Category: Herbs


chicken-kale-croutons

Courtesy of Real Simple

  • Serves 4
  • Hands-On Time 20 min
  • Total Time 1 hr

INGREDIENTS

  1. pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces
  2. cloves garlic, finely chopped
  3. tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  4. tablespoons olive oil
  5. teaspoon finely grated lemon zest plus 2 whole lemons, quartered
  6. kosher salt and black pepper
  7. thick slices country bread, torn into 1- to 2-inch pieces
  8. cups baby kale

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat oven to 450° F. Toss the chicken, garlic, rosemary, oil, lemon zest, lemon quarters, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper on a large rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Roast, skin-side up, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken (avoiding the bone) registers 165° F, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer the chicken and lemons to a serving dish. Reserve the baking sheet.
  3. Toss the bread in the drippings on the reserved baking sheet. Toast until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the kale and toss to combine.
  4. Serve the chicken with the kale, croutons, and lemons for squeezing.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Per Serving

  • Calories 623 calories
  • Fat 30 g
  • Sat Fat 7 g
  • Cholesterol 161 mg
  • Sodium 733 mg
  • Protein 57 g30 g
  • Sugar 4 g
  • Fiber 5 g
  • Iron 5 mg
  • Calcium175 mg

 

 

Prep Time: 20 mins

Cook Time: 12 mins

Total Time: 32 mins

Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons scallion(s) (green onions), finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ginger, fresh, grated
  • 3 clove(s) garlic, minced
  • 3 teaspoons oil, olive, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 chicken breasts, skinless, boneless halves
  • 2 ounce(s) rice noodles, dried
  • 1/2 cup(s) carrot(s), chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime peel, finely shredded
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons nuts, peanuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon cilantro

Recipe Tip:

Broiler Directions: Place chicken on the unheated rack of a broiler pan. Broil 4 to 5 inches from heat for 12 to 15 minutes or until chicken is tender and no longer pink (170°F), turning once. Slice as directed.

Preparation

  1. For rub, in a small bowl, combine green onion, ginger, garlic, the 1 teaspoon oil, and the salt. Sprinkle evenly over chicken; rub in with your fingers.
  2. Place chicken on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals. Grill for 12 to 15 minutes or until tender and no longer pink (170°F), turning once. Thinly slice chicken diagonally; set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, cook rice noodles and carrot in a large amount of boiling water for 3 to 4 minutes or just until noodles are tender; drain. Rinse with cold water; drain again. Use kitchen scissors to snip noodles into short lengths. In a medium bowl, stir together lime peel, lime juice, and the 2 teaspoons oil. Add noodle mixture and cilantro; toss gently to coat.
  4. Divide noodle mixture between two individual bowls; arrange chicken slices on noodle mixture. Sprinkle with peanuts. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Info (Per serving):

Calories: 396, Saturated Fat: 2g, Sodium: 369mg, Dietary Fiber: 3g, Total Fat: 13g, Carbs: 32g, Cholesterol: 82mg, Protein: 37g

Diabetic Exchanges:

Vegetable: 0.5, Starch: 2, Lean Meat: 4.5, Fat: 1.5, Carb Choices: 2

Recipe Source: Diabetic Living

Borage

This herb is known for producing gorgeous flowers, but it is not used enough to appreciate the flavor that is similar to that of a cucumber. Borage is best used in salads and soups for a fresh and vibrant flavor.

Also known as the starflower contains high amounts of omega 6 fatty acids which are known to promote healthy joints and skin as well as a boost to the immune system. Borage can also be used as a diuretic to help remove unwanted water and toxins from the body.

 

EdibleWildFood.com's photo.

The leaves of purple loosestrife are edible although not that terrific in taste as they are an astringent. Used a medicine for centuries, this plant supposedly is better for eye health than eyebright. Toss cut up leaves into a salad, into a stew, into the cheese layer of your lasagna, etc.

More wonderful info on their site EdibleWildFood.com

Fiddle dock leaves

Herb: Fiddle Dock

Latin name: Rumex pulcher

Family: Polygonaceae (Buckwheat Family)

Edible parts of Fiddle Dock:

Leaves – raw or cooked. Added to salads, they have an acid flavour.

Description of the plant:

Plant: Perennial

Height: 50 cm (1 foot)

Flovering: June to July

Habitat of the herb:

Dry sunny habitats in sandy soils, occasionally on chalk and limestone.

Other uses of Fiddle Dock:

Although no specific mention has been made for this species, dark green to brown and dark grey dyes can be obtained from the roots of many species in this genus, They do not need a mordant.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division in spring.

Cultivation of Fiddle Dock:

Dry sunny habitats in sandy soils, occasionally on chalk and limestone.

