I thought I’d share this with you. Quick ideas on how to add flavor and zing to Summer salads with fresh herbs from your garden.
Here are some hints to help you incorporate fresh herbs into your cooking
~ Rub chopped, fresh herbs like marjoram or lemon basil into fish before grilling
~ Add a teaspoon of chopped, fresh basil or dill to a cup of mayonnaise for a special spread
~ Sprinkle omelets with fresh minced herbs before folding, or add to scrambled eggs. Try herb and cheese combinations like feta cheese and oregano, or Parmesan and basil.
~ Add a teaspoon or so of chopped mint to a pot of split pea or lentil soup.
~ Rosemary and lemon basil or lemon thyme go great with chicken.
~ Sprinkle chopped, fresh herbs such as Mexican Mint Marigold (Mexican tarragon), parsley or dill on your green salad before tossing
Basic Herb Butter
1/2 pound butter, softened
1 tablespoon fresh chives
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
1 tablespoon other fresh herb
or a combination of 2 or 3 herbs
Chop herbs very fine with scissors or chef’s knife, or in a food processor. Work butter with spoon, rubber spatula or fork until smooth. Stir in finely chopped herbs. Taste, and add more herbs if flavors are not strong enough. Keep in mind, that flavors will develop more fully with several hours of storage. Be sure to remove any large stems. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.
Note: herb butters may be melted for use, but take care when heating, especially when broiling, as fresh herbs burn easily.
Experiment with other additions such as:
- Lemon Juice
- Dijon Mustard
- Dry Mustard
- 1-2 Cloves Crushed Garlic
Use your own judgment to determine amounts. Start small, you can always add more.
Basic Herb Salad Dressing
1/4 c. wine vinegar
1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon mustard (Dijon-style or prepared)
2 to 3 tablespoons freshly chopped herbs*
1/2 c. good olive oil
1 garlic clove
Blend all ingredients, except the garlic, thoroughly with a whisk or fork. Let the flavors blend at room temperature. Rub the salad bowl with the freshly cut halves of the garlic clove. Add washed and dried assorted crispy greens. Pour the whisked-up dressing over the greens and serve promptly.
*Try equal parts basil, parsley, thyme and oregano
OR equal parts basil, savory, thyme
OR thyme, chives, basil
OR try your own combinations.
Fresh Tomato and Herb Sauce
For maximum flavor, don’t overcook this sauce, but thoroughly squeeze the seeds and juice out of the tomatoes so it won’t be watery .
3 1/2 pounds Roma tomatoes
1/2 c. good olive oil
1/2 c. chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 c. chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
3 tablespoons fresh chopped mint
1/4 c. chopped chives
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
With a paring knife, slice a cross in the skin in the bottom of each tomato. Blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for about 1 minute. Drain, then plunge them into a bowl of ice water to loosen the skin; squeeze gently to peel and remove seeds and excess juice. Dice the tomatoes, then puree half of them in a blender or food processor. Heat the oil, diced tomatoes, tomato puree in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the remaining ingredients and cook just until heated through.
Lemon Balm Quick Bread
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 8 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup lemon balm leaves, finely chopped
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup milk
- grated rind of one lemon
- Grate the lemon peel and remove the juice from the lemon. Reserve the juice for the glaze.
Cream butter, sugar, and finely chopped leaves. Add eggs and beat well to get a smooth consistency. Add remaining ingredients (flour through lemon rind). Pour into one large or four miniature greased loaf pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes if using a large pan or 25-30 minutes if using miniature pans.
Before removing from the pans, use a toothpick to prick holes in the crust.
Pour Lemon Balm Glaze over the top while the loaves are still warm.
Allow to cool completely before removing from the pan. Loaves can be frozen for later use.
LEMON BALM GLAZE
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 2 tablespoons finely chopped lemon balm leaves
• juice from one fresh lemon (about 4 tablespoons)
To avoid having bits of chopped herbs in the bread, steep the chopped leaves in the liquid for a half an hour or so. If you heat the liquid first, then add the herbs, the flavor develops more fully. This liquid can then be stored in the refrigerator for later use, or used right away in the recipe.
There are myriad ways to use Herbal Vinegar. It is easy to make a vinaigrette salad dressing using your herb flavored vinegar, use it to give soups and gravies a unique flavor, sprinkle it on grilled or steamed vegetables. The possibilities are limitless.
Herbal Honey Salad Dressing
1/2 Cup Olive oil
3 Tablespoons honey
3 Tablespoons herbal vinegar
2 Teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 Teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 Teaspoon paprika
1/4 Teaspoon salt
Combine all ingredients and whirl in blender or shake vigorously in a jar.
Basic Vinaigrette Recipe with Herb Vinegar
Yield: ¾ Cup
1/4 c. herb vinegar 1/2 c. good olive oil 1/2 teaspoon mustard (Dijon-style or prepared) salt and pepper to taste 1 garlic clove, peeled and cut in half
Blend all ingredients, except the garlic, thoroughly with a whisk or fork. Rub the salad bowl with the freshly cut halves of the garlic clove. Add washed and dried assorted crispy greens.
Pour the whisked-up dressing over the greens and serve promptly.
6 medium potatoes 1/4 cup Texas Tarragon vinegar (also called Mexican Mint Marigold vinegar)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped up
Cook potatoes in boiling water until tender (about 20 minutes). Drain the potatoes, cool until you are able to handle them, then peel the potatoes and cut into cubes. Pour the Texas Tarragon vinegar over potatoes then add onion and black pepper. Let sit 30 minutes then add remaining ingredients and refrigerate.
2 Medium cucumbers
1 Tablespoon salt
1/2 Cup Cilantro herbal vinegar
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 Cup sliced sweet red pepper
1 small onion, sliced
Wash cucumbers and slice thinly. Place cucumber slices in a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Let stand 2 hours, then drain off any liquid that has formed. Add red pepper and onion to cucumber slices. Combine Cilantro vinegar and sugar and pour over the vegetables. Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.