Saturday, November 1, 2008

Lemongrass Madness!

Today was the long-put-off day of harvesting herbs for drying and freezing.  I hate admitting that winter is coming.

So I cut down the sage, parsley, curry, lavender, lemon verbena, and lemongrass.  
Most of these herbs will dry nicely hanging from my living room ceiling...

But the lemongrass is special.  Lemongrass is one of my top 5 aromatics of all time.  I always keep some dried lemongrass on hand, but growing it in my garden this year has been really rewarding.  The tart smell fills the air the second you cut the stalk.  I'm trying to figure out the best way to preserve this pungent flavor and all those great oils.  My first thought was freezing.

So I chopped up the most tender part of the stalks in the food processor and then packed it into ice cube trays.  I poured water over the lemony bits and froze them.  I'm hoping this will make a great addition to soups, sauces, and such.

But I still had LOTS of lemongrass left, so I decided to experiment.  Next came lemongrass-scented olive oil (center).  I think after a few days of steeping I'll strain the oil and keep it in the fridge to use in super awesome salad dressing or as a finishing oil.

Then I figured I'd better try vinegar, too (right).  So I added more lemongrass puree to 1/2 cider vinegar and 1/2 rice vinegar.  I'll strain this off eventually, too.  

Last I made 2 big batches of spicy lemongrass broth in the pressure cooker.  I used onions, cilantro, galangal, lemongrass, garlic, chiles, and salt.  Mike's on his way home with the lime juice to add to the broth.  This stuff is amazing!

This might satiate my lemongrass cravings for a little while.


Anonymous said...

I am dying to find some lemongrass. I been searching everywhere and tehre seems to me no Asian markets near me!!!! One of these days I will find lemon grass and my dreams of making Green Thai Curry and Pad Thai will come true. I love what you are doing with your herbs. I been wanting to start a herb garden but my mom is too lazy to go and get the herbs for me.

Lily Girl said...

Your herb garden is so prolific! I want to try lemongrass, but I'm curious - does it spread like, well like grass, or does it restrain itself a little?

Alice (in Veganland) said...

You got creative with your lemongrass! I hate to admit I never buy it, it's too difficult to find! (and it was too expensive the time I found it...)

Sanja said...

Wow, you're so creative with lemongrass. I love the color of the broth!

aimee said...

I completely envy you your garden. One of these years I am going to put in vegetables and herbs. I am. I swear!

Virginia said...

i bet the hanging fresh herbs make your place smell amazing!!!

Claire said...

Would you please give quantities and directions for the broth? I've never made broth in my pressure cooker, and I heart lemongrass. I think it's the best feel good flavor when you're tired or feeling ucky.

Also, check out vegetarian time's pho recipe. nice mushroom-soy broth that tastes heavy like the authentic beef broth. They also use cinnamon and anise star in the broth, and it's amazing. in fact, i may make that tonight- it's damp and grey in philly today.

Liz said...

Here's the recipe for the broth to the best of my recollection:

1 yellow onion, chunked
4-5 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 bunch cilantro (mostly stems)
5 or so Tabasco peppers
2 inches ginger chunks
1 tsp. dried galangal
3 Tbsp. pureed lemongrass
6-7 lemongrass stalks

Add everything to your pressure cooker. Add enough water to fill it 1/2 way (for mine this is 3 quarts). Bring up to pressure and cook for 15 minutes. Cool to release pressure. Strain broth and use, freeze, or can it.

I left my veggies in and filled the pressure cooker with water again and got another 3 quarts by repeating the process! It turned out just as flavorful as the first batch.