Fresh herbs? Surprising results!
This year I’m trying something new. I am growing my own herbs: purple basil, cilantro and flat-leaf parsley. Why these herbs? Oh I don’t know. I thought these would be interesting and would give me a lot of possibilities. Plus, I want to see what pesto looks like made from purple basil–I can’t wait!
So, after a few weeks in the pot, I decided to use some in a meal. I was preparing a “from home” recipe for my family–chicken casserole. As a side note, this chicken casserole was well-known in my home church. When we would have lunch after services, this dish was very often on the table, and very often completely inhaled by us church people. So, I have started feeding it to my family, to rave reviews. OK, back to the day. I completed the chicken casserole and placed it in the oven. As an afterthought, I decided to put some of the fresh parsley on top. I went out to the back porch to “harvest” some parsley. It was a wonderful feeling to cut something from a pot and use it in my meal prep. I took the dish out of the oven and sprinkled the cut up parsley on top of the yummy cornbread stuffing mixture. I only had an hour to wait! (Want the yummy recipe? Send me an email!)
I mentioned that I also have cilantro growing on the porch. Cilantro and I do not have the best of relationships. I have had it in several dishes at Mexican restaurants, and I determined that it just wasn’t a favorite of mine (cilantro lovers, please don’t send me emails telling me how wonderful it is!) Being the type of person who likes to give people, pets, foods, herbs a second or third chance, I decided to grow my own cilantro and use it in dishes. I had some delicious asparagus in the fridge and, after searching for the right recipe, roasted it up and prepared a sauce to cover it. You can guess what the sauce had in it, right? You are so smart–cilantro! I must admit that as I chopped up the herb and its strong smell reached my nose, I doubted my wisdom in choosing it. But, what was done was done, and I had only a few minutes to wait before I enjoyed my herb-enhanced meal.
The foodie within me has to make this sweeping declaration–the herbs were an excellent addition! The parsley on top of the casserole gave just a slight variation to the original flavor, and the cilantro in the cream sauce wasn’t overpowering at all (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/grilled-asparagus-with-cilantro-lemon-butter/detail.aspx ). My men really enjoyed the meal, and had lots of positive things to say about the asparagus with cilantro sauce. The meal was a success, and I owe it all to having my own “herb garden” right outside my back door!
After the delicious meal, I started thinking about my perception of the herbs out back. Though I had committed to growing and using them this summer season, I still had my doubts on exactly how I would use them. I could have used the herbs earlier in other dishes, but my insecurity concerning their usefulness kept me from enjoying them. That way of thinking translated to other areas of my life. For several years, I fought against the calling that I believed God had put on my life to write for and speak to women. After all, I was a teacher of elementary children. I certainly had no idea how to reach and lead adult women. My expertise did not lend itself to working with adults. Slowly however, I began to write, and that writing led to my first completed Bible study. When that was finished, I cannot tell you the feeling of accomplishment I had. To know that I had done what God had tried to get me to do for a while–well, it was quite humbling also. I thought of the verse in Psalm 20:4–“May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.” Girls, I didn’t even know that this was a desire of my heart. But, after doing what He had laid on my heart, I knew that was the calling on my life. I had my doubts about how God would use me in this venue. How could I possibly be best used in a completely different form of ministry? As was my perception of herbs, my perception of how God could work within my own narrow focus inhibited me. When I opened up to what God had for me, my life became so full. I had opportunities to do things that I never thought I could do. God placed the idea of writing and speaking in my heart, He then equipped me to do what He needed me to do. My life became, so to speak, more “Flavor-full” to relate it back to herbs!
So how about you? Are you resisting doing something you believe God wants you to do? Do you have insecurity, doubt, worry over how He will use you in this new way? I completely understand your thoughts. As someone who stands on the other side of those insecurities, my advice to you is go for it! God will use you, He is all capable of making you a mighty instrument for Him in whatever venue He places you. Jump in, sister! You will never know what blessings you may receive if you stay on the shore (sorry, I’m mixing my clichés–my son just came in from fishing, so thus the water references!) Don’t be afraid to let God “season” your life with some new and untried “herbs.” He will work all things to together for your good, so go out and snip some herbs from the back porch and use them with abandon!
Those fresh herbs add both a visual and a tasting punch to the chicken casserole! Don’t be afraid to try new things!