Discovering Tarragon

“King of Herbs, tarragon with its gentle licorice, reminds us not to forget that miracles are possible.” – White Truffles in the Winter by N.M. Kelby

My husband and I found the perfect garden spot for growing French Tarragon. Every spring, the bright green slender leaves burst from the ground offering us this beautiful cooking herb. When added judiciously, it has a distinctive flavor complimenting dishes. I have added dried tarragon to soup, fish, vegetables, and chicken with success. However, I am just beginning to explore cooking with fresh tarragon.

This spring, I experimented with several new dishes. Two of my favorite is a Lemon and Tarragon Roasted Vegetable dish from Easy Veggie Ideas and Salmon with Dijon Tarragon Sauce by Des Kazda from Life’s Ambrosia. Both use fresh tarragon and are delicious! I have included a link to these recipes below and provided you with information about minor adaptations.

This Lemon and Tarragon Roasted Vegetable recipe is full of healthy vegetables. I omitted the butternut squash and replaced it with a colorful mix of fresh little potatoes (from The Little Potato Co., Canada). Before adding them to the pan, I cut the potatoes in half. I added two large cloves of garlic rather than the whole bulb suggested. Finally, to avoid bitter-tasting tarragon, I mixed it in at the end.

The roasted vegetables have been served with Salmon and over pasta tossed in olive oil.

The Salmon with Dijon Tarragon Sauce by Des Kazda was mouth-watering. I broiled Salmon rather than baking it. Then I “removed it from the oven and spooned a dollop of the sauce over the top” as directed. What a treat!

It’s exciting to see the garden awaken after the long Vermont winter. In spring, our perennial herbs along the garden fence are the first to arrive. I look forward to discovering more recipes with tarragon and other herbs from my garden. Happy Spring 2023! — Carole

Recipe Links below

Lemon Tarragon Roasted Vegetables Recipe Easy Vegetable Ideas

Salmon with Dijon Tarragon Sauce Recipe Life’s Ambrosia

The Little Potato Co. Little Trios

Chocolate Almond Biscotti

Biscotti – small crisp rectangular twice-baked cookies containing nuts, made originally in Italy – Oxford Dictionary

I love baking and eating chocolate chip cookies. Our home freezer always contained bags of them. If anyone in my family wanted one, there they were instantly accessible. Chocolaty and firm, but also loaded with butter fat.

Then I discovered Stephanie Jaworski’s video describing how to make biscotti and realized the perfect replacement. Ta-da! The Chocolate Almond Biscotti! Crispy and delicious, they require no butter or oil. In addition, this twice-baked biscotti can sit in a glass jar on the counter without spoiling.

Below is Stephanies’s video showing and telling exactly how to make them. Watching the video makes them easy and fun to make.

These biscotti could be just the treat you need for those moments when you practice “dolce far niente”! πŸ™‚


Notes :

In December 2022, I wrote about Stephanie Jaworski’s Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti that are wonderful for holiday baking. These are also excellent.

For your reference, the biscotti recipes are listed in the Vermont Food Librarian menu under Desserts.

The full recipe — Chocolate Almond Biscotti Recipe with Video

Chemistry in Life

“I make brownies on my bad days,” Elizabeth confessed. “I’m not going to pretend that sucrose is an essential ingredient required for well-being, but I personally feel better when I eat it. Now let’s get started.” – Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

It is exciting to review a recent best-selling novel, Lessons in Chemistry, written by Bonnie Garmus. It’s a fun, clever novel that appeals to feminist sensibility. It is about the chemistry of food and chemistry in life.

The main character, Elizabeth Zott, abruptly gets fired from her position at the prestigious Hastings Research Institute for being unwed and pregnant. The setting is the late 1950s and early 1960s and unwed pregnancy was considered shameful. At Hastings, Elizabeth is perceived as a manipulative temptress and an embarrassment to the company. Unafraid to approach life head-on, Elizabeth is pointedly straightforward and determined to confront the blatant sexism and misogyny she experiences first-hand.

Due to her good looks and outgoing, distinctive personality, Elizabeth is offered the opportunity to be a host on TV cooking show, Supper at Six. Unemployed, she is immediately attracted to its lucrative salary and accepts the position. However, Elizabeth refuses to read the cue cards as requested. Instead, she uses food and chemistry metaphors to empower women to embrace and pursue their professional aspirations. The show becomes wildly popular.

Success in baking and cooking is chemistry. Knowledge about the chemistry of food (ingredients) enhances flavor and can also improve the results. When I first started experimenting with making wild yeast, I remember how magical it was. Combining invisible microbes in flour, the air around us, and even the skin on our hands help make wild yeast.* Three years later, I still think it’s miraculous. Most significantly, understanding the science behind creating wild yeast gave depth and legitimacy to my baking.

This type of legitimacy is what Elizabeth gives women viewers every night during her show Supper at Six. As a result, women tune in and are captivated. While reading Lessons in Chemistry, I became familiar with Gretchen Carlson and recently, Abby Grossberg’s lawsuits. The connections between Elizabeth Zott’s fictional world and our current world couldn’t be more apparent.

Doggedly curious, here is our favorite pet Josie checking out Lessons in Chemistry. (Perhaps Josie was interested the character, Six-Thirty, who is the brilliant and protective family dog,)

There is a terrific Book Club Kit document that provides a letter from the author, book group discussion questions, and two recipes with chemical notations — Better Living Through Brownies and Elizabeth Zott’s Cocktail for the Disenchanted Woman. A link to the delightful chocolate brownie recipe that I used as well as access to the Book Club Kit document is below.

Also… not surprisingly, Apple TV Plus has produced a new drama series based on Lessons in Chemistry. Its debut is this fall, 2023. But read the book first. It’s terrific.


Helpful Links

* Where does yeast in sourdough come from? – The Pantry Mama

Best Homemade Brownies Love & Lemons

The Book Club Kit Knopf Doubleday

Interview with Bonnie Garmus Barnes and Noble

Official Teaser Trailer for Lessons in Chemistry Apple TV Plus