Time for Thyme

Thyme is one of my favorite herbs.  The first dish I even made from scratch, chicken and dumplings, included thyme(with it’s favorite dancing partner rosemary).  I was fifteen, and when I received those first rave reviews I was hooked.  When I finally had my own place one of the first expenditures was a stocked spice rack.  With my existing “confidence” in thyme, I ventured into a variety of homemade soups(all too appropriate for northern winters).  It was awhile before I realized how truly flexible the herb was.

Thyme is an ancient herb whose uses have been many and varied.  According to Wikipedia, throughout history thyme has been used for everything from embalming(by the Egyptians), as a source of courage(by the Greeks and in the Middle Ages) and to assure passage into the afterlife.  It’s medicinal properties are varied, included antiseptic and anti-inflammatory traits(both of which explain why it’s a key ingredient in chicken noodle soup!)

But what we most know thyme for is its culinary flair.  It’s an herb that plays well with others, blending its unique woodsy flavor in to form a backdrop against which other flavors are highlights.  In my kitchen thyme is a key ingredient in a number of recipes ranging from pork bar-b-que to casseroles to soups and stews.  I must admit, though, that I’ve never used this wonderful herb in its fresh state, though my husband has planted some for me this year!  It stores well, so we’ve always used it dried(and bought it in bulk!).

My favorite recipe using thyme is a dish I call Polenta di Coniglio.  Now, that quite simply translates to rabbit with corn mush, but don’t worry, if you haven’t the stomach for rabbit, chicken substitutes in quite nicely.  This is one of those accidental recipes that happened when I started trying a new recipe and found that I didn’t have the tarragon it called for.  So, I substituted thyme, fudged some of the other additions, and this lovely dish was born!  We will honestly eat this once a week through the wintertime, and whenever the temperatures cool enough throughout the year that it won’t make us sweat 😉

Polenta Di Coniglio

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • roughly 1/2 pound of boneless rabbit meat…or chicken 😉
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 ounces tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon dry thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste

Red Pepper spiked Polenta

  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 2 cups water
  • healthy dash of red pepper
  • 1/8 cup Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

1.  Saute onions until soft.  Once onions are soft add meat and brown five minutes.

2.  Add rest of ingredients, stir to combine and simmer 10 minutes or until sauce thickens and meat is cooked.  Remove meat, cube, and return to sauce.

3. While sauce is simmering, prepare polenta.  I make this in the microwave and it takes around 8 minutes.  The cooking time will obviously depend on your microwave, though you can prepare this on the stovetop as well(combine all ingredients but the cheese and simmer until thick and bubbly.  remove from heat and stir in cheese).  For microwave cooking, combine all ingredients but the cheese in a microwave safe dish and cook for 6-10 minutes(that’s a guess), stirring halfway through.  Add cheese after polenta is thickened.

4.  Serve meat mixture over polenta and enjoy!

Now, on to the good stuff, the backyard hangout 😉

I have honestly encountered some of the most courageous people since dipping my toes into the world of erotica.  People who saw me peeking from the shadows and encouraged me to enter their world, to join them in their illumination of the human condition.

So, in honor that, today’s tour is hosted at my bonfire pit.  The seating is varied; Adirondack chairs, loungers, a hammock, camp chairs.  It’s 4th of July weekend, so the normal fare is here to nosh on, dressed up with the guest of honor: herbed cheese spread and crackers, veggies and dip, fresh baked thyme rolls.  There are wine coolers, hard cider, local beers and so forth in the ice buckets, and we’ll have some fresh strawberries from my plantings in the backyard for dessert.

Did you bring a dish to pass?  No worries if you didn’t, there’s more than enough here to eat, but if you did, what are you treating us with?

We’re nice and secluded here, so we can talk about anything.  No neighbors to worry about either.  Maybe later we’ll all make the trek to the beach and watch the fireworks up and down the shoreline(maybe skinny dip a bit), but in the meantime, what shall we talk about?

