Lunch With My Sister and Herbs

Went to lunch with my sister.  It’s always nice to spend time catching up over lots of food.

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After lunch, I went over to my parents’ and Mom gave me some cucumbers from her garden and some Hmong herbs.  Every year I ask her for herbs to plant in my pot because I don’t have a ground garden yet.  I hope to one day but for now, this is it.

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Growing Herbs

I’m trying my hands at growing herbs again.  They seem to be doing pretty well but I think I’m passed re-potting.  It’s been about three weeks now.

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Food I Grew Up Eating

I know it’s weird to eat herbs that I don’t even know the names of but trust because my parents have always eaten them.  As a kid, I would eat the herbed chicken soup Mom made without ever wondering what the herbs were.  I just remembered it tasted good.

HHERBS0008_800I still don’t know what the herbs are called…except for maybe the herb farthest on the right.  I think that one is called Angelica.  To make this dish, use a sprig of each of the different herbs in the photo except for the Angelica.  Just use about an inch tip of that one.

Boil the herbs with a about a pound of cubed chicken in water.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

HCS0004_800Put about a cup of rice in a bowl and then ladle with the broth and a few pieces of chicken.  Add more salt and pepper if you’d like.

HCS0007_800Mom used to make this with organic whole chicken freshly killed…most the time freshly killed but frozen.  Since I don’t kill my own chicken, and will never, I just buy the breasts from the local grocery store.

There is a really calm effect from this soup.  Once, when I was working and running around with so much going on, I sat down to this soup and instantly, like a light switch, I was calmed.  Relaxed.  That’s when I realized this soup was not just any soup to fill my tummy.  It has some power to it.  Not enough to do anything crazy but enough to calm my senses.  This soup is especially good during cold winters and when I’m feeling a cold coming.

Duck eggs.

DUCKEGGS0011_800I haven’t eaten duck eggs for maybe almost 15 years now.  Maybe longer.  I was never afraid to eat them.  Mom made them look so good and tasty and that’s how I’ve remembered them.  It was a delicacy.  Mom seemed to only buy them when she had extra money.  Sometimes we had to share them.

A couple of months ago I saw duck eggs at the Asian market and decided to buy a couple for my daughters to try.  Their reaction was funny.  Funny to me.  They were actually freaked out that I would even consider eating a duck egg.  I boiled them anyway and cracked the shell.  There inside was a baby duck.  My girls screamed and refused to get a closer look.  They were just grossed out, scared, and shocked.

“Mom!  How could you!”  My 11-year-old yelled.  I don’t know.  I guess times have changed.

If you’d like to see what it looks like cracked open, click here.  I decided to make it a link just in case anyone gets grossed out.  Warning:  it is not a good sight.  I happen to not think too much of it.  It’s just a cooked duck egg and to me it tastes good.

Chicken Laab With Home Grown Mint

In late spring I bought a baby mint plant with plans to plant it somewhere in the backyard.  I never got to it but continued to water it in hopes that I would do it over the summer.  Still never got to it.  It grew kind of wildly and I wanted to trim it but I didn’t want to waste any of it’s fragrant leaves.  Chicken laab came to mind a couple of times but then things got in the way.  I finally got to the point where I was craving chicken laab and had to make it.  I’m so glad I did.  It was delicious and I feel happy not wasting the mint.

MINT0123BRDR_640CKHLAAB0125BRDR_640 I’ve also been craving hot green tea with a sprinkle of mint leaves.  Maybe I’ll have that this evening.

From the Garden

What would I do without Mom and Dad’s garden of veggies, herbs, and two humongous peach trees soon to ripe with sweet juicy peaches?  I don’t know how to garden and I’ve tried to garden in indoor pots but nothing ever turns out right.  Plus, I am also fearful of garden bugs.

Last week, Mom called to say that she had some zucchinis, cucumbers, beans, and corn in a bag with my name on it and that I should stop by to pick it up.  She and Dad have a small garden in their backyard in which they tend to like a newborn child. They also have a small section of an herb garden full of Hmong herbs and mint (photo above).  Over the summer and early autumn, Mom always prepares bags of their veggies and peaches for the siblings to take home.

I’ve boiled the corn (above), made a spicy cucumber salad, sauteed zucchinis, and boiled string beans, and still have some left.  Everything is always delicious and I think because it came from Mom and Dad.