Cooking with Fresh Herbs


Ever since I can remember my Mom had a herb garden that she used for cooking, so naturally, I have always grown herbs too.

I have been more successful growing some herbs more than others. For some reason I struggle with cilantro, perhaps my most favorite herb of them all. I don't understand it, I can keep all kinds of herbs and vegetables alive and thriving, but the cilantro never makes it.

Which reminds me.......

When I need gardening advice, I am very lucky to know one of the best in the business, my friend Brijette owns San Diego Seed Company, if you are interested in organic sustainable seeds, they are your resource!

But I am writing today to talk more about some of the herbs that I can grow successfully, and how to use them everyday. I am not by any means an expert in the field of gardening, or cooking for that matter, but I tend to have a knack for pairing herbs and spices with foods.

Here are some of my favorite  fresh herb/food combinations and some tips too;

Basil - Incredibly versatile, try this basil walnut pesto, great on flatbreads, pasta, salads, legumes, egg dishes and compliments many cheeses beautifully. Oh, and basil is perfect with tomatoes, fresh, dried or in a tomato sauce, try to add the leaves at the end of cooking for maximum flavor.

Chives - Super easy to grow, great in egg dishes, salads, potatoes and fish.

Cilantro - Most people either love it or hate it, I love it in almost everything. Cilantro pairs great with chicken, fish and shellfish, pork, avocados, legumes, peppers, salads, salsas, tomatoes and yogurt. Especially nice with these fish tacos!

Green Onions (Scallions) - Egg dishes, salads, stir fry, great on the grill. You can grow green onions in a pot in a sunny windowsill, just cut off the stocks as you need them, they will re-grow!

Mint - Tea, fruit salads, cocktails or try this amazing sauce the next time you grill fish.

Oregano - Potatoes, meat, poultry, eggs, sauces, roasted vegetables. I like to cut several stems off my oregano plant each week and keep it on the counter to dry out, it's easy and ready to use.

Parsley - Salads, sauces and soups, and it is an excellent source of vitamins A and C.

Rosemary - Fantastic on roasted potatoes, meat (especially lamb), soups, fruit salad, breads and pasta.

Thyme - Love fresh thyme on roasted carrots! Potatoes, meats, poultry, soups and sauces. We keep 2 or 3 different varieties in the garden, each one offers a different flavor.

Also keep in mind, herbs have powerful antioxidant properties, with oregano, dill, thyme, rosemary and sage among the most potent. They've been used for centuries to ward off disease. And if you are watching your weight, herbs are a natural way to add nonfat flavor!

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