Friday Recs:

Sorry for not getting further on the three things I have in draft right now (they’re all related to finding a group and evaluating a group you might be interested in). This week has been unusually busy, as it’s been graduation week (complete with two full days of meetings, and being out late for one reason or another on Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday (I’ve got one more week of work to go before my summer break: as I say about this job, the vacation time is excellent, the not getting paid part of it is not so good. I’m hoping to find temp work, but am not, shall we say, entirely optimistic. (I have good skills, but it’s obviously not a great market for it.)

You are probably less interested in this than in my new tradition of Friday recommendations.

After our last formal festivity today, I saw Prince Caspian in the movie theatre, which was visually gorgeous (and I thought they did some very nice subtle things with costuming and visuals.) I’m a longtime lover of the books, allegory and all, but it’s been a while since I re-read, as I prefer watching a movie first, then re-reading, to the other way around. (I spend more time in the movie enjoying it as a movie, and less time gritting my teeth about how it’s different.) I may have more comments about it later.

My actual recommendation:

But the one I really wanted to talk about was buying more herbs. I buy my dried herbs from Penzey’s, also available online. But the store is the really fantastic thing: I walk in there just for the pick me up from the amazing smells.

Penzey’s, based in Wisconsin, produces their own dried herbs. They are high quality, amazingly inexpensive (I can walk out of there with 10 small containers of different things for $15 or so), and widely varied. I can, for example, get both cassia and cinnamon, two kinds of basil, different processed versions of rosemary (full, cracked, and powdered – handy for a friend who hates the ‘sticks’ of them as a texture. They also sell a stock base (handy for people like me who live alone, and do not always have it on hand, or only need a little at a time. I make my own as well, but don’t always have it handy in the right amount), various kinds of salts, and a few other things.

My purchases this time were to restock things I’d run out of – dill, basil, parsley, and one of their mixes, Green Goddess, which is my favorite all purpose one. (It’s dill, basil, and various other things, including a little salt and sugar) that you can mix up into a delicious dip/dressing/etc. with a little yogurt. Healthy and yummy.

Really, though, one of the reasons I adore it is the hit to the sense of walking into the store – a chance to smell the mingled herbs and spices, the chance to try out sniffing unfamiliar ones, or things that have turned up in recipes I’ve looked at. And a chance to add something a little bit special to my cooking for not a large investment. I use them heavily in my bread-baking, too, of course.

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