I make no such claims to be much of a chef. It's not that I don't like cooking, though, that may be the case. I think the parts of me that would agree with a statement along the lines of "i don't like to cook" is mostly based on that role of having to cook for people everyday. The whole we-need-to-eat-to-survive aspect that bookends my days and kind of squashes the creativity and joy in it for me. Also having a small kitchen that feels isolated from the rest of the house when I am in there, well it ends up just being cast into the chore zone of life. I really admire people who can take an everyday task and turn into a passion, especially with cooking. I wish I was more like that. I could be more creative. I have been. I am a "good" cook when I do make an effort. I understand flavor. So I usually stick to pretty simple recipes that don't require a lot of time, have as few steps as possible, but still feel like an act of love and nourishment when eating because I think that last aspect is really important.
This is where my herb garden comes in. I like cooking tricks. And adding some fresh herbs to a dish is one of the easiest ones out there. It can immediately elevate food to not only taste better in flavor but also in that feeling one should get when eating with intention (as opposed to mindless snacking, or when a must-feed-kids equals a box of macaroni and cheese). I do love opening my door and picking fresh herbs for a simple breakfast of scrambled eggs, or to make a rub for a roast chicken. My favorite herbs and the ones that I have happily let taken over my herb garden are . . .
Mint - Oh mint. I do love mint, but it's so invasive I can never seem to keep up with it so I have learned to use it as much as possible because cutting it back and tossing it out seems so wasteful (trust me I try to give it away first! not many takers.) I add it to my water (and other drinks), to salads, and sometimes mix it with a little lemon juice and olive oil to douse on chicken breasts. Another great thing to do is to make a compound butter with it and use that for your corn on the cob in the summer.
Tarragon - this has to be one of my favorite spices, it's easy to grow and it seems so under used! Honestly I it use liven up (but not overkill) lots of simple dishes from tuna fish salad sandwiches to scrambled eggs to fruit-based salads.
Oregano - is a nutrient rich spice filled with lots of good vitamins for you. It's most famous for it's use in Italian food, but I also use it frequently in sautés and salad dressings and Mediterranean dishes.
Parsley - Another staple spice that grows really well without being invasive. You can add it to almost everything, it gives it that 'cut' in food like a bit of lemon might, but is mellow enough for even the most sensitive palette. And of course if you really want your parsley to be the star you can make a tabouli salad.
Rosemary - Rosemary is not a quiet herb that's going to shy away in either your food or your garden (it grows to be almost shrub-like). It's loud and fragrant and can be a bit overpowering, but it is also one of my favorites. Of course it's great with roasted potatoes, and on meat dishes. One of the more creative ways I have used it is as a kabob skewer for roasted veggies on the grill, or to flavor a simple syrup to drizzle over a roasted pear or or peach (which goes great with ice cream by the way).
What are your favorite go-to herbs?