Medicinal use of the herb:

None known

Known hazards of Rumex pulcher:

Plants can contain quite high levels of oxalic acid, which is what gives the leaves of many members of this genus an acid-lemon flavour. Perfectly alright in small quantities, the leaves should not be eaten in large amounts since the oxalic acid can lock-up other nutrients in the food, especially calcium, thus causing mineral deficiencies. The oxalic acid content will be reduced if the plant is cooked. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition.

One of the easiest herbs you can grow, basil comes in many varieties that can be put to numerous culinary uses.

By Patricia Lehnhardt

10 Basil Varieties and How to Use Them - Photo by Rachael Brugger (HobbyFarms.com)
Photo by Rachael Brugger
Choosing what basil variety you want to grow from the 40-plus known varieties might be your biggest growing challenge when it comes to this staple herb.

Choosing from the array of basil varieties to plant might be the most difficult part of growing this herb. Basil has minimal growing requirements—full sun (at least six hours a day), warm temperatures (above 50 degrees F) night and day and fertile soil with adequate moisture—but there are more than 40 known varieties to choose from. Your local garden center likely offers a few basil varieties as seedlings, but to grow the most unusual basils, you’ll need to start from seed.

To help narrow your selection, determine how you will use the basil: to color in the landscape, as an ingredient in food or drinks, as a garnish, or to make a year’s supply of pesto. Below is a list of 10 basil varieties and their uses to help you make your decision.

Christmas Basil 1. Christmas Basil
With 2-inch, glossy green leaves and purple flowers, Christmas basil adds fruity flavor to salads and drinks, and the plants are gorgeous in the landscape. A beautiful border plant, it averages 16 to 20 inches tall.
Cinnamon Basil 2. Cinnamon Basil
This basil variety has a delightful fragrance and spicy flavor. A beautiful, 25- to 30-inch-tall plant with dark-purple stems and flowers accented with small, glossy leaves, it’s my favorite basil to use for fresh arrangements and in fruit salads and garnishes.
Dark Opal Basil 3. Dark Opal Basil
A must in my garden, Dark Opal basil adds color to fresh summer floral displays and depth to dried arrangements and wreaths. Beautiful and spicy in a salad or garnish, it can also be made into pesto, which adds an unexpected color and flavor to your pasta or bruschetta. The plants are attractive in the herb garden, ranging from 14 to 20 inches in height with purple stems, flower and leaves.
Holy Basil 4. Holy Basil
A revered plant in the Hindu religion, Holy basil is also referred to as Sacred basil or Tulsi. Its leaves can be used to make tea for boosting your immune system. It is a beautiful plant in the garden with mottled green and purple leaves and grows to about 12 to 14 inches tall.
Lemon Basil 5. Lemon Basil
This basil variety can be added to salads and fish dishes with abandon. A sprig of Lemon basil in a glass of iced tea is particularly delightful on a hot summer day. The 20- to 24-inch plants are light green with white flowers and 2½-inch-long leaves.
Lime Basil 6. Lime Basil
With small green leaves on compact, 12- to 16-inch plants with white flowers, this basil variety’s lime scent and flavor makes it great in fish and chicken dishes. A simple syrup infused with Lime basil is a delicious addition to tea and margaritas.
Spicy Bush Basil 7. Spicy Bush Basil
The cutie of the basil garden, Spicy Bush basil has tiny leaves on small, mounded plants, which are perfect for pots or lining the garden in bonsai-like fashion. It only takes a few of Spicy Bush basil’s intensely flavored leaves to add a punch to a sauce or soup. The plants are a soft green and about 8 to 10 inches in height and width, with 1/2- to 1-inch-long leaves.
Purple Ruffles Basil 8. Purple Ruffles Basil
A feathery variation of Dark Opal, Purple Ruffles adds another dimension to the landscape, floral arrangements or garnishes. It has the same flavor as Opal basil and can be used similarly. It is a 16- to 20-inch-tall plant with 2- to 3-inch-long leaves.
Sweet Basil 9. Sweet Basil
This basil cultivar is the best choice for Italian sauces and soups and for making pesto. Varieties include Genovese, Napoletano, Italian Large Leaf and Lettuce Leaf. Plants range from 14 to 30 inches tall and are prolific in hot, sunny locations. Harvest the top four leaves often to keep the plant growing and sweetly flavored.
Sweet Thai Basil 10. Sweet Thai Basil
An Asian variety with a distinct, spicy, anise-clove flavor, quite unlike common sweet basil, sweet Thai is a must-have addition to Asian cuisine and makes a nice addition to the herb garden for fragrance and color. It has purple stems and blooms with green leaves reaching 12 to 16 inches tall.

