Ever get a bay leaf stuck in your throat? It can create a very suspenseful few minutes! In fact, it just happened to my brother a few days ago, when we attended a dinner party, and the hostess served soup (which was delicious, but she forgot to take out the offending leaf!) Boy, were we relieved when he finally coughed up the leaf – just in the nick of time!
Lesson learned: Grind your bay leaves! I always urge my students and everyone around me to PLEASE grind their bay leaves, unless you can find them already ground (try a Latin or Indian grocery store.) A spice grinder or food processor will do a great job in seconds: Go ahead and grind lots of it, and store in a bone-dry glass jar. Not only does the spice disperse much better in your dish, but you don’t have the pesky task of fishing out the leaves: It’s a little bit of kitchen wisdom!