Saturday, June 5, 2010

Cooking with Garden Herbs

Don't know what to do with all those yummy garden herbs you have planted? Or curious about the grocery store packages? Herbs are the very best way to flavor your food, not only naturally but aromatically. In cooking, these are called the 'aromatics'. It is also one of the easiest ways, almost fool proof once you master which herb compliments what.
Those little grocery store packages are great, but are not as fresh and your garden. It is also best to fertilize organically as well as pest control if needed. I always try to use the freshest possible herbs in my recipes, however dried works best in some recipes.

I wanted to start this series off with something basic and simple yet incredibly flavored.
You will find I am at times a basic cook using basic ingredients, but that is the beauty of the herbs making them even more powerful while they do all the work. You can also adjust these recipes to serve the number of people you are cooking for.

Purple Potatoes with Rosemary

1-2 pounds of purple potatoes (if these are not available in your area, red ones can be a delicious substitute.
3 sprigs of fresh Rosemary leaf (stem included) chopped fine
1 tablespoon dried parsley
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (dare i say EVOO? ) lol

cut potatoes into small quarters and place in a large bowl with evoo, herbs and salt and pepper to taste (fresh cracked black or pink peppercorns work best)
Mix well

You can make large aluminum foil packets from a roll or buy the already made ones. Divide into even portions in the foil and roll seal the packet. I like to fold the corners to prevent leaking.
Bake at 450 degrees for 50 min. or grill for 1 hour.

Rosemary Lore: aids mental clarity and stimulates the central nervous system

Parsley Lore: aids in digestion, freshens breath, diuretic and blood purifier, and stimulates appetite and metabolism

Culinary Uses: Teas, Soups, Stews, Sauces, Salads, Pastas, Vinegars, Dressings, Meats and Fish

Caprese Salad

A main staple in my house, this salad is so simple yet earthy and elegant at the same time. I like to also mix entire salad with cooked pasta noodles on occasion and served chilled.
Traditionally, this salad is served with fresh basil leaves on the top of the salad, but I like the mozzarella to absorb the balsamic and oil.

This recipe is for one serving, but may be increased by doubling and so on

Fresh Basil works best in this recipe and can be grown in the kitchen as well as garden. here is my kitchen basil- i seriously have 2 plants in the garden in between my tomatoes for flavor and this one in my kitchen to have on hand. Have you ever seen such a large basil plant?? I'm so proud :)

1 large tomato
however many slices you get in your tomato is how many basil leaves you will need
garlic powder (optional)
balsamic vinegar ( i like lots of vinegar so this amount is to your taste)
fine ground sea salt and cracked black pepper
fresh mozzarella cheese

Mozzarella should be as fresh as possible and usually comes in a ball packed with juices. It should be soft and slightly salty with great texture. Do not skimp on your cheese-no processed stuff here!

Slice tomatoes and place flat on a plate and layer with 1-2 basil leaves depending on how big they are.
Top with 1/4-1/2 thick cheese slice.
Sprinkle spices and balsamic and a splash of oil.

I told you it was easy!

Basil Lore:

Properties: Antispasmodic, antidepressant, antiseptic, stimulant, tonic, febrifuge, diaphoretic, nervine, antibacterial, expectorant, appetizer, carminative, galactagogue and stomachic

Magickal Properties: Love, Exorcism, Wealth, Flying, Protection, Visionary, Fertility, Funeral, Consecration, Immortality and Purification

Culinary Uses: Teas, Soups, Stews, Sauces, Salads, Pastas, Vinegar?s, Dressings, Meats and Fish

Blog Widget by LinkWithin