The fresh taste of rosemary wakes up cocktails, scones, meats and more

Between the ornamental plants of my little balcony hides a handful of potted herbs: basil, oregano, mint and rosemary. I plan to put some tomato plants there as well. Living in the city is the best I can do. The little effort to maintain them is well worth having some fresh herbs on hand in the kitchen.

Rosemary – romero in Spanish – has always been in my repertoire. It thrives near the ocean (like me) and was also in my gardens in California. In fact, the name “rosemary” means “dew of the sea” (marine ros) in Latin. He is originally from the Mediterranean (like me) and belongs to the sage family. The plants can be erect or creeping and have small, fairly fluffy, pink, purple, or white flowers throughout the year.

Its long history began with the ancient Egyptians, when it was used in funeral rituals.

While rosemary pairs perfectly, and generally, with potatoes, stuffing, chicken, and other roasted meats, its fresh pine flavor is a savory addition to all kinds of other, often surprisingly, dishes.

It has a characteristic aroma and a slightly bitter taste that you either love or hate. The oil-rich pine needle-like leaves are used fresh or dried.

rosemary-jamaica cocktail
Try this easy jamaica-rosemary syrup and mezcal for a decadent cocktail.

In Mexican cuisine, romero is found in rice dishes, including classic paella, as well as pork and rabbit ribs and some whitefish dishes, most traditionally with bacalao (cod).

Medicinally, rosemary tea is used to relieve indigestion and stomach upset, and as a calming sedative. A poultice of romero would be effective in relieving joint inflammation and muscle and bone pain.

Rosemary oil is also used in incense, cleaning products and shampoos.

Jamaica-Rosemary Mezcal Cocktail

Syrup:

  • ½ cup dried Jamaica flowers (dried hibiscus flowers)
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, divided
  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • 1½ cup of sugar

Cocktail:

  • 2 oz. mezcal
  • 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • oz. Jamaica– rosemary syrup

make syrup: Soak Jamaica and 1 sprig of rosemary in boiling water for 5 minutes.

Filter into a container with an airtight lid; add sugar and stir or shake until dissolved. Refrigerate for up to two weeks.

To make cocktails: Combine the mezcal, lemon juice and Jamaica-sirop of rosemary in a shaker; fill with ice.

Stir until cool, about 12 seconds. Filter into a highball glass filled with ice cubes; garnish with a sprig of rosemary. –serious.com

Rosemary nut
You’ll go crazy for this snack made with rosemary frosting.

Spiced nuts with rosemary

Lots of steps, but well worth the effort! Use cashews, walnuts, pecans or almonds, separately or mixed.

  • 4 large sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1/3 cup dried olives in oil, pitted
  • cup of water
  • ¼ cup) sugar
  • vs. Cayenne
  • Generous pinch of salt
  • 4 cups of raw walnuts

Preheat the oven to 300 F. Butter a rimmed baking sheet. Line a heatproof plate with a paper towel. Arrange the rosemary sprigs on top (make sure they are dry) and lay another paper towel on top.

Microwave on high power until rosemary is completely dry, 1 to 2 minutes, being careful not to burn.

Remove the rosemary needles from the sprigs; discard the woody stems. In a mortar and pestle, powder the needles, then sift through a fine mesh colander.

Arrange the olives on a heat-resistant plate; Microwave on half power until dry, about 5 minutes, watching carefully.

Transfer the dried olives to a mortar and pestle; spray into an oily paste.

In a medium saucepan, combine the water, sugar, cayenne pepper and salt. Heat over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the nuts and cook, stirring constantly, until coated with a syrupy frosting and most of the water is cooked through.

Spread the glazed nuts in a single, even layer on the prepared baking sheet. Cook for about 25 minutes until the nuts are lightly toasted.

Let cool, stirring every few minutes to prevent it from sticking. Break up the clumps.

Add the olive paste; toss to coat the nuts. Stir in the rosemary powder. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

roast chicken with rosemary
Elevate simple roast chicken to something special.

Maple Rosemary Chicken

  • 1 (3½ lb) whole chicken or pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2-3 sprigs of rosemary, plus 2½ tsp. finely chopped rosemary
  • 4 tbsp. Unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. Maple syrup

Heat oven to 375 F. Pat chicken dry; season with salt and pepper, inside and out. Place brisket side up in 10-inch cast iron or baking pan; stuff the sprigs of rosemary in the cavity.

Melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the chopped rosemary and maple syrup; cook, 1 to 2 minutes, until the rosemary is fragrant and the mixture thickens slightly. Pour the mixture over the chicken, covering it evenly. (Some will end up at the bottom of the mold.)

Place the chicken in the oven and roast, basting with cooking juices every 15 to 20 minutes, until the chicken is shiny and golden, 55 to 60 minutes. Remove from the oven; rest 10 minutes before carving. Whisk the remaining juice and serve with the chicken.

Lemon-Rosemary Scones

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 5 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 tbsp. Milk
  • 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp. the water

Preheat oven to 425 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a food processor, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in the sugar, lemon zest and rosemary. Add the butter; pulse until combined and butter is the size of a pea.

Add sour cream, milk and lemon juice; pulse until dough forms a ball. On a floured work surface, roll out the dough to 1/3 inch thick.

Cut 1½-inch circles with a cookie cutter or the edge of a glass. Transfer the scones to baking sheets; brush the top with gilding and sprinkle with sugar. Bake, 12 to 15 minutes, until edges are golden. Cool on a rack. Serve spread with nata or butter.

Janet Blaser is the author of the best-selling book, Why We Left: An Anthology of American Expats, featured on CNBC and MarketWatch. She has lived in Mexico since 2006. You can find her on Instagram at @thejanetblaser.



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