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Genovese Basil

Madonna, wherefore hast thou sent to me
Sweet basil and mignonette?
Embleming love and health, which never yet
In the same wreath might be.

                        —Percy Bysshe Shelley

Sara’s Own Basil-Tomato Sauce

1 large onion, chopped
2 TBS olive oil
3-4 cups fresh basil leaves, chopped
¼ cup fresh oregano leaves, chopped
fresh rosemary from a 6” sprig, chopped           
1 TBS fresh thyme
¼ cup flat leaved parsley, chopped
½ to 1 whole garlic bulb minced
28 oz can of tomatoes, chopped
¼ can tomato paste (optional)
1 cup chicken bouillon

In a cast iron pan, sauté onion slowly until translucent.  Add tomatoes and bouillon and simmer ¼ of the mix away.  Add all the fresh herbs and garlic and simmer 20 to 30 minutes more.  Add tomato paste if thicker sauce is desired.  Tastes best if allowed to sit in the fridge overnight.  Freezes very well.

Italian-Style Pesto (Traditional)

5 cloves of garlic
salt
1/ cup pine nuts
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 cups basil leaves
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Pound garlic and pine nuts in a mortar and pestle.  Crush into a smooth paste.  Add a handful of basil at a time and pound, pound, pound.  Add a few pinches of salt.  Stir in the cheese.  Taste for seasoning.  Add more salt, cheese or olive oil if needed.

Crêpes with Basil Stuffing (for a gourmet lunch treat)

Batter
¾ cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1/3 cup beer
2 oz butter, melted
1/3 cup milk
salt

Put all batter ingredients in a blender, and blend for about a minute.  Let stand at least an hour.

Filling
1 oz butter
8 oz cream cheese
1 small onion, chopped
2 eggs beaten
1 clove garlic, minced
1 TBS shredded basil
8 oz mushrooms, chopped
salt and pepper

Melt the butter and sauté the onion and garlic slowly for about 5 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and sauté 1 minute more.  Leave to cool.  Mix with the rest of the filling ingredients and chill.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Topping
3 TBS grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup light cream

For the crêpes, melt a little butter in a small fry pan.  Add about 2 TBS batter and swirl round the pan.  Cook until golden, turn, and cook the other side too until golden.  Put crêpe on a paper towel.  Fill the crêpes with the mix, roll up and place in an ovenproof dish.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and pour the cream over the top.  Bake for 20 minutes. Yummy!

Potato and Basil Gratin

Present on a bed of bitter greens and serve with a glass of white wine for a fine lunch.

2 medium boiling potatoes
1 Tsp each salt, pepper, mace, and allspice
2 cups fresh basil leaves
¼ pound fontina or domestic provolone
2 ½ cups heavy cream
cheese, grated
1 TBS ground coriander seed

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cook the potatoes in a pot of salted boiling water for 10 minutes.  Drain and cool to room temperature.  Remove skins and cut into ¼ inch slices.

Arrange 1/3 of slices in a thin layer on bottom of a round 10” baking dish rubbed lightly with olive oil.  Sprinkle 1/3 of the basil over the potatoes.  Cover with ½ of the remaining potatoes and the remaining basil.   Top with the rest of the potatoes. 

Combine the cream and spices in a bowl.  Slowly drizzle the mix over the potatoes.  Bake for 1½ hours or until cream is thick and the potatoes are very tender.  Sprinkle cheese over the top and bake until the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.  Remove from the oven, and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

 

Cilantro, Coriander

Hotsy-Totsy Salsas

Salsa Fresca

This salsa is basic to Southwestern cooking.  In a bowl, stir together 3 large ripe diced tomatoes,  ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro, 1 small onion chopped.  Season to taste with 5 to 7 TBS fresh jalapenos or other hot chilis stemmed, seeded, (add seeds if it’s not hot enough), and minced;  3 to 4 TBS lime juice and salt to taste.  Cover and store in fridge for 2 days.  Makes about 3 ½ cups.  Spoon on cheese appetizers, tamales, scrambled eggs, grilled meat, fish, or poultry.