Hmm.  Let’s see, I think I’ve got a place to start.  What was your first adventure outside your norm?  Writing or otherwise?  I’ve been pretty adventurous since reaching adulthood, but my first true stretch was all about surrender.  It was with my husband(though long before he slid that ring on my finger) and it took a great deal of control to surrender.  I never would have thought that was the case, but I had to make a concerted effort to reign in my need to manage, my need to be in charge, to yield.  He’s still pushing my boundaries there 😉

Happy 4th of July(a day late), and please, everyone let your hair down, untuck your shirts, kick off your shoes, and relax!

Advertisements

35 Comments

  1. How beautiful, and what a lovely recipe! (I admit I would be using chicken, lol.) I love fireworks, and the Fourth of July is my favorite holiday, fireworks being one of the primary reasons, lol. Heh, much as I would love to bring some fascinating culinary creation, I must say at the word “bonfire” a seemingly irresistible urge to accumulate ridiculous amounts of marshmallows, graham crackers, and dark chocolate seems to come forth (…along with a similar urge to consume gigantic amounts of said items), so that is what I will be supplying! Feel free to take them away from me eventually if I seem to busy stuffing my face to contribute to the conversation.

    I could go on and on about “adventures outside the norm.” So much so that I don’t feel sure how to comment about it concisely, lol. I would like to say that I love the observation you shared about surrender though. A. H. Almaas says, “Being able to be vulnerable is the greatest strength.”

    If I were to talk about adventures outside the norm in me, so to speak, it strikes me that the description/context may be heavily psychological. It would (/did) likely involve a stretching of some historical constriction inside me, and that would likely be the focus rather than (or at least as much as) whatever the external manifestation that corresponded, if even there was one.

    In a general sense, it also occurs to me that an “adventure outside my norm” would involve my “allowing” something in or of myself that historically a part of me had denied. I honestly do not know how to start giving examples without writing pages and pages right now, lol, so I think I’m going to leave it at that for the time being. Thank you for the question!

    And thank you for this lovely ode to thyme! 😉 I quite like that picture btw. I’ll be over here making s’mores listening for others’ adventuresome contributions and planning to rejoin the conversation after while. Thanks again Scarlett!

    • Thanks for stopping in, Emerald, and I was hoping someone would bring the s’mores!

      I’m off to run errands, but will be here later to join the conversation 🙂 That was a great start, Em, and got my wheels turning a bit about other “adventures” 😉

  2. Your recipe sounds divine! (As I’m not much of a cook, I hope you don’t mind coming to my house and making the meal for me. I tip well!)

    I like your question, too. This wasn’t quite an adventure, but the first time a man told me he thought I needed a spanking was when I was 14. I worked at a beauty supply store, and the French husband of one of my co-workers came up behind me and whispered that in my ear.

    Actually, maybe that was an adventure. Because I think I realized that my life wasn’t going to follow a “normal” path after that.

    XXX,
    Alison

    • Yes, Alison, I would gladly cook it for you, if we were in the same area! 😉 i love to cook for people, it’s quite gratifying.

      You were told you needed a spanking at 14???? Wow. that explains soooo much 😉 Was there any particular incident preceding said whisper?

  3. “it took a great deal of control to surrender. I never would have thought that was the case, but I had to make a concerted effort to reign in my need to manage, my need to be in charge, to yield. He’s still pushing my boundaries there…”

    Amen to that. So Well said. 🙂

    I love fires and I love to sit around them eating, drinking and chatting. It is so very perfect to me, I wonder why I didn’t think of it and sure glad that you did!

    Very excited about your rabbit recipe, too. The man wants to give rabbit a try and now I have a recipe in my head. I might try it with chicken first to see what’s what.

    As for your topic, I’ll go with writing, though I’m tempted to go beyond. LOL. I wrote my first dirty story in 2005 and when i typed the ‘c’ word I stopped and looked around to see if anyone had reacted. I was that engrained at that word being wrong. It took a long time to love the word and now it is my go-to word and I get flustered when people change it in my writing. 99% of the time I change it back! I was supposed to write one story and I figured I”d suck. It is one of those weird instances where I am thrilled to have been wrong about how something panned out.