Purple Basil Parmesan Biscuits

Ingredients

  • 9 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces$
  • 2/3 cup chopped fresh purple basil
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2/3 cup fat-free milk
  • 1 large egg
  • Cooking spray

Preparation

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. 2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in basil and cheese. Combine milk and egg in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add milk mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moist. Turn dough out onto a floured surface; pat to 1-inch-thick circle. Cut with a 2-inch biscuit cutter into 12 biscuits. Place biscuits on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and cool.

 

Buying and Storing Fresh Herbs

When buying herbs, be sure to look for vibrant colors and fresh aromas. Avoid leaves that are limp, yellowing or have brown spots. You can buy fresh herbs loose, in packages or as plants. Having herb plants allows you to just snip off what you need and the rest of the plant continues to grow for months.

You can store fresh herbs for several days in the fridge. Remove the rubber bands and immerse the stems in a glass with one inch of water. Cover the leaves with a plastic bag and change the water every day. Alternatively, you can trim the root ends and wrap the herbs loosely in damp paper towels. Place them in a plastic storage bag and keep them on the top shelf of the refrigerator, in the front so they don’t freeze. If the herbs do become limp, trim less than an inch off the stems and place them in a glass of ice water for a few hours. They will spring back to life!

Herbs can also be frozen for up to six months by plucking the leaves, washing and drying them, and placing them in a sealed plastic storage bag. They will, however, lose their vibrant color. Hearty herbs can be frozen in ice cube trays using oil or vegan butter. Simply fill an ice cube try about 2/3 full with chopped herbs, cover the herbs with oil or butter, cover the tray with plastic and freeze overnight. Pop the herb cubes out of the tray and store in labeled freezer bags. The next time you are cooking, you can just throw a cube in your pan and let it melt.

Cooking With Herbs

Only wash herbs when you are ready to use them. Put them in a bowl or sink of cool water and swish them around to release any dirt. Lift them out of the water and dry them in a salad spinner or by blotting them with a dish towel.

Herbs can be chopped with a knife or snipped with kitchen scissors. I choose scissors when I need chives or don’t feel like picking leaves of parsley off the stems. Chop the herbs right before you will add them to the dish so they remain fresh.

If the herbs are being used as an aromatic, background flavor, add some at the beginning of the recipes, usually right after heating the oil or cooking the first few ingredients such as the onions. You can add the entire sprig of an herb into the pot and then remove it when the dish is done. Dried herbs should also be added early in the recipe so their flavors can be released into the food. If you want the full flavor of the herbs to come through, chop them and add them near the end of cooking. And of course, herbs are the perfect garnish to top your incredible culinary masterpiece.

 

Basil

If you have ever eaten pesto, you have eaten basil. Basil, or Sweet Basil, is a popular herb in France and Italy. Basil has a floral aroma, similar to anise and cloves, and is a bit spicy. It pairs perfectly with tomatoes so you often find it inside and on top of Italian dishes. It is believed that it is best to tear basil leaves rather than chop them as the metal from the knife can alter the taste. Basil can be bought dried but it is best when fresh.

Basil can be used in sauces, salads, soups, smoothies, sandwiches and even desserts

There is also Thai Basil which has a much stronger anise scent and is used in many Asian dishes. The leaves are smaller than those of Sweet Basil.

Bay Leaves

Bay leaves are Mediterranean herbs that are members of the laurel family. They are the leaves that were used to make wreaths for Olympic athletes before there were gold medals. Bay is robust, strongly aromatic and has a woody, astringent flavor. The smell is slightly minty and slightly clove-like. Many cooks think of bay more as a spice than an herb and bay pairs well with other spices such as cumin. Bay leaves are usually added to soups, stews, rice, sauces, beans and other long-cooking dishes that have moist environments. Bay leaves are available fresh or dried and both are fine for cooking.

Chives

Chives are related to onions and garlic. They have long, hollow green stems and are usually used fresh, though you can buy dried chives. Chives have a mildly pungent flavor that is not as strong as onion. They are usually used as a garnish by chopping or snipping them with scissors as they are delicate and heat ruins their flavor. Chives are found in many recipes including baked potatoes, salads and omelets. They are often mixed into cream cheese as a spread or into vegan butter to make a compound butter.

Chive plants grow edible purple blossoms that have a stronger onion and garlic flavor than do the stems. They are beautiful on a plate.

Cilantro

Cilantro, also called coriander, is an herb that brings out strong feelings in people. They tend to either love it or hate it. Those who hate it often say cilantro has a “soapy” taste while those who love it find it verdant and refreshing. It has a slight anise flavor. Cilantro comes from the coriander plant, specifically the stems and the leaves, but it is not the same thing as coriander seeds which are the dried seeds of the plant. Nor is it the same thing as parsley, though they are often mistaken for each other in the store. Cilantro does come in dried form but it is best used fresh. It is most often used in spicy foods and is a staple of Mexican, Indian and Asian cooking.