Tomatillo Salsa

Ever tried these little guys? You haven’t tried it all, ‘til you’ve tried these. Remove husks and stems from ½ pound tomatillos.  Chop coarsely.  Combine with 2 fresh jalapenos or other hot chilis, stemmed, seeded, minced.  Add 3 TBS chopped fresh cilantro, 2 TBS lime juice, 1 minced garlic clove.  Salt to taste.  Cover and store in fridge overnight.  Makes 1½ cups.  Serve with chili rellenos, egg dishes, fish, and chicken.

Green Cilantro Salsa

Mix a small chopped onion, 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro, ½ cup chopped parsley, ½ cup olive oil, 6 TBS lime juice, 3 TBS white wine vinegar, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 fresh jalapeno stemmed, seeded, minced.  Cover and store in the fridge overnight.  Spoon over clams, shellfish, grilled lamb or beef.

Blender Salsa

In a blender, combine 2 medium sized tomatoes, ½ small onion, 3 TBS canned green chilis, 4 tsp white wine vinegar, 1 TBS chopped fresh cilantro (more if you wish).  Blend ingredients.  Store in the fridge for 2 days.  Makes about 2 ½ cups.

 

 Lavender

Lavender is of especial good use for all griefes and paines of the head and brain.

                                                                        —John Parkinson

Aromatic Chicken

3 whole chicken breasts, skinned and split, or 6 thighs with thighs attached, skinned
1 TBS butter
½ pound baby white onions, peeled
½ cup dry white wine
3 cloves garlic
½ tsp lavender buds
3 strips orange zest
salt and pepper to taste

Orange zest is the colored skin removed from the bitter white part of the orange.  Use a sharp knife or peeler for this.  Melt butter and sauté the chicken, browning on both sides.  Add the rest of the ingredients and cover the pan.  Simmer gently for 30 minutes.  Remove garlic cloves and strips of orange.  Serve over boiled rice.  Garnish with whole orange sections and sprigs of fresh lavender.

Poached Apples

6 medium tart apples (Granny Smith or Winesap)
¼ cup lemon juice
½ cup honey
1½ cups dry red wine
¼ cup cassis (optional)
½ tsp vanilla
2 black peppercorns
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cardamom
½ tsp lavender
1 cup raisins, golden or dark

You can substitute pears for apples.  Halve, peel and core apples.  Place face down in a 10 –12” skillet.  Mix all other ingredients together and pour over the apples.  Bring just to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer.  Check with a fork after 15 minutes to see if apples are tender.  If you cook too long you will end up with applesauce.  Remove apples and raisins and boil the remaining liquid to reduce and thicken.  Pour over the apples and cool.  Garnish with fresh lavender and other edible flowers such as borage, Johnny jump ups, and calendula petals.  Try it with ice cream, whipped cream or frozen yogurt.

Lavender Punch

1 cup water
1 3” stick of cinnamon
½ tsp whole cloves
3 TBS lavender
1 6 oz can frozen limeade concentrate
2 cups grape juice
1 lime sliced
Ice cubes
1 quart bottle seltzer, chilled

Bring water, cinnamon, cloves to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add lavender and let steep covered for 20 more minutes.  Strain.  Stir in frozen limeade and add grape juice.  Cover and refrigerate.  Just before serving, add lime slice, ice and seltzer.

Chives

And, most dear actors, eat no onions nor garlic, for we are to utter sweet breath.

                                                                        —Shakespeare

Chives are valued for their delicate onion flavor.  Mince the blades fresh and use in recipes or as a garnish.  They go well with onions, potatoes, artichokes, asparagus, cauliflower, corn, tomatoes, peas, carrots, spinach, poultry, fish and shellfish, cream sauces, cheese and eggs.  Add them to soups, stew, sautés, and salad. 

Try these two simple recipes:   Saute 2 cloves of minced garlic in olive oil.  Add 2 cups of cherry tomatoes and sauté 2 more minutes.  Add 2 TBS fresh chopped chives, toss, and serve.

Combine chunks of cukes, ripe tomatoes and feta cheese with chopped chives.  Add a splash of olive oil and serve with crusty bread. 

Chives also make a delicious herb butter and you can create a simple and delicious dip with cream cheese, sour cream and chopped chives.  This last is also a nice stuffing for celery.  Do not ignore the blossoms as a culinary.  As they are strong, break the blossom into flowerettes before adding them to your recipes.

