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Herbs - general tips and collected recipes

Fresh herbs can be stored in an open or a perforated plastic bag in your refrigerator crisper drawer for a few days. To extend the freshness of herbs, snip off the ends of the stems on the diagonal. Place herbs in a tall glass with an inch of water, like you would for cut flowers. Cover them loosely with a plastic bag to allow for air circulation. Place them in the refrigerator and change the water daily. Herbs may last a week or more stored this way.
NOTE: The flavor of herbs may diminish the longer they are stored.

Wash herbs only when you are ready to use them. Wash small amounts of herbs thoroughly under running water. Shake off moisture or spin dry in a salad spinner. Pat off any remaining moisture with clean paper towels.

Basil should be stored in water in a cool place outside of the refrigerator, as the cold air can discolor the tender leaves. Basil is sensitive to the cold and, like all plants, produces ethylene gas, which is what ripens fruit but deteriorates leafy greens when they’re not allowed to breathe. To keep basil perky for more than a few meals, trim the stems as you would flowers to remove dried-up ends, then stick the bunch in a tall glass of water. Loosely cover the basil with a plastic bag and keep it on the counter. This method allows moisture to stay in while ethylene escapes, making for basil that remains vibrant for nearly a week. If you let it hang out on the counter long enough, the basil may even begin to sprout roots.


Basil Pesto

Ingredients:
• 1 1/2 cups basil
• 2-5 garlic cloves
• 1/4 cup pine nuts (you can replace with walnuts or just add more cheese)
• 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
• 1/8 cup lemon juice
• 1/8 cup olive oil

Directions:
Mix everything together in food processor until well blended, adding the lemon juice and olive oil in last, and adjusting to taste.
Serve on pasta or just about anything. This will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, but will begin to discolor quickly. Placing plastic wrap directly over the surface may help.
Pesto will freeze well in air tight containers for several months, but if you plan to freeze your pesto, do not add in the cheese before freezing: wait to stir it in until after it is thawed and ready to use.


Basil Oil By Chef Aaron Kindig

Don’t throw away those basil stems! Get the most out of your basil by using the stems to make a flavorful oil.

Ingredients:
1 cup basil stems cut into 1 inch lengths
1 cup extra virgin olive oil or blended oil

Directions:
Put basil stems and oil in a blender and blend on high until chopped up thoroughly. Strain the oil through a chinois, sieve, or cheese cloth. Use oil as garnish for soups and salads.


Thyme and Oregano Butter

Ingredients:
½ stick (4 oz.) softened butter
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme, (woody stems removed)
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano (woody stems removed)
1 small clove garlic, crushed
2 tsp. lemon juice

Directions:
Beat all ingredients in small bowl with electric mixer or wooden spoon until well combined. Spoon mixture onto a sheet of grease-proof paper in a rough log shape. Fold one side of the paper over roll, then, with a ruler, push against the butter so that the mixture forms a smooth log. Roll the butter in the grease-proof paper, refrigerate. Or wrap again in heavy plastic and freeze up to one month.

Herb butter is easy to make with any kind of fresh herbs and keeps well in your freezer. It is great to use in any dish that can benefit from the addition of herbs, including hot pasta, baked potatoes, grilled or broiled steak, steamed vegetables, fish, or it can be spread on bread and broiled.


Mint, Basil, Cucumber, & Lime Fizz

Ingredients:
2 large basil leaves
4 mint leaves
3 small slices of cucumber
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 – 1 tablespoon simple syrup (recipe below)

Directions:
Muddle all these ingredients in a large glass. Really smash up the cucumber and herbs to release their fragrance. Fill with soda water. Taste and adjust to your liking. Garnish with lime wedge and more cucumber.

Simple Syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Combine ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat once all the sugar has dissolved. Cool.


Roast Chicken with Fresh Herbs
Makes 4 servings
Adapted from Back to the Table by Art Smith

Ingredients:
1 (4-pound) chicken
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
1 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram
1 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 lemon, halved
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1 cups homemade or canned low-sodium chicken broth

Directions:
Position a rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 400°. Clean chicken inside and out with cold water and pat dry. Arrange on rack in a roasting pan.

Chop garlic, then mash with salt to make a paste. Transfer to small bowl. Add oil, tarragon, basil, thyme, marjoram, oregano and pepper, and mix. Slip your fingers under the skin of each breast to loosen; rub as much herb paste as you can under skins. Rub remaining paste in body cavity, then place a lemon half inside. If desired, tie chicken legs together with kitchen twine.

Place chicken, breast side up, on rack in large roasting pan. Roast 30 minutes, basting twice. Scatter onions, carrots and celery in pan. Roast about 20 to 30 minutes longer, basting once or twice, or until a meat thermometer inserted in thickest part of thigh, without touching a bone, reads 180°.

Transfer chicken to a platter. Pour pan juices into a small glass measuring cup. (Discard vegetables in roasting pan.) Let juices stand 5 minutes, then skim off any fat from surface. Place pan over high heat on stove. When pan is sizzling, pour in degreased juices and broth. Bring to a boil, stirring up browned bits on bottom of pan with a wooden spoon. Strain into a sauceboat.

Carve chicken and serve with pan juices.


Tarragon Chicken
from http://www.recipezaar.com
Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes Serves: 4

Ingredients:
1 1/4 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 shallots
2 teaspoons butter
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped
salt and pepper

Directions:
1. Peel and chop the shallots.
2. Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Heat the butter and oil together in a frying pan.
4. Add the chicken pieces and stir so that they brown on all sides.
5. Next add the shallots and let simmer 5 minutes over low heat.
6. Pour the sour cream into the pan with the chicken and shallots, and let it cook down 1 to 2 minutes.
7. Add the tarragon.
8. Let simmer another 30 seconds, serve immediately over rice, if desired.

 

This entry is related to the following products. Click on any of them for more information.
Onion, Garlic, Garlic Scape, Basil, Fennel, leaf, Lemon Balm, Marjoram, Mint, Oregano, Thyme, Scallions (Green Onion),
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