Dill

Dill is a very pretty herb with feathery leaves or fronds. It has a fresh, grassy flavor that is often referred to as anise-like. Dill comes in dried form as well as fresh. A member of the parsley family, dill is sometimes also called dill weed. Dill is often added to seafood dishes, yogurt sauces, vinegars, potato salads and soups.

Mint

When you think of mint, you probably think of desserts. Mint is certainly used for sweet foods . Mint is also used in savory dishes where it adds a cooling, peppery taste. It is often used in North African, Indian and Middle Eastern dishes. Mint pairs well with green peas. Mint is delicious in sauces, jellies.. It also works well in beverages such as mint tea. Mint comes in many varieties with spearmint being the type most used in cooking.

Oregano

Oregano is my favorite herb. It is also the herb I prefer to use in its dried form rather than fresh as the flavor is more concentrated. Oregano grows in the mountains of Italy and Greece and its name actually means “joy of the mountain” in Greek. There is also a type of oregano called Mexican Oregano that is used in Mexican dishes. Oregano is earthy and pungent and closely related to its milder, sweeter cousin, marjoram. Oregano balances acidic foods which makes it the perfect herb to use with tomatoes. Oregano is used in sauces, vinaigrettes, salads and of course, on pizza.

Parsley

Parsley is probably the most common herb. You most likely remember always having that sprig of curly, green stuff on your plates when you ate at a restaurant and you were never sure whether you were supposed to eat it or not (you could but you probably didn’t want to). Parsley has a light, peppery flavor and it gets used in almost every recipe. It adds a fresh brightness and never dominates dishes. Flat-leaf or Italian parsley is the one you want to cook with; the curly stuff is best left for visual garnishes. Add it whenever your dish needs some color on top.

Rosemary

Rosemary is a Mediterranean herb that is tough and woody with spiky, needle-like leaves. The stem is so strong, you can use it as a basting or pastry brush when grilling. Rosemary can be used fresh or dried. Rosemary is very strong and pungent and a little goes a long way. Because it is so aromatic, it can easily overpower a dish. It adds a woodsy, pine flavor to foods. Rosemary is often used in stews, soups and sauces. It pairs well with tomatoes, potatoes, and strong hearty foods like seitan. Rosemary also works well on pizza and in breads such as focaccia.

Make a compound Rosemary Butter to spread on biscuits. Rosemary can also be used in desserts. 

Rosemary

Rosemary is a Mediterranean herb that is tough and woody with spiky, needle-like leaves. The stem is so strong, you can use it as a basting or pastry brush when grilling. Rosemary can be used fresh or dried. Rosemary is very strong and pungent and a little goes a long way. Because it is so aromatic, it can easily overpower a dish. It adds a woodsy, pine flavor to foods. Rosemary is often used in stews, soups and sauces. It pairs well with tomatoes, potatoes, and strong hearty foods like seitan. Rosemary also works well on pizza and in breads such as focaccia.

 Make a compound Rosemary Butter to spread on biscuits. Rosemary can also be used in desserts.  

Sage

Sage is an herb from the evergreen shrub. It has woody stems and large, fuzzy, green leaves. Sage has an earthy flavor and a strong, woodsy aroma. It is often used in combination with other herbs such as parsley, rosemary and thyme. Sage is available in fresh and dried forms. Dried sage is much stronger than the fresh and it can easily overpower a dish. Many people don’t use sage except at holiday time but it works well in many recipes year-round. The leaves can be deep-fried until crispy for a delectable garnish.

 

Tarragon

Tarragon is a delicate herb with long, thin, pointy leaves and tastes like anise. There are two types of tarragon: French and Russian. French tarragon is the one most used in cooking. In fact, it is one of the signature herbs in French cuisine. Tarragon is available fresh and dried and both are fine for cooking. Tarragon does have a strong peppery flavor and can overwhelm other ingredients so remember that a little goes a long way. Tarragon is used in white wine vinegars, mustard dishes and it is a key ingredient of béarnaise sauce.

Thyme

Thyme is my second favorite herb. It is very fragrant and smells lemony. Thyme has thin, woody stems and small leaves that you pull off by holding the bottom of the stem with one hand and running the fingers of your other hand up the stem, stripping the leaves off. Thyme is often used with other herbs such as rosemary, sage, oregano and parsley. It is a popular herb in Mediterranean and European cuisines. Thyme is available fresh or dried and both are fine for cooking. Thyme works well in any dish and is especially delicious with mushrooms.

Herbs, like spices, can take a dish to new, complex and delightful levels. They add flavor, fragrance and color to food, taking recipes from ordinary to extraordinary. It’s fine to keep a bunch of bottles of dried herbs in the pantry; I know I do. But the next time you have a chance to buy and use some fresh herbs, grab it. The aroma alone will invigorate you and motivate you to make amazing dishes.

 

 

 

 

 

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