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The following is a list of all entries from the Products category.

Growing A Windowsill Herb Garden In New York City

courtesy of dailymail.uk. Their's looks so lush, I couldn't resist the picture.

My manicurist is starting to get really annoyed with me. I always show up with dirt under my fingernails because I’ve been expanding my herb garden. Yes, sadly, I’ve reached that age where I felt the need to plant an herb garden. And even sadder, yes, my herb garden makes me happy.

Growing up in queens, my grandmother always planted a beautiful garden. I grew up with stunning roses, gorgeous tulips, juicy peaches, sweet watermelon, pears, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes and god knows what else. Well I do know what else, but it’s too long to list. Though I must say, I guess I got my penchant for eating random berries from her, which really aggravates my friends because they always feel the need to stop myself from poisoning myself. I never got sick with my grandmother because she could tell which berries wouldn’t kill me, a habit I never picked up. Today, living in Manhattan doesn’t allow me the luxury of having a backyard. So a year ago, I decided that since I spent so much money buying fresh herbs, I might as well start my own windowsill garden.

My first time around, I hit up the farmers market at Union Square and bought basil, parsley, cilantro, chocolate mint, rosemary, sage, spearmint, thyme, oregano and dill. I managed to kill half of them in six months. The other half fought for their lives and somehow managed to survive under my care. Not one to give up when it comes to food, last month I tried to replace my murdered plants and ended up at a lovely hardware store on the corner of 1st ave. and 6th str. in the East Village. I had originally been on my way to the farmers market again, but it was Sunday and they were closed, and this wonderful gentleman overheard me lamenting about herb plants and directed me to this store.

After talking to a couple of the workers at the hardware store I learned a few things.

1)    The plants must get sun for a few hours a day. (I know, I know, it seems so basic, but when my plants were dying the winter, where the hell was I going to get real sunlight from?)

2)    Use organic potting soil. At this hardware store it cost the same as non-organic soil. I could immediately see and feel the difference from the regular potting soil I had previously purchased.

3)     Do not over water your plants. I was told to stick my finger an inch into the soil and if it still felt damp to leave it alone. Apparently the number 1 reason why people kill their herbs is due to over watering.

With renewed enthusiasm I am glad to say that nothing looks like it is dying…knock on wood. I now have a windowsill full of basil, dill, cilantro, scallions (I replanted store bought ones, they regenerate), garlic (I took some leftover cloves and planted them in the dirt, they are sprouting amazingly), chives, mint, parsley, lemon thyme, sage and oregano. The lemon thyme smells like lemon drops! I might try rosemary again one day, but I’ve already killed two of them so my pride is slightly hurt.

Oh! And if anyone has any advice about growing basil, please let me know. Mine are short and squatty like me, they never grow tall and full.

Thank you!


My Mother In Law Can Kick Your Granny’s A…ahem…Kimchi

courtesy of milkimchi.com and grannychoe.com

Now, I’m not saying that to be mean, but when it comes to kimchi, she really does. I recently purchased varieties of kimchi as a gift for someone, and of course I had to have a taste. I’m not pushy…I’m just hungry all the time. Besides, as the generous giver of it, don’t I deserve to sample it?

After my search, I narrowed it down to two companies. Mother In Law (MIL) kimchi and Granny Choe’s kimchi. Both are based in California. From Granny Choe I ordered a trio of original kimchi, daikon kimchi and white kimchi. Mother In Law offers two options, an original kimchi and a daikon kimchi, both which I purchased.

The Granny Choe had super fast shipping, but since everything is made fresh when they receive the order, when it got me a few days later, it wasn’t ready to eat. I know that because I tasted it. After tasting it again a few days later it kind of still fell flat. And after another few days, I am sorry to say that I was still disappointed. All three varieties had an OK amount of tang, not enough bite and it lacked flavor. I feel really bad for giving something with the name “Granny” in it a bad review, but I gotta’ do it. Forgive me Granny!

[4/25/2010 update: I took Granny’s Choe’s white kimchi and put the vegetables in whatever liquid was left from the regular kimchi jar, left it alone for a week and a half and boy did the heat come! Much, much better. I wish in the bottle had come with instructions saying to not eat the kimchi for another week or two, or that they had ready made bottles that had started fermenting that they could ship. A bit more flavorful and spicy, changing rating below.]

The Mother In Law kimchi took longer to come. About a week, and the recipient of the gift wouldn’t let me open it to try it. Bummer. Well, when he was ready to open it, there I was with a pair of chopsticks. Great heat, full of flavor and it fermented wonderfully. Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner! I’m munching on it right now as I type this post up.

You can purchase both online to see which company is your favorite, or check out their sites to see which NYC specialty shops carry them.

Granny Choe: 4 out of 10 upon arrival….6.5 out of 10 after waiting another week and a half.

Mother In Law: 7.5 out of 10

-Juice