Lemongrass

This was the first Thai recipe I tasted, and I must admit it was a perfect introduction to this cuisine.  No one spoonful was exactly the same.  At first I tasted a sweet, juicy shrimp, next, a spoon of lemon-lime pungency.  As the leaves and roots gradually released their perfume, the soup flavors blended into different patterns.  The spiciness, at first a surprise, became familiar and welcome. Ingredients not found in a supermarket are available in any Asian grocery store.  

Tom Yum Kung—Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup

6 cups chicken stock
1 large stalk lemon grass, tough outer leaves discarded, trimmed to 12 “ and angle-cut    into 2” pieces
10 Kaffir lime leaves or peel of 1 lime
2 TBS Chili-Tamarind Paste
4 TBS fish sauce
½ cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup coconut-palm sugar or brown sugar
1 pound medium shrimp
½ pound oyster mushrooms or button mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
5 small Thai chilies, stemmed and crushed
Sprigs of cilantro

Put stock and lemon grass in a soup pot.  Tear Kaffir leaves in half and add to the pot.  Bring to a low boil over medium high heat.  Keep at a simmer for a minute.  Stir in chili-tamarind paste.  Add fish sauce and lime juice.  Add sugar and stir until dissolved.  Add shrimp, mushrooms, and simmer for about 1 more minute.  Float the chilies on top and turn off the heat.  Ladle soup into bowls and add some cilantro to each bowl.

You can substitute chicken for shrimp.  Do not try to eat the lemon grass or lime leaves.  Eat the chilies at your own risk!

Lemon Grass Chicken Curry

12 oz boneless chicken chopped into small pieces
1 TBS Red curry paste
3 TBS vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 TBS fish sauce
2 stalks lemon grass, chopped
5 Kaffir lime leaves, shredded
½ tsp crushed palm sugar
½ cup water

Place chicken in a bowl.  Add curry paste and stir to coat chicken.  Set aside for ½ hour.

In a wok, heat oil, add garlic, and fry until golden.  Stir in chicken , fish sauce, lemon grass, lime leaves, sugar, and water.  Simmer 15 to 20 minutes until chicken is cooked through.  If chicken becomes too dry, add a little more water, but the final dish will be on the dry side. Serve with rice.

Lemon Balm

The several chairs of order look you scour
With juice of balm and every precious flower.
                                    —Shakespeare

Lemon Balm Cheesecake

Pastry
1 cup all-purpose flour                           
1 pinch salt
3 oz. butter cut into pieces

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Sift flour and salt into a bowl.  Rub in butter with fingertips until mix looks like fine breadcrumbs.  Add enough water to make a soft dough.  Roll out to line a 7” quiche dish.  Bake for 15 minutes.

Filling
2 oz. butter                                                      
2 TBS honey                                                   
12 oz. cream cheese
2 eggs beaten
6 TBS chopped lemon balm

Reduce oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter, honey, and cream cheese until soft and creamy.  Beat in eggs, and fold in lemon balm.  Pour filling into pastry case, and bake for 45 minutes until golden and set.  Serve with whipped cream or yogurt.

Borage, Mint, and Lemon Balm Sorbet

2 1/8 cup sugar                                    
2 1/8 cup water                                               
6 sprigs mint, plus some to decorate                      
Borage sprigs to decorate
6 lemon balm leaves
1 cup white wine
2 TBS lemon juice

Bring sugar, water, and herbs to a boil.  Remove from heat and add wine.  Cover and cool for several hours, then add lemon juice.  Put in freezer.  As soon as mix begins to freeze, stir briskly and put back in freezer.  Repeat every 15 minutes for 3 hours.  Scoop into bowls, and garnish with borage and mint sprigs.
 

Marjoram

And though Sweet Marjoram will your garden paint
With no gay colors, yet preserve the plant,
Whose fragrance will invite your kind regard,
When her known virtues have her worth declared;
On Simonis’ shore fair Venus raised the plant,
Which from the Goddess touch derived her scent.
                                    —René Rapin

Poultry Blend

Add equal parts dry parsley, thyme, sage, and sweet marjoram and ¼ part celery seed.  Sprinkle over poultry before roasting.

