Friday, September 05, 2008

Simon and Garfunkel Sang About It So You Know It's Good


Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. The Fantastic Four of the herb garden. Today, we pay homage to rosemary, which looks like prickly pine needles but tastes oh so good.

Here's an herb rub that you can slap on a piece of meat right before cooking so you can enjoy a low fuss dinner that doesn't involve a lot of planning. You can also use this rub as a seasoning to enliven a ho-hum recipe that needs a flash of brilliance. Rosemary, the superstar of this herb rub, is an excellent flavoring for beef and lamb, not mention chicken and turkey. Its woody fragrance pairs especially well with the succulence of a juicy steak or lamb chop.

Rosemary also has a reputation for improving memory. Shakespeare buffs might remember Ophelia's line from Hamlet: "There's rosemary, that's for remembrance." So toss aside the ginkgo biloba pills and instead bite into a big, fat steak seasoned with this rub. Even if your brain doesn't respond, your taste buds will.


4 tablespoons dried rosemary
3 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard

Gently crush the rosemary with a mortar and pestle. If you don't have a mortar and pestle, crush the rosemary against the side of a bowl using the back of a heavy spoon.

Thoroughly mix together the rosemary and the remaining herbs and spices.

Put the rosemary rub into a container with an air tight lid. Store in a cool, dark place up to one year.

Makes almost 2/3 cup of rub, enough for several uses.


1. MEAT: Massage a spoonful onto both sides of a steak or lamb chop before cooking. If you have time, let the meat rest in the fridge for an hour or two before cooking to allow the oils of the herbs to penetrate the meat.
2. GRAVY: Stir a big spoonful into your favorite homemade gravy recipe. Or, buy a can of plain gravy and spiff it up with this rub.
3. MEATBALL SANDWICH: Add 2 teaspoons to an 8 ounce can of plain tomato sauce. Heat over medium heat and serve with good quality frozen meatballs, prepared according to the package, on crusty buns.
4. QUICK FOCACCIA: Use your favorite prepared pizza dough (look for it in the dairy aisle or in the freezer section of the supermarket) to make a quick snack or appetizer. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray. Press out the dough into the desired shape until it is one inch thick. Score the top and brush generously with olive oil. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of Rosemary Rub and 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese across the surface. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Serve warm or at room temperature.
5. EASY ROAST CHICKEN: Drizzle a whole chicken with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cut a lemon in half and squeeze the juice over the chicken. Stuff the lemon halves into the chicken's cavity. Rub 1 tablespoon of rosemary rub into the skin. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, eighteen to twenty minutes per pound.

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