How could I make herb garden dressing from herbs in my garden?

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Answered by: Jennifer, An Expert in the Sauces and Dressings Category
“I can’t find him. I don’t think he’s here. He’s gone. Maybe he killed him.” My husband pointed an accusatory finger at the brown-spotted spider clinging to a top stem of the herb garden's orange-mint plant - which was slowly commandeering the pot it shared with its fair sister, the apple-mint - as it perched itself atop a leaf. I stared at this very brown, very spotted, very aptly-named spider, with its spindly leg-span of an inch, and did not fancy him the clandestine agent of praying mantis death my husband perceived.

His eyes, all several pairs of them arranged like a row of teeth across his little spider head, reminded me of the googily-eyed spider decorations my mom and I made for Halloween one year, gluing googily eye after googily eye onto black construction-paper cutouts, until our windows were filled by stalking spiders and kamikaze bats. “Maybe he stood on his hind legs and lifted onto a wind that carried him to his next destination, like we saw on Animal Planet,” I added for comfort, picturing the trans-migrated praying mantis lifting his carapace to the winds of the city streets’ row-homes, literally carried away on a light rush-hour wind.

It was a few days ago that we were inspecting the quickly-budding hibiscus in our front yard. Despite its instructions’ strictest admonitions to not unfurl its fronds and tissue flowers year after year in this zone, the hibiscus firmly reassured us of its intent to deck our yard one more summer, and as if in observation of this ineffable truth, offered a praying mantis in one nautilus of its leaves. It had only been about one week since the praying mantis hive had hatched, dispersing hundreds, if not thousands, of miniscule, almost threadlike, praying mantises throughout our yard’s outcroppings of hydrangea, daffodils, impatiens and petunias.

That week unwrapped each of its days to us tiptoeing through our small city front yard, on an apparent myopic journey through 130 square feet of the only dirt we owned, often while my husband logged the entomological evolution on his Blackberry’s digital camera. And it was then, that afternoon a few days before, inspecting the hibiscus, that this praying mantis jumped to my husband’s shoulder. Figuring this was mantis-speak for “Let us wander to the backyard” (as mantises are so often noted for their charming heirs of distinction), P headed through the house to the back yard, and offered a covering of basil leaves to the praying mantis. Praying goodbye, he took cover in its umbrellas of peppery green.

Since then, the backyard’s newest addition was visited each morning and evening until tonight when, here, we stood, in plaintive silence wondering where this praying mantis was. As P leafed through all of the potted herbs, doubtlessly employing all tools in his belt as the Lost Item Society’s Great Finder of All Missing Things 2005 and 2007, something tugged at the edges of my imagination. I knew I wasn’t going to like this, this thing that was rousing me from my made-for-tv-domestic-quandary-of-the-week moment. And back and forth in a deadly tennis match of logic my mind went: mantis…herb garden…mantis…herb garden…mantis…herb garden dressing…mantis…herb…wait…oh. No.

I backed up from the herbs with the intent of staring down the herb garden dressing that whirled around in my blender less than an hour before. Nearly reaching the door, I stumbled backwards over the cat who, true to form, was not phased in his ample 21-pound encasement. His gaze was transfixed by the taunting pots of catnip and I was an unseen, momentary impediment. Rearing up on his hind legs he nuzzled the leaves with his nose, running pieces through his mouth, and settling his eyes on P, who now stared back at him, his new object of accusation. “Oh no, not again. Not like yesterday”, he shook his head at the cat.

“Wait, what happened yesterday?” I asked.

“Well I crumbled up some of the catnip leaves for him to play with, and then I had an experience upstairs a few minutes later.”

“An experience”, I repeated.

“Yesterday when you were at the store, I touched the catnip, then a few minutes later when I was upstairs, this weird grayish-white thing peered over top of the shower curtain when I walked by. I’m not saying it was the catnip. Correlation doesn’t necessitate causation and all that, but still, I don’t want to see any more of the stuff he sees when he’s on it.”

I said nothing. My husband returned into the house while I stood in the backyard. I wondered again about the missing mantis’s whereabouts. Another web of inane postulations wove again at the edges of my imagination: mantis… catnip… mantis… catnip…

I don't think we're going to find the praying mantis.

Herb Garden Dressing Recipe

1 cup of fresh herbs (thyme, basil, mint, chives...whatever grows for you)

1 cup of buttermilk

1 praying mantis

Just put it all in the blender and watch it whirl one disgruntled praying mantis into oblivion.

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