Marjoram Grilled Chicken Breasts with Dill/Chive Sauce

6 boneless chicken breast halves              
2 TBS olive oil                                     
1 TBS fresh lemon juice                              
6 TBS fresh marjoram   (3 TBS dry)                     
½ tsp salt                                                         
¼ tsp white pepper
½ tsp fresh ground pepper
¾ cup sour cream
¾ cup nonfat yogurt
2 TBS fresh dill weed  (1 dry)
¼ cup fresh chives  (1/8 dry)

Pound the breasts to a uniform thickness.  Rub them with olive oil and lemon juice, and sprinkle with marjoram and pepper.  Marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour.  Heat a griddle or large fry pan to medium heat.  Cook chicken for 2 minutes and turn.  Cook 4 to 8 minutes more or until cooked through.  Combine sour cream, yogurt, salt, pepper, dill, and chives, and serve this sauce either over the chicken or as a condiment. 

Herb Garden Dressing 

(all dry herbs)
1 cup oregano
1 cup basil
½ cup marjoram
½ cup dill weed
½ cup mint leaves
2 TBS mustard
2 tsp salt
1 TBS fresh ground black pepper

Mix these herbs and keep in a sealed jar.  When making salad dressing, add 2 TBS herb mix to 1 ½ cups cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil with ½ cup cider vinegar.  Allow to stand for 1 hour.  Correct seasoning.

Sara’s Marjoram Tomatoes

4 large tomatoes                                 
2 oz butter                                           
1 TBS fresh marjoram or 1 ½ tsp dry                                             
1 clove crushed garlic
black pepper
pinch of salt
2 TBS grated Parmesan

Cut tomatoes in half horizontally, and place in a shallow flameproof dish.  Beat the butter with the marjoram, garlic, pepper, salt, and parmesan in a bowl.  Spread over the cut side of the tomatoes.  Broil the tomatoes under medium heat for 5 minutes until the topping is just turning golden. 


Mint

Come buy my mint, my fine green mint!
Let none despise the merry, merry cries
Of famous London town.
                        —Old London street cry

Mint Julep

½ cup water                                        
4 TBS chopped mint leaves              
2 TBS sugar                                        
sprigs of mint as garnish. 
juice of 1 lemon
1 cup club soda
½ cup bourbon

Bring water to a boil and pour over leaves.  Stir in sugar and let cool.  Add lemon juice and strain.  Add club soda and bourbon just before serving. Off to the races!


Persian Chicken with Herbs

Serves 4-6 persons.
4 oz butter                                           
2 medium onions, sliced               
2 cups chicken stock                           
salt and pepper                        
1 cup chopped parsley                        
1 cup chopped chives                          
¼ cup chopped mint
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
2/3 cups orange juice
grated rind of 2 oranges
1 boiling chicken

Melt 1 oz of the butter and sauté the onion.  Add chicken to the pan with the stock and seasonings.  Cover and simmer 1 hour.  Melt the rest of the butter and lightly cook parsley, chives, mint, and cilantro.  Add to the chicken.  Stir in walnuts, orange juice and rind.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  (You can stir in 2 beaten eggs at this point—optional).  Accompany with noodles or rice. 

Lemon and Mint Curd  (about 3 pounds)

6 fresh mint leaves                                      
4 cups sugar                                                    
1 ½ cups unsalted butter cut in chunks
thinly pared rind of 6 lemons and their juice
8 eggs beaten

Process sugar and mint leaves in a blender until leaves are finely chopped.  Let sit overnight.  Mix all ingredients with mint sugar and set over simmering water.  Cook, whisking gently until butter is melted and sugar dissolved.  Continue cooking for 30 to 45 minutes or until mix thickens.  Pour to the rim into sterilized jars.  Seal with wax paper and cellophane lids secured with a rubber band.  Use within 3 months.

Raspberry/Mint Muffins 

Yields 10 to 18
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour                           
½ tsp salt                                                                     
¾ cup sugar                                                                 
2 eggs                                                                         
½ cup milk                                                                  
¼ cup fine chopped mint leaves
2 tsp baking powder
½ cup butter
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 ½ cups raspberries or blueberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Combine flour, baking soda, and salt.  In a separate bowl, cream butter and then add sugar.  Cream at high speed and add eggs, one at a time.  Next, add vanilla and cream.  Add half the milk, then half the dry ingredients, then the rest of the milk, then the rest of the dry ingredients. Mix after each addition, but just enough to wet dry ingredients.  Mash 2 cups berries by hand and mix in the batter.  Fold in the rest of the whole berries.  Spoon batter into muffin pans.  Bake for 25 to 35 minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes, and remove from the pan.

