Oh, Rosemary, I'm So Glad You're There, Part One


I wanted to bring you something from the garden.

Yes, I know, it's February in Pennsylvania.

When I went out before the most recent snowstorm to dump the compost, I saw crocuses coming up. Amazing, I thought. Impossible, really. 51 inches of snow has fallen this month alone. I suppose it is their time, however. It's their job to come up now, snow or not.

Seeing them made my breath quicken. Maybe there is hope, yet. Hope that maybe soon there will be room for two cars to pass each other on our street. Hope that I can get A.'s stroller out onto the sidewalks again.

In my garden, in Winter, there is one loyal friend I can count on. It's my rosemary bush growing ever larger in the garden bed next to the garage. It's in a sunny, protected spot, against the brick wall.

I planted that rosemary when we moved to this house 5 years ago. It was a tiny herb plant, in a plastic pot. That first season, it was too small to use. I didn't have great hopes for it surviving the Winter.

I had always marveled at those huge rosemary bushes that I would see in gardens. I longed for one of my own that would let off it's aroma when I brushed up against it. I wondered how long I would have to live in one place to have one of those.

Now, mine is threatening to take over my herb garden. Last Summer I anxiously looked at how it was pushing the sage to grow in a different direction. I wondered if it was time to divide it, but I am afraid of causing harm. Maybe I will use A LOT of rosemary instead.

Part of me just wants to let it go. Let it grow to it's hearts content in this sunny, hilly spot. Let it grow so I can feel like I obtained that vision of something I wanted. A little like looking a catalog, and wishing your house looked like the picture. Wondering what it would take to get that look.

I have my rosemary bush. I can cut long sprigs and put them in a vase. It seems almost decadent! There is something about that bush that screams of the person I hoped to be. Back in the days when all I had was a container garden on a deck outside our bedroom.

That rosemary never made it to Winter. I would bring it inside and that fuzz would grow on it's leaves, and that was the end.

This week I wanted to make something that wasn't my typical rosemary repertoire of roast potatoes, roast chicken, or focaccia. I found this recipe, and gave these cookies a try yesterday.

I'm not sure if this is my favorite shortbread dough. I like my shortbread a little sandy, a little crisp. This is tender. The flavoring however, is perfect. The lemon and rosemary compliment each other so well that neither is dominant, yet each is present.

I used all-purpose flour, suggested as an alternative to White Whole Wheat flour. I chose the snowman cookie cutters as a nod to the snowstorm that arrived while I made these. The choice of trees were in sympathy of our trees whose branches have been struggling to handle the weight of so much snow. Many of our beloved trees lost big branches, particularly our old, white pine by the driveway, that is so fragrant.

So, give these a try, and see what you think of the dough. Maybe it was me, overmixing. To change the dough may mean never getting the flavoring quite so exact. I'll have to eat a few more and mull it over.

Update: A day later after baking, I tried these again. I give a thumbs up! Maybe the shortbread were tender because they hadn't cooled enough. The texture was exactly what I like. I hope you feel the same way.