It will still be a few weeks until we can really start on the gardening, as we have to wait for any danger of frost to pass. Until then, however, I have my herbs to dote on. The majority have done well with being over-wintered, and recently, they've had quite a growth spurt with more sun coming in the windows.
I have so enjoyed having fresh herbs all through the winter. It provides a hopeful feeling to see something green and living (some days more than others, of course). And it's fun to ponder and plan about how to use the herbs in the kitchen.
In today's post, I'd like to share my favorite uses for herbs. Some simple food/herb flavor combinations and some complete recipes.
Rosemary - lemon, apple (both used in my Fresh Summer Salad recipe)
Lavender - Citrus Amuse-Bouche. Lavender is pretty similar to rosemary in both appearance in taste, but offers a unique tinge of earthy floral flavor. It balances well with bright citrus.
Sage - butternut squash, mozzarella
Basil - tomato, feta, strawberry, Gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Parsley - scalloped potatoes, Scarborough Fair Biscuits
Mint - watermelon (really!), as a garnish for Blueberry Zucchini Cake with Lemon Buttercream
Thyme - chicken, turkey (see my Thanksgiving Salad)
Dill - pickled anything. Mom is the only person in our family who likes pickled goods, but one thing I will tolerate is an artisan dill bread. Wonderful with an egg over easy.
Chives - hot dogs, brats, potatoes, salads, eggs (Anything you would add onion to, but don't want the hassle and tears of cutting up an onion.) We also have a family inside joke about chives that we've picked up from watching Jacques Pepin cooking shows. Because of his French accent, Jacques pronounces them as "shives." And as you can guess, chopping the chives becomes "shopping the shives." We love to say this whenever we're cooking with chives. It always gets a good laugh. :)
And some herb goals I have for this summer:
Try growing tarragon and chervil. More Jacques favorites!
Get my lavender plants to flower. I've had these 3 plants for a full year and have gotten... drumroll, please... ONE blossom. I've tried pinching off the stems, watering less, watering more, to no avail. Hopefully, I can troubleshoot to get some results this summer.
Revive the mint plants. Both the peppermint and spearmint have had a rough winter. Stems continue to die off and the new growth gets very tall and spindly, as it tries to seek some sunshine. I think they just need a lot more light. We'll see.
What are your favorite herbs or ones you've been wanting to try? I'd love to hear in the comments!
'Til next time,