Spicy relish for poultry or lamb

½ cup mint leaves
2 cloves garlic
juice of 1 lemon
1 minced hot chili     
handful blanched peanuts
Add a bit of olive oil and process until smooth


Orange Mint Punch


1 cup orange mint leaves                               
½ cup sugar                                                     
2 cups water                                                    
6 black tea bags
12 cups boiling water
2  6 oz cans frozen orange juice
1 cup rum

Infuse the mint in 2 cups water. Steep at least 20 minutes—overnight if possible.  Strain. Add sugar.  Make the black tea in 12 cups boiling water.  Cool.  Remove tea bags. Add infusion, orange juice, and rum.              

Nectarine Plum Cake with Orange Mint

Fruit preparation
3 medium size ripe nectarines                                     
3 large plums, ripe but firm                                         
¼ cup sugar
2 to 3 TBS lemon juice
3 three inch sprigs orange mint

Peel nectarines and plums.  Slice nectarines into 12ths and plums into 8ths.  Sprinkle fruit with sugar and lemon juice and toss with the herb sprigs, bruising the leaves against the side of the bowl.  Let sit and stir occasionally as you make the batter.

Batter
14 TBS unsalted butter                         
1 1/3 cups sugar                                                                     
½ tsp salt                                                                                
¼ loosely packed cup mint leaves, finely shredded
5 extra-large eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
2 cups unbleached flour
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

Butter and flour a 9”x13” cake pan and preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Melt butter over low heat and set aside.  Beat eggs, yolks, and sugar until pale yellow, thick, and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Sift flour with salt 3 times.  Gently fold into egg mixture, 1/3 at a time, then carefully fold melted butter into batter 1/3 at a time.  When batter is completely blended, fold in lemon zest.  Pour into pan and spread evenly.  Strew herbs over it.  Arrange fruit on top.  Bake for 40 minutes or until edges are pale gold and pull away from the pan and tester comes out clean.  Cool on a rack.  Turn out onto baking rack and invert so it is right side up.  Serve alone or with whipped cream garnished with orange mint leaves.

 

Oregano

When the bee can suck no honey, she leaves her
sting behind; and where the bear cannot find
origanum to heal his grief, he blasteth all other
leaves with his breath.
                                    —Beaumont and Fletcher

Ratatouille Provençale—Eggplant Casserole

1/3 olive oil                                          
¾ cups thin sliced onions                
2 cloves garlic or more                       
4 julienned green peppers              
2 ½ cups peeled, diced eggplant           
3 cups zucchini in ½ “ slices
2 cups peeled, seeded, quartered tomatoes
2 TBS fresh oregano (1TBS dry)
1 TBS fresh thyme    (1 ½ tsp dry)
salt and pepper

Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until golden.  Combine these in layers with peppers, eggplant, zucchini, and tomatoes adding to each layer salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the top with olive oil.  Simmer covered over low heat for 35 to 45 minutes.  Uncover and continue to heat 10 more minutes to reduce liquid.  Serve hot or cold with garlic bread.

Stuffed Mushrooms with Oregano 

Serves 6 to 12 persons
12 large mushrooms                              
3 TBS olive oil                         
1 garlic clove, minced                        
1/3 cup chopped parsley            
1 TBS chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp dry
1/3 cup fine, dry breadcrumbs
¼ cup fresh, grated parmesan cheese
salt and fresh ground pepper
½ cup dry white wine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wipe mushrooms with damp paper towel.  Remove and mince stems.  Saute stems with garlic for 3 minutes.  Remove mix and add parsley, oregano, bread crumbs, parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste.  Mix well.  Stuff each cap to form a mound.  Arrange in a baking dish, pour wine into the dish, and bake for 10 minutes.  Then place the dish 2 “ from the broiler, and broil until the tops of the mushrooms are golden brown.  Serve hot or cold.

