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This recipe takes a good thing and makes it better!  I first started making herb butter when we had an abundance of basil in our garden in D.C. and I was in need of creative ways to use up a cash  crop of fresh basil.  Sweet basil butter dripping from end of the summer corn = a little piece of heaven.

It’s so simple it barely deserves its own post, but its simplicity means that you can easily whip up a batch and use it for roasting meats, or to add a little flavor to sauteed or steamed veggies.  You could even butter up your bacon. The possibilities are endless…

 

herb butter

butter (200g)

2 handfuls fresh herbs (basil, rosemary, tarragon, sage), roughly chopped

Let butter soften on counter for a number of hours.  When soft, combine with herbs in food processor and pulse until incorporated.

It’s finally spring, and we just can’t help ourselves.  We’ve spent the last few weekends expanding our garden and filling out our pots and planters.  Every weekend, it’s a plant or two more… Last weekend, we were at a local nursery and spotted some adorable hanging succulents – round little moss balls of dangling joy.  So cool, had to have one, maybe a couple.

Only problem was the shop lady seemed to think this 10″ ball of dirt + mother nature was worth $60, for one! So instead, we brainstormed on the walk back to our house as to how to DIO (do it ourselves).  Then we jumped on the tram, did a little googling in transit, bought the necessary materials for $40,and in 2 hours flat had ourselves 4 adorable little Kokedama.

(plus enough leftover bonsai soil and moss for at least 4 more!)

The process is shockingly simple, but two sets of hands was definitely necessary for the wrapping. Check out the DIY instructions.

Sadly, we don’t have quite the outdoor space that we did in D.C. (the pool really takes up a lot of space, it’s a terrible shame…). Nor do we plan to resume such a grand garden, since our two-year time horizon makes it hard to invest in too many living things that we can’t bring back with us.  But since my tomato consumption rivals that of a small village, and we figured that veggies and herbs that will just die off at the end of a well-picked season are the best gardening investment, we have a few pots here and there.

Now, the greenery is under attack!  When we first moved in, we noticed a few snails climbing the walls of outdoor terrace after it would rain.  And then, a few nibbles on the new basil and lettuce.  So I moved most of the smaller herb pots and lettuce planter to our second-story balcony, and that seemed to be the end of it.  Sunny skies, no more nibbles… all was solved.  Then one Friday night, it was cold and rainy and we decided to stay in and make some delicious pasta my favorite way – saute al dente pasta in oil and crushed whole garlic cloves, top with fresh basil and a heavy sprinkling of cherry tomatoes.  Out I went to the garden to grab a fistful of basil and got nothing but shell! Totally freaked, I grabbed out flashlight and there were literally snails everywhere. 

We started collecting them (they especially enjoy hiding among the tall grassy leaves of the bush in one corner of our terrace) and collected a total of 42 snails. Yes, I am guilty of mass extermination of slimy creatures. Since then, our garden has continued to be demolished by more and more snails, caterpillars, grasshoppers, and goodness knows what else lurking in the dark corners.  Heirloom fingerling carrot seedlings that had just sprouted from seeds I smuggled here from the U.S…. gone.  Delicious purple sage, decimated.  House cat, intrigued, but not useful as a side-kick exterminator.  Seriously…not cool.