About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Thursday, May 25, 2006
Weekend Herb Blogging
Welcome to the clean, green site of tankeduptaco. I'm doing a bit of recycling today, of an old post that I decided to use as part of my entry to the Weekend Herb Blogging road show, hosted by Ilva at Lucullian Delights, giving the ever hard working Kalyn from Kalyn's Kitchen a well earned break. The original post didn't contain a recipe, so I have added one in.

The original post arose one weekend after I bought a bunch of coriander for a particular dish. Not needing it all, I cut off the roots, which definitely helps to keep it longer and placed the stalks in a glass of water on the kitchen bench. Sound familiar? So you know what happens next too. After a few days of keeping its lonely vigil, the once vibrant green colour is slowly replaced by a mottling yellow, the stalks become slimy and you sigh inwardly, consigning the herb to the bin, vowing not to let such a waste happen again.

Until the next time.

Well this had happened to me once too often, so with this particular bunch of coriander that was leftover, I decided come what may, it would not go to the bin. My main use for coriander is in Mexican food, mainly in salsas and guacamole. Yes, you read that right. In our guacamole. I know, I know, there are as many versions of this simple dish as there are days of the week and them some, and all of them claiming to be the original, authentic recipe. I have some sympathy towards the version merely consisting of avocado, lime juice and salt being the mother of all others, but I will say this, anyone, anywhere making a sauce with avocados and whatever else happens to be handy, is being true to the spirit of Mexican cuisine, and whatever comes to the table as guacamole, will be authentic regardless of what is in it.

However, that is not what this post is about, rather how I used up that leftover coriander.

What I had in the fridge was a big bag of rocket (arugula), which is probably my favourite salad herb of all time. Now when we make salads, we sometimes throw in a big handful of whatever herbs happen to be handy. Today it was coriander. Not knowing or expecting what it would be like, I chopped up the coriander and mixed it with the rocket.

When you're painting with different colours, a rule of thumb is that you should use the same shades together and I think the same when using herbs. Lighter tasting ones such as chervil go well with the gentle taste of fish, slightly stronger tarragon with chicken and so on. Well here are two assertive flavours, could they combine well? What follows is the original post, inspired by a culinary experiment, as well as an added recipe.

Rocket, or Arry (short for arugula) as he was sometimes known, was a bit lonely. Hanging around the salad leaves all day long, was leaving him with the feeling that he would like to find someone special to spend some time with. Sure all the other leaves were nice to him, even welcomed him for the pepperiness that he brought to their lives, but Rocket felt like he was the one that was always giving, always the life of the party, and hanging around the others was like listening to a soft rock station, the music is okay, but not edgy enough. So one night he took off for the clubs, to check out the scene.

Down some winding alleyways, Rocket discovered a dimly lit sign, Zarzuelas. The security person on the door was as large as a bull, and looked just as ornery. Carefully making his way around, Rocket entered the club. Flamenco music was in the background, and plenty of people were at the bar. He spotted La Gitana, the sherry, who was a long way from Sanlucar de Barameda, her home town. Rocket liked her for her dry sense of humour and her ability to mix with a diverse bunch, a bit of a flirt really. At the moment she was talking to the Anchovy Stuffed Olive, they seemed to be getting on well together.

Over in one corner was the brooding Pole, Wodka. He was getting it on with Marinated Mushrooms, which was lifting his spirits. Rocket went to the bar and ordered a drink, an olive oil martini with a splash of lemon, shaken not stirred. Taking a sip of his drink, Rocket gazed around the club. La Gitana had already moved on, and was looking very familiar with Tortilla, and standing next to them was her friend from Portugal, Porto, who was looking pleased to be chatting up Blue Cheese.

At that moment the door opened and in came a very elegant couple, the bubbly Champagne and her escort for the evening, a dapper Swedish chap by the name Gravlax, a salt of the earth type. They made their way to a corner table, and Rocket noticed that La Gitana, in search of meatier conversation, was now talking to Albigondas. That girl had no shortage of admirers. Sensing that this was not the place for him, Rocket made his way back to the street in search of more adventure, and perhaps a partner.

Looking around he spotted another club called The Glasshouse and ventured in. Everyone was on the dance floor, there were a lot of familiar faces, Rosemary with Lamb, Tarragon with Chicken, Parsley trying to dance with everybody. There was a fun vibe to the place, like anything goes. Making his way to the bar, he spotted the beautiful Coriander making her way there too. She had been dancing a Salsa with some Chiles and Tomatoes. Rocket walked over to her.

"Can I buy you a drink?"

"Sure, big boy."

They walked to the bar together, Rocket could smell her pungent perfume, it was intoxicating. He ordered two olive oil martinis with a dash of lemon and they sat and chatted. After a while he realized they had a lot in common, two spirits that had strong personalities. After her dancing, Coriander was a little frayed, and pieces of her were falling onto Rocket. Suddenly, somebody bumped them and their drinks spilled onto each other. Their strong personalities merged into a very pleasing whole and Rocket realized that marriage was a distinct possibility.


Rocket, one large bunch or bag
Coriander, 1/2 a bunch chopped, stalks as well
3 tablespoons olive oil, the best you have
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
salt & pepper

Mix the rocket and coriander in a large salad bowl. Whisk or shake in a jar the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and salt and pepper, then pour over salad and serve.
  posted at 9:29 am

At 12:55 pm, Blogger Kalyn Denny said...

My two very favorite herbs, at least some books call arugula an herb rather than a plant! Whatever it's called I love it and I think it would be great with cilantro.

(Thanks for saying I deserve a break. I think it will be great fun for WHB to be a traveling event. Best of both worlds.)

At 3:25 am, Blogger Ilva said...

This sounds really interesting, I can't even imagine what it tasted like but I wouldn't mind trying it!

At 7:14 am, Blogger neil said...

Hi Kalyn, I so totaly forgot that you call coriander cilantro over there, thanks for that.

Hi Ilva, it's not something that I really thought about doing, it was just that they were there at the same time, a happy coincidence. It tasted good enough to write a post about it, so I'm sure you would like it.

At 8:29 am, Blogger Reb said...

Awwwwwww. I love a happy ending *sniff*

At 6:47 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi reb, me too!

At 4:51 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellant solution to the leftover herb problem. I have the same situation far too often. Your recipe sounds delicious--I love cilantro.


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