    Congrats on your Harlotry and thanks for having us! I hope to stop back shortly. For now I need more coffee so I can translate to myself what I just said…

    XOXO
    S

    • Please let me know what you think of the recipe, Sommer! It really is one of my favs, and is a “stick to the ribs” kind of meal in cold weather. And, actually, it’s low-cal too, believe it or not! Let me know when you’re going to try the rabbit and I’ll send you some pointers!

      I think writing is becoming an adventure for me. Every twist in this new path is exciting, and I take each step with butterflies in my stomach.

      It’s exhilarating.

      Thanks for the congrats on my harlotry, and I look forward to seeing you back around the fire 🙂

  4. “medicinal properties are varied”

    Hence the saying, “Thyme heals all wounds.”

    Wow, my first adventure outside my norm. Hmm … good question. One answer–a small adventure in the grand scheme of things, but relevant to writing–would be the first time I wrote erotica from a first-person female pov. I believe that was the middle section of a story called “Slightly Ajar” (which shifted from the male protag’s pov to the female’s and back to the male’s).

    • Writing from the opposite sex POV is definitely an adventure. I’ve done it a couple of times for AT’s flashers, but nothing larger of yet. It shall definitely be a challenge!

  5. We never cut up the watermelon last night so I brought a big bowl of juicy pink chunks.

    I am definitely going to try that recipe. We like rabbit around here. I have a recipe that we got from my husband’s grandmother, who used to cook for a logging camp in Northern California – he took it by dictation over the phone some 28 years ago – the paper is pretty yellowed now – “Official Bunny Cooking Instructions” illustrated with a cartoon rabbit saying “Oh no, not me!” – it’s basically fricasseed rabbit. Quite yummy.

    Oh, if you’ve never had fresh thyme to use, you will enjoy it. It smells so wonderful.

    Okay, I was thinking earlier (when I read this early this morning) – what is “norm” to me? Because first I have to figure that out to know what’s outside of it. And my “norm” has changed over the years. What I’m doing now, writing erotica, damn, writing period, is outside the “norm” of how I was much of my life. But now it is my norm.

    I know, that doesn’t answer the question. Hehe. I think writing the truth (even in fiction) is the “outside the norm” that I’m working to make the norm for me. I loved Sommer’s comment about looking around to see if anyone saw her type that forbidden word.

    And my mind just went blank as to what I was going to say next. Maybe it’s time for lunch – yup – that’s it! bbl (I have a button that says that)

  6. i came back with a bowl of beautiful bing cherries to share. i tried to take a picture but my camera is being a brat. maybe it needs a spanking. either way, bowls of summer cherries were a campfire fave when i was growing up. so i wanted pop back in. 😉
    xoxo
    s

  7. Robin, I know what you mean about defining the “norm”. I’ve spent most of my life in a state of flux and/or growth.

    I have to agree, too, on the “looking around to see if anyone saw”. I’ve been doing that for the last few months and I dig deeper and deeper into my inspirations.

    Ooooh, thank you Sommer! I love fresh cherries(Especially tying the stems in knots with my tongue *grin*

    lovely! What a wonderful group is gathered around my bonfire. I think the neighbor’s getting curious at the peels of laughter!

  8. Hi Scarlett,

    I so enjoyed reading all about thyme. It is one of those herbs that I use all the time and have growing in my garden and love for the way it brings out the honeybees, but never thought about it much. And your question — beyond the pale….hmmmm. Outside the norm. Pushing boundaries. For me, perhaps the most bold I’ve ever been in my whole life is busting free of naysayers. One in particular told me that erotica is disgusting and writing fiction of any kind is a waste of time and selfish. My answer to that? I couldn’t stop the desire to write — and write about what comes naturally to filthy-minded me. At first, I hid it, but I’m no good that and it made me heartsick. So I finally I just got brave and made a choice…..to keep on keeping on. Life is short and so am I. Then I did handsprings across the grass and pinkie swore myself to never, ever go to that dark place ever again. Amen! Thanks Scarlett! Food and words to live by, and the spice to make it magic.

