The Plant Of Remembrance
Janine Lynne of Black Dog Farms grows fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices on 2 acres for a line of hot sauces, mustards and spice blends. Although her farm is not certified, Lynne is dedicated to using organic farming techniques. (Learn why organic farming is so important to Black Dog Farms in the Jan. 16 issue of MidWeek Kaua’i).
What’s growing now: Aloe, allspice, apple bananas, avocados, basil, bay leaf, black pepper, Buddha’s hand, cacao, caper berries, cardamom, chard, chives, cilantro, cinnamon, cloves, coffee, curry leaf, fennel, Hawaiian chili peppers, jaboticaba, lavender, lemons, limes, lychee, mandarin, mangosteen, mint, mountain apple, nutmeg, oranges, oregano, papayas, pomelo, purple passion fruit, rosemary, sage, thyme, turmeric, white sapote.
Rosemary is a woody evergreen shrub in the mint family. Native to the Mediterranean seacoast, its Latin name, rosmarinus, means “dew of the sea.” The sweet, pine-like scent lingers in the air and on your fingers. Historically, this unfading quality has made it the plant of remembrance and consistency.
Season: On Kaua’i, rosemary can be harvested year-round and can grow into an impressive shrub that’s 3 to 6 feet tall.
What to look for: Fresh rosemary leaves cling to a woody stem. The deep-pine green tops and silvery under-sides should be pliable. The leaves have a sticky residue and the more residue it has, the stronger the flavor.
Storage: Rosemary will stay fresh for up to two weeks if stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Dried rosemary is good for up to six months.
Tips: Use sturdy rosemary stems as a skewer for grilled fish or chicken, use them in place of toothpicks for hors d’oeuvres, or add stems to hot coals for a smoky flavor.
Preparation: Add coarsely chopped needles to a marinade for chicken, shrimp, swordfish or eggplant. Tuck it around meats before roasting, especially lamb. Add several teaspoons to caramelized onions, glazed carrots or crispy potatoes. Use the sprigs in liquids to steam seafood or fish, or add to braises and stews.
Rosemary goes especially well in a pot of beans with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Add raw, chopped leaves to yeast breads, biscuits or scones. In desserts, rosemary’s piney flavor balances sweetness and adds a sophisticated note. Try adding it to simple buttery sweets like short-bread, pound cake or any dessert with pineapple.
Health benefits: Rosemary is antibacterial and an antioxidant. A new study conducted by the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute found that rosemary’s carnosic acid promotes overall eye health. In particular, it protects retinas from degeneration and toxicity, which are related to macular degeneration. The Sanford-Burnham researchers also found that carnosic acid acts as an antioxidant in the brain.
Black Dog Farms hot sauces, mustards and spice blends can be found at: Farmers Market: Waipa, Tuesdays at 2 p.m.; Grocery: Harvest Market and The Market at Common Ground. For more information, visit BlackDogKauai.com.
ROSEMARY FRENCH FRIES These oven-roasted fries are a healthy alternative to fried potatoes. Black Dog Farms Rosemary-Pepper Blend is made with rosemary from the farm, black pepper, garlic and parsley, and makes a wonderful addition to roasted french fries. You can use purple sweet potatoes or yams instead of potatoes.
Makes two servings.
* 2 yellow potatoes, washed and peeled
* 1 tablespoon Black Dog Farms Rosemary-Pepper Blend
* 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut each potato into 16 wedges by slicing the potato in half across the width. Cut the half, in half again, from top to bottom. Lay the flat side down and cut straight through the middle, from top to bottom. Angle the knife 45 degrees and slice each half into two wedges. Repeat with remaining potatoes.
Toss potatoes with rosemary-pepper blend and oil. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, flip fries and cook for another 10 minutes, until tender and golden brown.
Marta Lane is a Kaua’i-based food writer. For more information, visit TastingKauai.com.