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Mary, Mary quite contrary, watches her garden grow


When I told my husband I was going to the Home & Garden show last weekend with a friend, he burst out laughing. I said, “What’s so funny about that?” He replied, “Garden? I can count on one hand the number of times in 20 years of marriage you’ve gotten dirt under those pretty manicured fingernails.” 

I grew up in the city and lived in apartments or condos after college, so the only experience I had with living plants was watering a philodendron weekly. He grew up helping his grandmother and mother on the farm, planting and harvesting vegetables. So when we moved into our house, we hired a landscaper to design a plot for a small herb garden near the back porch. The whole notion of gardening now seemed manageable and something I could do.   

My husband was patient when I over fertilized and killed a few plants or under watered when we went a week without rain. But over the weeks as I nurtured the garden, it was rewarding to use what I’d grown in my cooking. My little garden inspires me to go through my cookbooks and magazines looking for new recipes. 

Whether used by the pinch or by the bunch, fresh herbs pull a recipe together by infusing the dish with unparalleled aromas and flavors without adding calories, fat, or sodium. Sometimes, when the effect I want is subtle, a hint is enough. Other times, handfuls are required. And having a selection of several varieties of fresh herbs in the garden saves me a trip to the grocery store when I have the basics in my refrigerator. 


If I pull out chicken one night, I’ll head to the garden for a few sprigs of rosemary to make this easy dish—Lemon-Rosemary Chicken Breasts (see photo at right). Since I have more basil than I’ll ever need, I turn to the classic Tomatoes, Fresh Mozzarella, and Basil Salad. It pairs well with any grilled meat or fish entrée. Fresh basil and thyme make all the difference in my favorite go-to side dish—Herbed Basmati Rice. In the winter months, I had to resort to buying the individual packages of fresh herbs at the grocery store, but they’re expensive and I found myself throwing away half-used packages when a recipe called for a small amount. 

The weather’s finally warming up, and we have plans to revisit the herb garden for this season. I am anxious to watch their progress week to week in the anticipation of stepping outside my back door to snip something to create tonight’s dinner.

 

See our Herb Gardening 101 story for tips on how to create your own herb garden.

 

 

 

STOPPABLE

 

STOPPABLE

 

 

 

Mary quite contrary watches her garden grow

 

When I told my husband I was going to the Home & Garden show last weekend with a friend, he burst out laughing. I said, “What’s so funny about that?” He replied, “Garden? I can count on one hand the number of times in 20 years of marriage you’ve gotten dirt under those pretty manicured fingernails.”

 

I grew up in the city and lived in apartments or condos after college, so the only experience I had with living plants was watering a philodendron weekly. He grew up helping his grandmother and mother on the farm, planting and harvesting vegetables. So when we moved into our house, we hired a landscaper to design a plot for a small herb garden near the back porch. The whole notion of gardening now seemed manageable and something I could do.  

 

My husband was patient when I over fertilized and killed a few plants or under watered when we went a week without rain. But over the weeks as I nurtured the garden, it was rewarding to use what I’d grown in my cooking.  My little garden inspires me to go through my cookbooks and magazines looking for new recipes.

 

Whether used by the pinch or by the bunch, fresh herbs pull a recipe together by infusing the dish with unparalleled aromas and flavors without adding calories, fat or sodium. Sometimes, when the effect I want is subtle, a hint is enough. Other times, handfuls are required. And having a selection of several varieties of fresh herbs in the garden saves me a trip to the grocery store when I have the basics in my refrigerator.

 

If I pull out chicken one night, I’ll head to the garden for a few sprigs of rosemary to make this easy dish—Lemon-Rosemary Chicken Breasts. Since I have more basil than I’ll ever need, I turn to the classic Tomatoes, Fresh Mozzarella and Basil Salad. It pairs well with any grilled meat or fish entrée. Fresh basil and thyme make all the difference in my favorite go-to side dish—Herbed Basmati Rice. In the winter months, I had to resort to buying the individual packages of fresh herbs at the grocery store, but they’re expensive and I found myself throwing away half-used packages when a recipe called for a small amount.

 

The weather’s finally warming up and we have plans to revisit the herb garden for this season. I am anxious to watch their progress week to week in the anticipation of stepping outside my back door to snip something to create tonight’s dinner.

 

 

 

 

STOPPABLE

 

STOPPABLE