  9. What an enchanting gathering, Scarlett! Thyme is not a flavoring I turn to unless it’s listed in a recipe, but I’m feeling inspired to become more personally intimate. I’ve had good luck sprinkling the fresh stuff on chopped vegetables to be roasted–but next time it will be something outside my norm ;-).

    So much delicious fresh fruit and s’mores, I’ve brought some orange muscat to drink with our sweets as we watch the fire.

    The question of norms is very provocative and I related to every story so far, although my first spanking was offered at a later age (still making up for lost time). Even though I always thought I wanted to be a writer since I was in first grade–a few other people here have mentioned a similar precocious desire–I sort of had it drummed out of me. So my first rebellion was deciding I would try writing in my 30s. It was such an impractical, hopeless thing, and I was just setting myself up to be laughed at when all of my silly attempts just languished in a drawer. That was perhaps the biggest step for me. Exploring the erotic life, the male POV, BDSM and spanking and other non-vanilla things, those were also ways I stretched myself, but I could always think back to that first big step and think that I did okay there so why not venture ahead?

    I also really related to your comment about how surrendering requires control over an ingrained protest. I’m not sure I’ve ever really surrendered unconditionally. It’s always on my terms, at least so far ;-).

    Lots to think about while I nibble cherries, watermelon and roasted marshmallows (btw, I just love Trader Joe’s natural graham crackers. They beat the old standards in my recipe book!)

  10. Oh, and on the “physical” side of things, perhaps the biggest thing is just letting the animal side of myself out — being naked out in the sunshine, marking my lover like a wolf bitch, rolling around in wet sandy river shallows…..ahhhhh makes my world right.

  11. mmmmmm….that recipe sounds delicious. We love rabbit too. Stewed in white wine with sliced fennel bulb and some seeds is wonderful as well. Thyme is such a nurturing herb. Whenever I use it in stews, I just throw the whole sprig in and take out the branch when it’s done. Stuff the cavity of a whole sea bass with sprigs and lemon and maybe some bay when you roast it. It makes a lovely border plant too. I’ll virtually bring a plant or three to the party for you to plant tomorrow.

    Hmmm. Outside MY norm. Some might tell you nothing I do is normal. ; ) I try to push my own limits and step out of expected norms. Mind boggling leaps of vocation and continents are my specialty. The most important thing is not to let yourself be limited by what other people consider norms. Make your own rules, break out of the norm.

    Thanks for this delicious and delightful stop on the tour of the spice bloglands!

    • Isabel, I hear you! I’ve reinvented myself several times over the decades, changing course with respect to both my own–and other people’s–expectations regarding my pursuits.

  12. Scarlett,
    Please accept my apologies for being so tardy to your party.

    I love learning that you splurged on purchasing a spice rack when you first left the nest. I’m sure you’re an amazing cook. 🙂

    First adventure outside the norm? How about standing on surf board and riding a wave for the first time? I was 13. It was one of the most exhilarating experiences I think I have ever had -it’s similar to the high you get from sex too, because it’s natural and it makes your heart race, your endorphins pop and wow, it just feels really good. Maybe I need to make a trip home and go surfing, eh?

    Great topic, wonderful food and a perfect hostess too. Thank you for having me.

  13. Thanks for visiting, Neve! I’ve never been surfing, but I love feeling the power of the waves at the beach. It’s just breathtaking.

    I like to think I’m a good cook and my husband tells me I am. Anyone who ends up in Western NY, let me know, and I’ll have you over for dinner 🙂

  14. quick comment re: something Donna said – I too had the desire to be a writer drummed out of me. I remember being in the fifth grade and writing a story that the teacher praised and thinking “this is fun” being able to write something that someone would like. So I thought I’d be a writer up until I was about 14.

  15. Hi Scarlett – wonderful party! I grew up in Pennsylvania, and my dad was a hunter. We ate rabbit and venison quite a bit as kids. Haven’t had rabbit for quite a while – I’ll have to find some and try out your recipe!

