Thursday, August 28, 2014

Those strange, powerful herbs

Sage and rosemary, which in my estimation are misused by many, but i conquered rosemary by dicing it thin and putting just enough to enhance a dish and not overpower it.
I have a sage plant which bloomed wonderful purple/blue flowers last year, but i have hesitated using it for cooking.
Lauded by many, but the few times i tasted it from professional kitchens, i gagged.
The other problem is the plant, unlike rosemary does not smell good and so my hesitancy was reinforced by the plants aroma.
As usual, i experimented.  I had heard of smudge pots used by "spiritualist" to drive away negative spirits or cleanse a home of bad "vibes" and i wondered how bad it would smell if i burned a small container of dried leaves.
First, burning the leaves turned the unpleasant odor to a marvelous aroma.  No wonder people thought burning sage would do wonderful things, the transformation from ugly to beautiful was amazing.
On to cooking.
I used lentils as a base since i knew that lentils stand up to powerful Asian Indian spices.
Taking a few fresh leaves and using the chiffonade method to cut thin ribbons, i added just a half a teaspoon to a cup of lentils.  When the lentils were cooked, i tasted them to see.
there was a slight earthy odor that was a little sweet, but nothing overpowering.
Cooking the sage had transformed the awful odor (and dare i mention the bitter taste) to something very wonderful.
Sage is another of those strong spices i will add to my list of "to use in a sparing manner" when a dish calles for it.