Monday, April 17, 2017

A Quick Herb Guide

Spring brings the urge to plant an herb garden .Home chefs want to add a sprig of this or a few leaves of that .Yet many have no clue as to herb usage. The will add bay leaf to pizza or dried rosemary to ice cream.A good knowledge of herbs is vital to cooking good meals.

Rosemary and oregano are the most popular and most used.Rosemary is a fragrant plant with a variety of uses, from cooking to the medicinal.It is one of the pillars of Italian cooking, going into everything from sausage to pizza.A flavorful tomato sauce relies on its sprigs for some depth.It can also add zing if added to pizza or calzone crust.Oregano is another staple of not just Italian but also  Greek and Eastern Mediterranean cuisine.It gives marinades an earthy green flavor.It can also be put into olive oil for a fragrant oil , perfect for drizzling over slices of French and Italian can also be used in Eastern Mediterranean dishes too such as the trendy za'aatar along with savory and thyme.Surprisingly these versatile sprigs can also be used in various desserts.Imagine a coffee cake sprigged up with both oregano and thyme.Honey paired with it makes an awesome ice cream, both subtly sweet and herbal.They can even be baked into lemon cupcakes for a jolt of fresh springy flavor!

Tarragon is the herb most used by the French.It is one of my favorites and I use it in both my chicken and egg salads.It's flavor is a milder version of the stronger anise.It also is vital in creating the perfect Bernaese sauce along with herb rice and broiled fish such as tilapia and halibut.Cilantro is an easy herb to grow as well as being versatile.The sassy green leaves add dash to any salad and would be great in a chicken marinade.It can also add some zing to grilled veggies too as well as being a staple in Mexican cooking.Cilantro is actually the younger version of coriander, another versatile and necessary kitchen herb.It's excellent in exotic cuisines such as Indian and Morroccan, giving color and zest to curries and tangines.One of the sweetest and most delicious is chive. This is the season for them, as they grow abundantly in yards and even parks. The wild variety has an onion-y sweet taste . Yes , freshly chopped chives are good on baked potatoes , add color and flavor to sour cream but they're also good mixed in with cream cheese and dressings. Try cooking them with carrots in a yummy butter sauce.

Grow herbs.Just understand their uses and what foods they'd enhance.Use them correctly and you'll create deliciously tasty meals.

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