October 20, 2011


This week, Susan successfully experimented with herbs. She made a fresh pesto that she tossed with linguine, tomatoes and long shavings of Parmesan cheese. She also made a chimichurri sauce (parsley, cilantro) which she served with steak, and a lemon rosemary chicken.

Prior to this herbstravoganza, Susan’s hands-on herb experience was limited to fresh basil and dried oregano. This week, she found herself playing with scallions, cilantro, parsley, and arugula and loving it. “I think of parsley as having no flavor, because out of a shaker, it doesn’t. Fresh herbs have a completely different flavor than dried,” said Susan.

Plus, since Susan chose recipes that use handfuls of herbs instead of teaspoons, she noticed another benefit. “In the past, I didn’t buy fresh herbs because I don’t use them up,” said Susan, “Right now, I have a little rosemary, but we’ve used up everything else.” Since rosemary keeps for up to a month in the refrigerator, I feel confident that Susan will find more uses for her rosemary before it goes bad.

But there’s one part of Susan’s coaching session that had this coach jumping up and down, and it’s this: When I asked Susan how much she was salting her food, and if she noticed a difference, she said, “You know, salt isn’t really on the forefront of my mind. I’m thinking about the food now. When I was having dinner last night, I had to stop and ask myself, ‘Did I use it?’”

Hallelujah! Susan, who used to spend a good part of dinner criticizing herself for her salting, has shifted her focus. Sure, there’s salt on the table, but it’s not on her mind as much. She salts once, and is satisfied to see those big ol’ grains of kosher salt smiling up from her plate. 

And now, the conversation at the dinner table is about flavor, flavor, flavor. Oooh, is this chimichurri too spicy? Not according to her husband, who said he’d eat it on anything. She thought her daughter wouldn’t like the pesto linguine since she’d recently staged a Parmesan protest, but as it turns out, what a 6-year-old doesn’t know won’t kill her; she loved it and may even reconsider Parmesan once she learns that Parmesan is one of pesto’s leading ladies. 

This week, Susan’s salt conversation was secondary; now she’s much more interested in what new delicious dishes she can cook. This week, she’s taking a trip to Asia. We found versions of family favorites on cookinglight.com, so Susan is going to rock a Pan-Fried Udon Noodles with Teriyaki SauceBeef & Broccoli Stir Fry, and Sesame Orange Chicken

How’s this month going for you, salt-wise? Let us know!

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