Ah, it’s been awhile since I welcomed you all in to a sneak peak at my cozy cottage life, as part of my cozy cottage weekends feature! Today I am taking you back to my first Summer at the cottage when we first became home owners (just a year ago). Open the cottage gate, grab your cup of tea or coffee and come sit with me for a spell as I tell the tale of “The Time I Fed My Family Coreopsis Mashed Potatoes” !
I had always wanted to own a garden. I had always wanted to grow herbs. The Summer of 2013 I got my wish, as God provided a home for us that came with both already built right in! I felt I must have died and gone to heaven that first Summer, as I had a good look around and discovered the abundance of plants that were practically handed to me. It would be prudent to point out here that I had no gardening experience whatsoever. Just a love of nature and a pretty good eye. I spent that first Summer madly researching types of plants, herbs, and flowers via every resource I could think of (mostly the internet, but also encyclopedias and the like). Curious by nature, I wanted to learn to identify each plant on the property so I could properly care for and utilize them.
This led me to my first foible as a new (and inexperienced) gardener and culinary adventurer! The youngest of the two sons who had inherited and were selling the estate we now call home, took me around the yard to show me some things and help me identify what he could. His parents had owned the home since 1950 and he grew up there, but of course it had been quite some years since the boys had lived there too. One of the plants he pointed out to me, of which I was quite excited about, was the herb dill!
Now was my chance to try my hand at cooking with real fresh herbs straight from the garden. Feeling like a French chef on one of those tv cooking shows, I went out back to cut some French tarragon and a whole slew of dill to impress my family with a gourmet meal like they had never had before. I can tell you for sure no one ever has had such a meal before or since- HA!!
Harvested herbs in hand , I set off down the street to Mom’s house to make her, Dad, and brother tarragon chicken and mashed potatoes with fresh dill. I can still see myself in the kitchen with Mom, thoroughly enjoying the spicy licorice fragrance of the tarragon as I chopped the fresh ingredients. The dill didn’t have much of a smell. Being that the only dill I had ever been exposed to was the dried and bottled variety from the supermarket, I just shrugged and went about my business.
When cooking and inventing my own recipes , I add a bit of this and a bit of that until I get the desired taste I want. That is one of the secrets to my (usual) culinary success! Let me tell you- It took HEAPS of dill before I could detect much of a flavor at all , and I found myself thinking that dill just wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Ah well, it looked like a gourmet dish at any rate, even despite some of the longish thread-like strands popping out of my fabulous mashed potatoes. Dinner was served and we all sat down to enjoy the first gourmet meal from my very own garden .
The tarragon Chicken was to die for. Of that no one could deny! And actually the mashed potatoes weren’t too bad either. The texture was off though. Mom was raving about the fresh herb foods right along with me as we ate every last bit of those potatoes. Dad and brother kept asking about the green things (they were quite grassy in texture and a bit chewy-not tender like one may expect). Mom and I proudly boasted about the fresh dill with oohs and ahhs over what a gourmet meal this was! We came away from the table feeling blessed to have had such fine cuisine.
A few weeks later, flowers appeared on the “dill”. Flowers that did NOT look like dill flowers. They WERE yellow, but not the right shape, size, or formation. What on earth I thought… Of course I went straight to Google, typing in yellow flowered plants and was shocked at my discovery. HA! The dill was actually Tickseed, aka Coreopsis!! Oh brother. Thank goodness none of us got sick and it wasn’t a toxic plant. After the shock wore off, I couldn’t help but laugh at the thought of me “harvesting” quite a lot of some random perennial flower from my garden that is not at all made for culinary use! I told Mom and we all had a good chuckle.
No wonder why it sort of seemed like we were eating weeds! Needless to say, I went straight to the kitchen and threw out the rest of the harvested Coreopsis that I was drying to save for future meal creations. I am happy to say that the Coreopsis plant came back lush and full this year, despite having at least a quarter of it harvested for cooking haha. Year two of gardening and I have come a long way. I have most everything correctly identified thank heavens to Betsey! Now you can’t say I’m not adventurous or that I don’t try new things!
If you’re ever in the area, won’t you come on over for supper and have a heaping pile of mashed potatoes?
What is the worst thing you have ever fed your guests? Tell me I’m not the only one who has had such things happen in the comments below .
Other funny cooking stories by Rebekah include:
- A Crumby Story (an I Love Lucy like Cookie disaster)
- Happy Little Accidents (or the Surprise Lump Loaf I Cooked Up)
Have a cozy weekend,