Sara’s Hearty White Bean and Fall Greens Soup

1 lb dried white beans, washed and picked over    
1 large onion, chopped                                              
1 cup sliced celery                                                  
2 cloves minced garlic or more                           
1 lb Polish sausage, in ½ inch dice (optional)                     
6 sprigs rosemary, oregano, sage, and thyme           
4 cups green beans, sliced collards, Oriental cabbage, mustard greens
4 bay leaves                                                                
2 tsp ground coriander
8 to 10 cups poultry broth           
1 tsp salt
½ tsp fresh ground pepper
2 cups thin sliced carrots
2 cups diced turnip or rutabagas
¼ cup chopped, fresh parsley

Cover beans  with water and bring to a boil for 5 minutes.  Turn off heat, cover, let stand for an hour.  Drain and rinse beans.  Add onion, celery, garlic, sausage, herbs including coriander, but except fresh parsley.  Add enough broth to cover by at least 2”.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cover.  Simmer for about 1 ¼ hours or until beans are nearly tender.  Add more broth and keep soup at about the same volume.
           
Add salt, pepper, carrots, and turnips.  Continue cooking for 25 to 30 minutes or until veggies are tender.  Add greens and cook about 10 minutes or until wilted.  To thicken the broth, remove some beans in a slotted spoon, mash them, and blend with the soup.  Adjust salt and pepper, garnish with parsley.

Elegant Roasted Chicken Breasts with Herb Leaves


6 boneless breasts in halves, skin on             
1 ½ cups wild rice                                          
12 oregano leaves                                      
3 cloves garlic sliced in quarters
12 small basil leaves
12 sage leaves
12 thin slices fresh ginger, dime-size

Sauce
1 tsp fresh chopped oregano                                   
1 tsp fresh chopped basil                          
1 tsp fresh chopped sage                          
½ tsp minced fresh ginger                              
1 clove minced garlic
1 TBS soy sauce
1 TBS melted butter
1 tsp Dijon-style mustard
1 ½ TBS butter

Cook wild rice in water for 45 to 60 minutes.  Lift skin of each breast and place 2 each of oregano, basil, sage leaves and slices of ginger under the skin.  Combine the sauce ingredients and heat.  Bake chicken at 375 degrees, basting with sauce as often as needed until done.  Toss the wild rice with butter and serve with the chicken. Bon Appetit!

Oregano and Feta Hors d'Oeuvre

Try this simple recipe as an hors-d'oeuvre: Drizzle olive oil over a chunk of feta cheese and sprinkle with fresh oregano. Serve with crusty bread and ripe tomatoes.

Parsley

At Sparta's Palace twenty beauteous mayds,
The pride of Greece, fresh garlands crowned their heads
With hyacinths and twining parsley drest,
Graced joyful Menelaus' marriage feast.

              —Theocritus

Tabouli (Zesty Lebanese Salad)

¼ cup garbanzo beans, cooked and drained
1 ¼ cups bulgur wheat, raw
4 cups boiling water
1 ½ cups minced parsley
¾ cup mint, minced
¾ cup scallions
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
¾ cup lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil fresh ground pepper to taste lettuce leaves

Pour boiling water over the bulgur and let stand about 2 hours until wheat is light and fluffy. Drain off excess water and shake in a strainer or press with hands. Mix the bulgur, cooked beans, and remaining ingredients. Serve on lettuce.

Salsa Verde

Serve with braised meat, fried calamari, and grilled fish dishes
Place in a food processor:

2/3 cups parsley leaves
6 anchovy fillets (optional)
½ tsp strong mustard
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 ½ TBS drained capers
½ tsp minced garlic
½ tsp red wine vinegar or 1 TBS lemon juice salt to taste.

Blend to a uniform consistency without over-processing. Adjust seasonings. Serve at room temperature. Stores well in the fridge for a week.

Parsley and Breadcrumb Stuffing for Fish

For 4 fillets of fish
6 TBS butter
½ cup finely chopped onions
½ cup finely chopped celery
1 ½ cups fresh breadcrumbs
3 TBS finely chopped fresh parsley
½ tsp lemon juice
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper

Cook onion and celery in butter on low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in breadcrumbs and parsley. Season with lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

Shrimp with Parsley Pesto

4 servings
½ cup olive oil
1 cup fresh parsley
2 Tbs cold water
1 ¼ pounds large shrimp, in their shells
1 TBS lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
½ tsp salt

Cook garlic and olive oil over low heat until garlic is soft, about 8 minutes. Remove to a measuring cup (with a pouring lip) and refrigerate until cool. Peel garlic and place in blender with parsley, pine nuts, water, and salt. Pulse until leaves are well-chopped. With blender running, very slowly pour oil into the blender until sauce begins to emulsify, then add oil quickly. You can make the pesto a day ahead of time and refrigerate.

