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Most any food is enhanced with the addition of herbs. Iím including some of my favorite recipes on this page, and I intend to update this page seasonally. First, I want to talk a bit about some basic culinary herb ideas:
∑ Pounding leaves in a mortar and pestle produces the clearest and most intense flavors even though the temptation is to haul out the blender or CuisineArt. That high-tech kitchen equipment shreds and rips up the leaves so fast, the oils never get a chance to do their business!
∑ Add a few leaves to liquid when poaching fish or poultry.
∑ Wrap slices of vegetables like zucchini, onion, and tomatoes with a few basil sprigs in aluminum foil and grill for 20 minutes. Store it in oil, or vinegar, or freeze it in paste form for a future base to a casserole or vegetable dish.
∑ Herb butters are a delicious way to add the full flavors of fresh herbs to dishes.† Use on sandwiches, to add zest to meat, fish, and veggies, especially mushrooms, onions, peas, potatoes, tomatoes, and zucchini.† Make herb cheeses by substituting soft cheese for butter.† To make herb butters beat four tablespoons of chopped, fresh herb into 8 oz. of soft butter until smooth.† Beat in the juice of one lemon and add salt and pepper to taste.† Chill.† These can also be frozen for later use.† Using the above recipe, I like to combine Italian herbs (oregano, thyme, parsley) with the basil.† I beat in some olive oil, fresh, minced garlic, and parmesan cheese. This butter spread on Italian bread and grilled until lightly brown under the broiler makes a scrumptious garlic bread to accompany any meal.
∑ Try adding Ĺ tsp ground coriander to gingerbread, banana bread, and carrot cake.
∑ About those hard to find ingredients: They are found usually in oriental cooking-A Chinese or Asian grocery store will have the Kaffir leaves, galangal, and lemongrass. Most ordinary grocery stores' international or ethnic food sections have a lot of different kinds of Thai pastes, dried lemongrass, and other Asian ingredients.