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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Don't forget to stop and smell the rosemary!

    I went running a few weeks ago with a friend at Shelby Farms. Shelby Farms http://www.shelbyfarmspark.org/sfpc/front is an amazing and massive city park here in Memphis. It has beautiful landscape,running trails and bison (or buffalo...you be the judge). So I meet her there,make a quick trip into the facilities and I'm ready to run in no time flat.As we're walking to the trail, I notice the nice landscaping they have around the guest station and lo and behold there is a massive rosemary bush! I make some comment about how lovely it is and then I run my hands the through its branches,smell my hands and take in a whiff of my 2nd most favorite herb (my 1st being mint,any kind of mint really...but that's a later conversation). Now I have done this move before,I see rosemary,touch it's branches,smell my hands and instant "ahhhh",the difference in this certain time and all the others was I NOTICED IT!  My sweet sister has the same reaction to roses.We would stop in the grocery store to pick up something and stop in the floral department.Walk by a rose bush or even see a few fresh roses on display.She always reminds me to stop and smell the roses. She takes a quick minute from her thoughts,routine or whatever may be going on and she takes in a moment of appreciation for the simple things. She's taught me well.
  
      Rosemary is a staple culinary herb and it has way more to offer than just a pretty herb in your garden or in a city park next to the guest station. The two most recent uses for it in my kitchen have been a delicious dip and mixed in with butter(or olive oil)to make really good garlic bread. Enjoy!
    


White Bean and Rosemary Dip
Ingredients:
2 15oz can cannellini beans,rinsed and drained
juice of half a lemon
1 TBL fresh chopped rosemary
2 clove garlic,roughly chopped
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp gr. black pepper
(for a spicy kick substitute 1/4tsp red pepper flakes)
1/2c extra-virgin olive oil,divided
Directions-
 -in the bowl of a food processor place all the ingredients EXCEPT the olive oil.Pulse a few time to combine.Then with the food processor running,drizzle olive oil through the feeder tube into the mix and puree dip to desired consistency.Scrap this really good dip into a serving bowl,drizzle a little bit more olive oil on top of the dip and break out the tortilla chips!
*This dip keeps for a few days in the fridge,it might dry out a little so just drizzle on some more olive oil and you've got yourself a tasty midday snack.
*Another note,this dip does really well at parties.Folks like it quite a bit and the thing I love most about it is IT'S SO EASY TO MAKE!
  Oh the rosemary fun continues,ready here goes:  I made this dish http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000281351  from Virginia Willis's cookbook Bon Appetit,Ya'll the other night for some family and threw together this rosemary garlic bread .It sounded easy and really I was just craving the ingredients and add in a learning experience and ta-da ! we've got tasty garlic bread.
  
Rosemary Garlic Bread
Ingredients:
1 loaf french bread,halved lengthwise
1 stick butter
2 medium size rosemary branches
4 coves garlic
2 tsp kosher salt (any salt will work really)
Directions:
 -On a cutting board chop up together the rosemary leaves,garlic cloves and salt. The salt will draw out the moisture from the garlic and you will star to see the garlic get soft at this point you can either use the back of a spoon to make a paste of the mixture or CAREFULLY hold the top edge of your knife and drag the blade over the garlic mix and it will form a paste of sorts after you've done this move a couple of times. Soften the butter in the microwave,stir in the garlic/rosemary mixture and cover.Spread this on the bread and bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes,just long enough harden the edges.Slice in to strips and enjoy!

**LEARNING MOMENT!** So my dear husband was helping me get dinner ready and was in charge of spreading the butter/garlic/rosemary  mixture on to the bread. Somehow he buttered one of the halves of bread with ALL of the butter mixture and there was none left for the other half! So in a quick move,he scraped off half of the garlic/rosemary mixture and spread it on the other half.I drizzled some olive oil( I would say maybe 1/4c total,if I had to guess) over the same half and we were saved. All of that quick thinking gave us two recipes really for some great garlic bread and another cooking moment together. Thanks honey.

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