Butterfly shrimp by laying it on its side. Starting ¼ " away from the tail, make a horizontal cut along the inside curl of the shrimp without cutting all the way through. Open the shrimp and flatten it with your palm. Season it with some salt. In a fry pan, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil until smoking. Add shrimp, shell side up. Cook for 1 minute, turn the shrimp, and cook until firm and pink, about a minute more. Repeat until all shrimp is cooked. Stir lemon juice into the pesto just before serving. Serve pesto as a dipping sauce with the shrimp.

Rosemary

Young men and maids do ready stand
With sweet Rosemary in their hands—
A perfect token of your virgin's life.

              —Old Ballad (Roxburghe Collection)

Roast Meat Pork, Lamb, Chicken, or Beef

Stud the meat with fresh rosemary sprigs and garlic by inserting a sharp knife twice in the shape of a cross. Push the sprigs and cloves into the cut for a roast that tastes divine.

Spiced Lamb

This tender sautéed lamb is cooked in a sauce fragrant with herbs and spices. Serve with rice or potatoes and a green veggie. It tastes equally good if the fillets are pork or steak.

1 lb. lamb neck fillet
1 tsp fresh chopped dill
1 tsp fresh crushed rosemary
1 tsp fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 tsp ground pepper
½ tsp ground allspice
Juice of 2 lemons
2 tsp black mustard seed, crushed
1 cup red wine
2 TBS olive oil
2 TBS butter
1 small red pepper, seeded and sliced
3 oz button mushrooms, whole
3 TBS flour
½ cup beefstock
salt

Sprinkle the lamb with dill, rosemary, thyme, and mustard seed. Add bay, pepper, allspice, lemon, and wine. Coat meat thoroughly. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Heat oil. Add red pepper and mushrooms and cook slowly to soften. Remove with slotted spoon. Reheat oil. Add lamb fillet, reserving the marinade. Brown meat quickly on both sides. Remove and set aside with veggies. Melt butter. When foaming, add flour. Lower heat and cook slowly until rich brown. Add beef stock slowly and bring to a boil. Return veggies and lamb to the pan and cook until done, about 15 minutes. Slice lamb diagonally. Arrange on plates. Spoon sauce over the meat.

Rosemary Veggie Goulash

2 TBS rosemary infused oil
2 medium onions, sliced
1 TBS whole wheat flour
1 TBS paprika
10 oz hot water mixed with
1 tsp tomato puree
14 oz can of Italian tomatoes
2 sprigs 6" long rosemary
8 oz cauliflower
8 oz carrots, cut in chunks
8 oz new potatoes cut in half
½ hot pepper, deseeded and chopped
5 oz sour cream
salt
fresh ground pepper

Heat rosemary oil. Fry onion slowly until soft and add ¾ of the paprika. Stir in water, tomatoes, and rosemary. Bring to a boil, stirring all the while. Add all the veggies and seasonings. Cover and bake in a preheated 375°F oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven. Take out the sprigs. Stir in sour cream and remaining paprika. Serve with pasta and garlic bread.

Rosemary Bread

1 ¼ oz fast acting yeast
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
1 ½ cups self-rising flour
2 TBS butter
1 cup whole milk
¼ cup warm water
Coarse salt to decorate
1 TBS sugar
1 tsp salt
1 TBS sesame seed
1 TBS dried chopped onion
1 TBS fresh rosemary leaves
1 cup cubed cheddar cheese

Mix fast-acting yeast with flours. Melt butter. Stir in warm water, milk, sugar, butter, salt, sesame seed, onion, and rosemary. Knead thoroughly until smooth. Flatten the dough, then add cheese cubes. Quickly knead until they are well combined. Place dough in a clean bowl greased with butter, turning it so it becomes greased on all sides. Cover with a clean, dry cloth and put in a warm place for 1 ½ hours until the dough is double in size. Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake for 30 minutes. During the last 10 minutes, cover the loaf with foil to prevent it from getting too dark. Remove from pan and cool.

