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A cook's basket of herbs

Weekend Herb Blogging is Kalyn's weekly venture into the land of herbs and always offers a collection of international food writers weighing in with delightful ideas for using the goodness that is fresh herbs.

Basketofherbs1 Basketofherbs3The onset of fall in evenTinierTown brings morning fog, cooling afternoon breezes, and the annual wine tasting and auction, an event that always brings out a crowd to sample food and drink before spending a few dollars on a variety of donated goods. Depending on the amount of wine involved, the spending may climb to more than a few dollars...or so goes the devious plan.

In the two years we've been here, we have been fortunate enough to be invited to be on the wine-tasting committee twice. It's a terrible chore, requiring us to spend an evening with good friends, testing a variety of wines and nibbling bread and cheese while deciding which wines deserve a place at the actual tasting. Quite an onerous task...or would that be oenopherous? (wow, like the Red Queen, I am going to have to pay that word extra!)

My donation for this year's auction was a basket of herbs and other culinary goodies which held vanilla sugar, lavender sugar, a half-pint of blueberry habanero chutney, some lavender shortbread, and a starter herb garden (greek oregano, chives, lime thyme, rosemary, and a trio of baby sage). Tucked alongside the basket were a few loaves of fresh rosemary romano bread: two baguettes and a beautiful braid.

Rosemaryromanobraidfoswine I was rather pleased with how the basket turned out, and it was bid up to $50.00 $60.00 at the silent auction (pretty good for what may have been a $5.00 investment). I was busy when the winner took it out the door, but someoneElse said they looked delighted with it. I hope they have as much fun using it as I did making it. (btw, if you are that person and see this, drop me a note, I'd love to hear what you think now that you have it home)


I made a couple of other loaves to go on a large table covered with freshly harvested, local fruits and vegetables that was also auctioned off at the end of the evening. I used the same dough but shaped it into an epi (which represents a sheaf of wheat) and a bunch of grapes. They carried the harvest theme well and were fun to make; epis always impress and are simple once you get the hang of it while the grapes were a bit more of a challenge.

I've got a lot of baby herbs and it's almost the season for starting more — we just got our first rain of the fall — and I am guessing that there may be more baskets like this in the future. This was the second time I've done somthing like this and they were both very popular (the other was at a gift-swap party and there was much backroom negotiation over who got it).

So if you are an herb gardener, plan now, get some starts going, and give people their own garden for the next gifting occasion, they will thank you for many years to come.

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