Saturday, December 17, 2005

Laurel's Resting on my Patio

At Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging roundup of a couple of weeks ago, I learned about growing your own bay leaves from Mae Gabriel at Rice and Noodles. Well, actually I've long known that you could grow bay leaves (also called laurel), because at my previous house in San Francisco, we had a cute, meatball-trimmed little laurel tree. But I never picked the leaves off for cooking. Dumb!
Since my parents recently gave Cranky and me a generous housewarming gift of money to be spent on a pot for the patio, I decided to grace the pot with a new laurel tree, from which I would pull leaves for braises and sauces and — well, we'll just keep thinking of ideas. Thanks for the nudge, Mae!
I know that there's an edible California laurel species. If I knew what it looked like, I might have foraged some bay leaves from neighbors' yards during August's Eat Local Challenge. But I was in the unknow.
At my wonderful local garden store the other day, I was shown a Greek laurel tree. "Bush," they called it, but they allowed it could be allowed to grow tall (and then it wouldn't have to share ignominious ignomenclature with a lyin', cheatin', law-breakin' president). The fellow who did the heavy lifting there — 30+ year employee, and still loving it — yanked off a leaf and crushed it for me to sniff. Ambrosia. (That's Greek!)
So there it is on the rain-spattered patio. I figure that's local enough.
No, Bean Sprout was not interested in posing with the new tree. Not today.

12 comments:

judzu said...

Glad you have a proper laurel tree-let (I refuse to say the B word). Actually you can use leaves from California bays, but they're SO strong tasting and their oils are pretty heavy-aromatic. When they are dried, they are less powerful so you use less. But the Greek kind you have now should prove to be a favorite herb. I left one behind at the house from which I just moved but I intend to get another soon.

kudzu said...

Actually, it's kudzu. Blame it on the dwindling daylight -- can't wait till after the Solstice when every day will be a little longer.

Kalyn said...

We are channeling each other. I wrote abot bay leaf too, only I had to get mine at Wild Oats. Lucky you to have a plant.

strawberry said...

It's winter here, so I'm going to use this advice when spring comes!
I heard that bay leaves originated in a south-eastern country called Indonesia. That's where I come from!

cookiecrumb said...

Judzu! Great typo. Thank you for the knowledge about bays. Um. Laurels. Solstice any day now!!
Kalyn: See?
Strawberry: Indonesia! xxx

mg said...

Was my ears burning? Yes! both of them. LOL. Thanks for mentioning me.

When i was reading your past post about going to the garden centre last week, i think, i wondered to myself if you picked up one - and you did!

Lovely Bay tree you got there. If you feel so inclined, you could trim the 'Bush' to make a little topiary too (like a meatball) as i can see it to have potential for this.

Sure beansprouts will get used to the new addition! LOL

Paz said...

Beautiful! Love the tree! I miss Beansprout, though. ;-(

Paz

shuna fish lydon said...

The flavor of the California Laurel actually goes well with chocolate...

cookiecrumb said...

Aw, rats, and here I am stuck with Greek laurel!
How would you pair chocolate and laurel, Shuna? I'm always intrigued by savory-sweet combos.

kitchenmage said...

god i love fresh bay... i've had a tree for years now; last time we moved it came in the pickup truck with me and the cats and other important stuff... :-)

bay mashed potatoes rock! melt a little butter with the liquid you're using in the potatoes (milk/cream or something healthy perhaps), bring just to a boil, pull off heat, toss in a couple of bay leaves, let sit while the potatoes cook... remove leaves and use when whipping the potatoes... OMG!

lots of other creamy things... bay-infused whipped cream (apple/pumpkin pie)... creme brulee... or toss a leaf in with cooking rice... i'm infusing some sugar (like with vanilla beans) but i just started it a few days ago so no reports yet...

b'gina said...

You'd know the bay trees if you saw them. They're everywhere up here.

I had forgotten that I have two of those little laurels, so I could have done the WHB, too. Mine aren't anywhere so luxuriant as yours, though.

cookiecrumb said...

b'gina: Go take a picture!
kitchenmage: gaw, what a great idea.