. She spoke only Tamil, and everything she said to me, and I to her– except rehearsed lines like “How are you?” “I’m fine,” etc.– had to be translated by Desi or my father-in-law, or someone else who happened to be around. I still miss her, and wish now I’d learned Tamil fast enough to have been able to speak with her.
I am pretty sure I was born to be a couch potato, but I don’t always get to live like one.
I once covered a Civil War reenactment for the newspaper I worked at and I can’t say I’ve seen anything else like it, before or since. When I got back to my car someone, annoyed perhaps by my PFLAG sticker, had scrawled “Gay” on the dust-covered bumper. Reminded me that my car needed a wash.
Speaking about bumper stickers, I absolutely love them. My car usually provides lots of reading entertainment for other cars at stop lights. My favorite: “Dog is my copilot.” It works especially well when Opie’s riding shotgun with me, as he usually does when he’s in the car.
I don’t believe in life after death and heaven and hell and all those things, but I often catch myself imagining a heaven for dogs where my Freddie– miraculously young and free of disease– is playing fetch with his favorite red ball.
I know that last one was a bit sappy, but that’s just another random fact about me. I am a perfectly sappy person, especially when it comes to animals. I cry buckets each time the ASPCA ad airs, or when I see a kitten with big, round eyes. In fact, I think there’s nothing more beautiful in the world than a kitten, don’t you?