Ingredient of the Week: Fresh Bay Leaves

Guys. Guys. I did it again.

I'm a real dummy.

Hot yoga again, headache again, everything all over again. But I'm trying to trick it this time, you see. I bikram'd at night, so maybe I can sleep it off?

But look! First I want to share this bay with you. Because it has a neat story.

Here is the story of this bay.

I was walking to the nearby market, as I often do, as I'm lucky enough to live near a market I can walk to.

And I passed a tree. I'd passed this tree, oh, at least tens of times. Maybe more than a hundred. And I'd never, ever noticed it.

But I noticed it that day, because it was a gray, rainy day, and suddenly I saw this bright, spring green.

Did you know bay trees are evergreens? I didn't either. But it explains their musky, resin-y aroma. And how well they keep.

Delighted at my discovery, I secretly detached four or five leaves and went about my business.

Fresh herbs always beat dried, after all, and so much the better if I can forage it off someone else (oops, that's not very nice of me, maybe. But I'll never take enough that would be noticed, I can promise you that, anonymous-grower-of-the-bay-tree-on-the-way-to-the-market).

Anyways, that was a lot of dashes to type. The point is, the next day there was a huge storm that knocked the whole thing down. Yup. Clean down.

Tragic, right? So much for my fresh source.

But I was able to make off with some whole branches at least, (still not enough to notice, you scolds). So that oughtta last me.

Especially since I don't have that many uses for bay. This is where I need your help! Apart from vegetable broth (my current most common use for it) and the occasional lasagna, how do you use bay? Do you like it or find it too strong? Let's talk about it it's bay time go!


Cakebrain said...

I have a bay tree that's about 10 years old in my back yard. I thought I lost it 2 years ago with a cold winter. The entire plant was dead so I cut it down to the stump. I was too lazy to dig out the stump and left it. Within a few months, I had a brand new baby bay tree! I didn't know they were that hardy! I rarely need more than a leaf or two of the bay so it's allowed to grow pretty big. I only use it for roasting meats or making stews or sauces. Don't know what else to do with it. Don't think it'll make for good baked goods! My prize herbs from my garden are my thyme and can't kill them and they are so useful!

anne said...

Secretly detached ?! hahahha You should get more and let it dry for future use ;D Come to think of it , I haven't used fresh bay leaves only dried , tragic tsk tsk !

Anonymous said...

I am going to miss the lovely hike down to Grandpa and Grandma's bay tree. Their leaves made the best beef stew.

a. maren said...

neat cakebrain i'm glad your bay survived! also good to know about thyme...i know chives and mint grow forever, but thyme too? i'll have to plant some!

and jeanne i will miss that hike too! i only went the one time, but it was beautiful country.

Michaela said...

so, similar to stock, really, but have you ever had any kind of chicken and dumplings? It is like chicken soup but much less soupy. the soup part is actually gravy. and there are yummy yummy dumplings (British-y, not Asian) on top. I'll send you the recipe. oh. and it uses a bay leaf or two. I think.