    Wow – regarding adventures outside the norm? I’ve spent most of my life doing the mom thing and the wife thing and the dutiful daughter thing. In the last year or two, however, my life has turned completely upside-down for a variety of reasons – – some of them spectacularly beautiful and some just hearbreakingly awful. Writing has been one of the wonderful adventures, and it has led me to this great group of friends, whom I really appreciate.

    I must say that I agree with your comments about surrendering – – and, I’ll mention that I only very recently had my first spanking. I had kinda wondered why y’all made such a big deal about it – – but, I think I get it now!!! 😉

  16. I’ve had squirel, possum and even mud turtle, but never rabbit. I should give Thumper a try.
    Outside my norm? Oh, man. (and that wasn’t a “oh, man, where to begin”, it was more like a “oh, man, I wish I had a better outside-my-norm story”…)
    A recent attempt to go outside my norm was a semi-autobiographical novella I wrote with the idea that there would be no sex in it. Because it was based in my teen years, and there was very little sex (with other people) in my teen years. But of course by the end of the story I totally caved and had the hero get a big ol’ blowjob.
    (Hey, I said “semi” autobiographical…)
    Great blog, Scarlett!

  17. Thank you all so much for stopping in. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the conversation.

    Gina – this part just hit me in the solar plexus – “letting the animal side of myself out — being naked out in the sunshine, marking my lover like a wolf bitch”

    I have to agree with that wholeheartedly.

    And I am just amazed at how many of you have eaten rabbit – that’s just cool 😉 Most people have the “aww, it’s Thumper” reaction! *grin*

    I want to touch on the “always wanting to write” aspect of this discussion, but I think I want to save that for my Beginner’s Ball post 😉

  18. Scarlett, the rabbit looks divine! Yes, Thumper is good eats (to quote Alton Brown.)

    In keeping with the thyme theme (like the way that rolls off the tongue) I have brought one of my favorites. An exercise in simplicity: steamed green beans with fresh thyme.

    It was this dish that turned me on to thyme in the first place. I’d used it as an accent, but never really featured it in anything. Green beans with thyme changed all that. It’s a wonderful herb.

    I’m afraid I’ve always been outside the norm in many ways too. I’m a lover of path’s less traveled.

    With writing and with art I always dabbled in nudity and general naughtiness (yes, even when I was fairly young. Told you I was outside the norm.)

    And to Donna’s point, I too had a love of writing, story crafting and poetry, truly, as far back as I remember.

    Maybe it’s my “roads less traveled” mentality that drives me to write erotica.

    Nah, I just like writing about sexuality!

  19. Looking forward to that Beginner’s Ball about the origins of the writing urge, Miss Scarlett. Which gown are you going to wear?

    Craig, steamed green beans with thyme? Oh, my. And this is green bean season at the farmer’s market. I am going to have to try that.

    I’ve also been fantasizing about thyme rolls–do you have a recipe for that, Scarlett? Not as easy to come by as the mole was last week, I’m afraid.

    Haven’s post got me thinking that not writing about sex is now outside of the norm for me. The truth is at this point I wonder if anyone would even want to read me if there wasn’t lots of juicy stuff, lol.

    As always, this has been a lovely and inspiring gathering :-).

  20. Ha! Donna just invoked the game Clue for me with her “Miss Scarlett.” Lol.

    Okay, back to the matter at hand. I’ve been pondering “adventurousness,” or moving beyond comfort zone, and I realized that for me what has been adventurous beyond the historical comfort zone in me has had to do with intimacy. It may seem funny, but to me going out with the primary intent of seeking (and sometimes fulfilling) a one-night stand with one or more partners, fucking in public, dancing in a cage at a BDSM ball, etc., didn’t seem adventuresome to me — they were just what I wanted to do, so I did them.

    When it came to actually connecting with a partner, on an intimate level — which actually means/involves connecting with myself on an intimate level — the comfort zone was definitely pushed…possibly more accurately described as blasted right through. In that way, moving inward for me has frequently been the adventuresome part of sexuality that exceeded the historical/habitual comfort zone in me.

