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There is something very satisfying in growing your own food.  For one thing, you really can't get anything more fresh, but even beyond that, it's the fulfillment of knowing that you tended to it and grew it on your own.  One of the easiest ways to get started is planting herbs.  You can plant your herb garden in a raised bed like mine, or if you're low on space, simply plant your herbs in small pots where you have room outside.

For today, I decided to focus on Oregano.  As you can see from the picture to the right, it's pretty just to look at without tasting!  I have found that it is very easy to grow and you can add it to many dishes.  I think it has a woody, earthy flavor that goes great with tomatoes.

If you're like me, you can eat tomatoes anytime......marinated in a vinaigrette, stewed in a marinara sauce, or just eaten like an apple with a pinch of salt!  One of my all-time favorite ways to eat tomatoes is when they're roasted.  I have adapted this recipe from my mom.  It's easy, delicious, and uses a lot of oregano.   It's perfect as an appetizer, but my husband and I end up eating it for dinner or even breakfast.

Roasted Tomatoes
4 tomatoes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp fresh chopped oregano
lots of fresh cracked pepper
loaf of fresh bread

Preheat your oven to 350.  Remove the stem and cut your tomatoes horizontal into 3 slices for each tomato.  Lay them into a glass baking dish and pour your olive oil evenly on top.  

Sprinkle salt, sugar, fresh pepper and oregano evenly over the tomatoes.

Roast for about 45 minutes or until tomato softens

Slice your loaf of bread and put on as many tomatoes that you can fit!

I put a little shredded Manchego on top for kicks.  Pair this with some wine and you've got yourself a treat!

Another way to use oregano is in dressings.  I don't think I've bought salad dressing in 3 years.  It's so simple and much cheaper to make your own.  Here are two dressings that you could try!

Garlic-Oregano dressing
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp fresh oregano
1/2 Tbsp honey
1/8 tsp salt
small pinch of red pepper flakes

Put all ingredients in a food processor.  This is great on salads, but would also be delicious over chicken.

Everyday Salad dressing  (this is one of my standards)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 Tbsp jam (I happened to have black raspberry jam in the fridge)
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp chopped fresh oregano
1/8 tsp salt

Whisk everything up together, and you're done!

I hope everyone is inspired to go out a plant some herbs.  Start small and try out some recipes, or just make some up of your own!  I promise that is won't just taste good, but it will feel like you've accomplished a lot.  

Written by noreply@blogger.com (Christina) — March 01, 2014