Nine precious ingredients to save in your freezer

Frozen ginger root and jalapeno peppers

Have you ever bought a fresh ginger root, used half an inch, and ended up throwing out the rest? Or bought a lemon only for the zest?

Do you find that the bunch of parsley you buy in the store is way more than you could use before it wilts?

Items like these I call precious ingredients. They’re precious because they add an important lift to your cooking. But precious also means “small.” You only need a small amount of these ingredients, usually much less than what you get in the minimum-size store packaging.

You can save the remainders of precious items from the trash by storing them in the freezer. And in all cases, you’ll do just a little work to process them upfront, and save yourself precious minutes of prep time when you take them out to use them later.

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Fast, Cheap, or Good?

Chinese barbecued pork and duck

I have some workdays that drag into the evening. Sometimes I don’t have a meal plan or the ingredients for supper.

In the past, I would start thinking about what restaurant I could go to. I do something better now.

Fast food, cheap food, and good food

Here’s a quote attributed to Jim Jarmusch: “Fast, cheap and good…pick two. If it’s fast and cheap, it won’t be good. If it’s cheap and good, it won’t be fast. If it’s fast and good, it won’t be cheap.”

Are these really the trade-offs? Let’s see how it works when I apply it to getting supper.

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Thyme

Thyme in the wild

Thyme is a perennial shrub that is grown in several places in the world.

The picture above was taken in the hills overlooking Tourettes-sur-Loup, in the Maritimes-Alpes department in southeastern France. The low grey mounds are thyme plants. From that particular spot, you can look over the Mediterranean. The coast is just 14 km away. It’s a lovely view for the thyme.

The cuisine of the region is Provençal, particularly Niçoise.

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The best herbs for containers

When it comes to herbs for growing indoors, we are rich in choice. Almost every plant nursery or greenhouse has a selection of starter plants intended for the garden but just as suitable for indoors. The catalogues and websites of seed companies will give you even more ideas.

Alas, indoor growing space is limited. And if indoor herb gardening is new to you, you would want to start with just a few plants.

Here are some criteria you can use to narrow down your decision of what to grow:

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