    I would say the first time that really happened, it seems to me, was/has been with my current partner.

    Okay, back to the s’mores! Thanks again Scarlett! 🙂

  21. Hi Scarlett, I’m not sure if I’ve ever hit anyone in the solar plexus before! Come out west and play naked scrabble out in the meadow sometime!

    Emerald — your perspective is wonderful. Boundaries can be defined in so many ways.

    Oh how I love s’mores and the thrill of roasting a marshmallow to perfectly browned, gooey-to-the-core, heat-stroked perfection. YUM!

  22. Dear Scarlett and all, this is such wonderful food and food for thought. Writing gives us the chance to explore many boundaries, expand many limits, live many lives. I have always been SO impressed with the multi-dimensionality of all of the writers we know here. From writers who are also editors and publishers and teachers, musicians, performers, historians, to fabulous cooks. It seems like writing itself helps expand our boundaries and push limits and explore life, reinventing ourselves (I so hear you Jeremy, you are one of my greatest inspirations here) Take it from me too, IT IS NEVER TOO LATE. I was a VERY late bloomer in many of these areas, writing, sexuality, etc., and it only gets better in many ways, if you keep pushing the limits.

    xx

  23. Gina – where “west” are you? I just booked plane tickets for a week long visit to San Francisco! 😀 A much needed vacation and we’ve always wanted to visit that delightful city.

    in regards to Emerald invoked game of Clue, my only response is who did I do and where? *wink*

    I think anything that touches us deeply is an adventure. It requires vunerability to let someone into our hearts, and letting yourself BE vunerable requires courage and risk.

    On some level, it also requires a measure of honesty, don’t you think? There are things on the physical side that took a great deal of honesty to admit that they aroused me. I still struggle with that.

    This conversation has just been phenomenal, and I know the bonfire burned long into the night(I could see the glow on my bedroom window). In fact, I think there was a body all curled up asleep in the hammock(maybe two?), but I didn’t want to disturb!

    Thank you all so much for making this gathering a phenomenal success. And for attending my first blog tour stop! I look forward to hosting more 🙂

  24. Hi Scarlett,

    I’m out west near Portland, Oregon. I’ve only been to San Fransciso once but I LOVED it. Beautiful city.

  25. Yes, so much food for thought here. Emerald’s comment connecting with a partner, on an intimate level — which actually means/involves connecting with myself on an intimate level really struck home with me, too. There’s so much focus on the physical sex, the emotional bravery required for a deeper experience with a partner and ourselves gets short shrift, doesn’t it? That’s the really scary stuff!

    Just wanted to say thanks again and I do live in the SF Bay Area along with Susie Bright, Violet Blue, M. Christian, Carol Queen, Bill Noble…it’s erotica central out here :-).

    Thanks again.

    • We’ve definitely had a great deal to ponder here, with plenty of topics that I think might carry on to the next party 😉 Again, thank you all so much for attending!

      Re: Donna in the SF area – Really? We’ll have to try to get together for lunch or dinner, Donna! My husband and I will be flying in September 23 and leaving the 30th 🙂 I believe the tentative itinerary includes spending the 24th in the Monterey/Big Sur area.

    • Haha, “erotica central” sounds like a time zone. Erotica Central, Erotica Pacific, Erotica Mountin’–oops, I mean Mountain …

      Then we have this:

  26. OMG, Jeremy, that’s hysterical!!

    P.S. Donna, forgot to say – for the thyme rolls I rather wing it! Sometimes I mix the thyme in with the dough from the get, othertimes I make herbed butter with the thyme then baste the rolls with it 🙂 Neither are formal recipes, I’m afraid!

  27. And “Erotica Mountain” sounds like a ride at an adult theme park. 20 minutes from this point. 😉

  28. Love it Jeremy! And wow, an adult theme park–this has potential.

    Would love to get together in September, Scarlett. We’ll be around :-). Thanks again for a great party.


Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s