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  • Writer's pictureTrish Bentley

Tuscany in a Jar

When I went to Italy this past summer, I fell in love.

And no, it wasn’t with some Italian man with an exotic accent and a good head of hair. I already have a British one like that. I fell in love with herbs.

Herbs have always been an intimidating part of cooking for me, the sort of gateway to ‘real cooking’. I was just never sure where to put what. That was until I met David (pronounced Dahhveeed). He was the chef who taught our cooking class at a beautiful Tuscan winery set against lush hills of sunflowers and, of course herb gardens.

My sister, my brother (and a girlfriend of his that has since gone bye bye), my step-brother, and I listened intently as Dahhveed identified each herb we had just picked from their garden, and what its special power is. Later, as we were making pork medallions, he introduced something called ‘green salt’. Because I was either hungover from the night before, or a little buzzed from the wine they served us at 10 am (Mama had some fun in Italy), I have no idea what the exact measurements were. I just remember him throwing sprigs of thyme, rosemary, some oregano, and bay leaves into the food processor and then dumping sea salt over. Man, was it good. Dahhveed suggested to use this salt on meats, fishes, vegetables and even in bread crumb mixtures used for coating meats. I’ve been using it on everything.

I will warn you though, be careful with the amount that you use, this shizzle packs a serious boom.

After we left, my sister (the one with all of the good ideas) suggested we bottle this goodness up and give them away as hostess gifts.  So that’s what we’re doing.

After checking out some recipes online and doing some trial and error, here is recipe:

– 1/4 cup of sea salt in food processor.

– Add a couple of springs of fresh thyme, rosemary, oregano and 3 bay leaves.

– Mix it up and voila: Tuscany in a jar.

*Keep in the refrigerator. It lasts a few weeks.

I must mention that I am not a DIY queen. I try, but I am nothing like some of the design contributors (that will be sharing their talents soon) who come up with amazing ideas and presentations. This is just a little bit of rope and text printed on to a piece of heavy paper. You could do something a lot more elaborate.

What is important, is what’s in the jar. Your gift recipient will love you for it.

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