It’s such a relief to find small patches of color cropping up after our wearisome winter. At last!
Crocus vernus, in Portsmouth, Virginia.
SUPER excited from tonight’s premiere of ’Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey’ on 10 freaking channels tonight at 9pm. It’s hosted by astrophysics rock star Neil deGrasse Tyson and intro’d by President Obama.
Lots of stews, stocks, and soups call for bay leaves, but I don’t really taste them in the final dish. Would it make a difference if I left them out?
Here’s an easy way to see what bay leavesreallytaste like: throw a couple in a pot of water and let it simmer. Taste it after five minutes and you’ll probably get a good hit of menthol and eucalyptus (think: Vick’s VapoRub). That’s the chemicaleugenolyou’re smelling, and it’s the biggest constituent in the bay leaf’s flavor arsenal of more than 50 compounds.
Let them simmer for longer as they would in a stew—say, an hour or so—and you’ll notice that the flavor and aroma will change. The harsh nose-clearing menthol will taper down, while more complex tea-like aromas will start to come forward. Those are the flavors you’re looking to add to your soups, stews, and sauces.
It’s understandable why you may think they’re optional. Bay leaf, by its very nature, plays second fiddle to other, more prominent flavors. But just as a grind of black pepper, some sautéed anchovies, or a softened leek might not be instantly recognizable in a stew, they add a layer of subtle background music for the stars of your dish to play over.
I use bay leaves when they’re called for but never really knew what they did. This is cool.
Shasta is pissed off at me today. She had blood work done last Saturday (she’s 13 and I wanted to see how her liver, kidney, thyroid, etc. were faring). She is fine except she has high eosinophils. I am giving her fenbendazole (orally) for 5 days to eliminate any potential GI parasites. She got her first dose today. The next 4 days should be interesting.