April 2, 2009

Never Enough Thyme

Between you, me, and these 12-hour days of tending to the last, lingering 15 credits and various unpaid internships- it's easy to find an occasional Dorito on my plate and gummy bear on my desk. Happy hour at the Happy Gnome, with two friends I don't see nearly enough, is just as good of a cure as any - especially when dark beer and baguette are involved.

Needless to say, my energies are not focused on cooking complex dishes, and I've temporarily lost the drive to make time to cook. That is, until lemon thyme showed up. I know what you're thinking, "What a play on words, must be a journalism student, right?" But hang on, I'm no David Sedaris. Thyme is serious business.

Although seemingly boring and mundane, lemon thyme behaves as chervil's big sister - a little more robust, mature, and fresh. With chervil - think sundress and Lip Smacker. With lemon thyme - think black fitted baby-T, pearls, and red lipstick. Got it? Good, let's move to the kitchen. The question always remains, "What do I do with it?" I seasoned my recent batch of tomato soup (thanks to mom and dad's preserved summer garden) with lemon thyme, but I imagine it making a delightful compound butter (regular butter spiked with flavor by mixing with herbs or spices). I would suggest spooning nubs of this on meat, vegetables (corn on the cob?), or pasta - any savory dish you'd use normal butter with, really.

I may have stooped to an all-time low when I put stewed prunes on a pb&j this week and decided not to write about it, pretending like I don't do that, but can I redeem myself with this morsel-sized tip? Use thyme (and butter!) to save time. A simple addition to a simple ingredient for an interesting spike in your life. And one more tip, relating to the subject of the day - make more time for YOU. Read, cook, write, knit - something! Treat yourself like a friend. There's no other person you'll spend more time with, so be kind! She (or he) will probably like you back.

Herb Compound Butter
(from The Hungry Mouse blog)


1 stick of butter (8 Tbs)
2 Tbs fresh chives, chopped (optional, but highly suggested)
1 Tbs thyme leaves, chopped (use any herb you like)

Soften the butter. (Leave your butter out on the counter for about a half an hour to soften it up.) Place it in a bowl and mash it up with a fork. Add the optional chives and your herb of choice into the bowl, and mix until there's a uniform consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. You can use it right away, but it's best when stored it in the freezer this way for later use.

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