Decorate with rosemary and coarse salt.

Sage

Sage is singularly good for the head and the brain; it quickeneth the senses and the memory; strengtheneth the sinews; restoreth health to those that hath the palsy; and takes away shaky trembling of the members.

              —John Gerard

Sara's Savory Stuffing

For a 25 lb. turkey

Toast 1 lb. of wheat bread, and butter on one side and cut into ½ " cubes. Sprinkle generously with salt and ground pepper, 2 TBS dried thyme, 1 TBS dried sage, and 2 tsp. crushed rosemary. Heat 8 TBS butter in a large pan until foam subsides. Add and cook, stirring until tender for about 7 minutes: 2 cups sliced onions and 2 cups chopped celery. Stir into bread cubes and toss until well combined.

Melt 2 more TBS butter until foam subsides. Add and cook until brown about 5 minutes: turkey heart, gizzard and salt and pepper. Chop them and add to the bread cubes. Cook 1 lb. breakfast sausage and crumble. Add to bread cubes along with 12 oz. mozzarella cheese and 10 oz. pepperoni, cut into ¼ " cubes. Toss to combine. Generously moisten with 2/3 to 1 cup chicken broth. (Sausage, mozzarella, and pepperoni are optional).

Sage and Onion Stuffing

1 medium onion
¼ cup butter
1 ½ cups soft breadcrumbs
salt and pepper
3 TBS chopped sage or 1 ½ dry
1 large egg
¼ cup milk

Cook chopped onion in butter until slightly colored. Remove from heat and add breadcrumbs. Add salt, pepper and sage. Beat egg lightly and stir into breadcrumbs. Add milk and mix thoroughly. Use to stuff poultry.

Fagioli all 'Uccelletto Beans
(cooked like little birds)

An acquaintance told me that this was Michelangelo's favorite bean recipe.

Soak a pound of white beans overnight. The next day, rinse the beans, put in a large pot, and cover with water. Simmer for 2 hours or until tender (or, you can cook these in a pressure cooker).

Heat 3 TBS olive oil. Add: 2 cloves minced garlic, five fresh chopped sage leaves, and fresh ground pepper. Saute until garlic begins to change color. Drain beans and add to the skillet. Stir in 4 peeled, chopped tomatoes and simmer for 20 minutes. Taste and add salt, if needed. Serve at room temperature.

Sara's Sassy Sangria with Pineapple Sage

2 oranges, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
2 limes, sliced
Fresh fruit-grapes, strawberries, apple, pear, cut up
1 lb frozen peaches, blueberries
1 gallon dry white wine
1 ½ cup Grand Marnier
1 ½ cup brandy
2 very large bunches mixed herbs: lemon verbena, pineapple sage, mint, lemon balm
Sparkling water

Mix all together and enjoy!

Pineapple Sage and Cantaloupe Sorbet

¼ cup sugar
1 cup boiling water
12 pineapple sage leaves
1 medium cantaloupe
1 cup chilled Asti Spumante
Pineapple sage leaves to garnish

Dissolve sugar in water with the herb leaves. Bring syrup to a simmer and cook for a few minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Remove seed from cantaloupe and cut into chunks. Remove leaves from syrup. Puree the melon with the syrup until smooth. Pour into a canister and stir in Asti Spumante. Freeze. Serve with leaves and blossoms as a garnish.

Thyme

But those which perfume the Aire most delightfully, not passed by as the rest, but being Trodden upon and Crushed, are Three: That is, Burnet, Wilde-Time, and Water-Mints. Therefore, you are to set whole Allies of them, to have the Pleasure, when you walke or tread.

              —Francis Bacon

Sara's Cherry Tomato Thyme

Halve cherry tomatoes and scoop out the seeds. Combine yogurt, fresh thyme leaves, fresh chopped basil, and a touch of Dijon mustard. Fill the tomato halves and garnish with fresh thyme sprigs.

Vegetables a la Grèque

Bouillon
2 TBS lightly toasted coriander
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs parsley
2 sprigs thyme
Juice of 1 lemon, strained
1 tsp salt
1 tsp peppercorns
4 cups water

Bring ingredients to a boil then simmer for 5 minutes. Prepare the following veggies:

8 baby artichokes
½ lb carrots, peeled and trimmed
3 inner ribs celery
½ lb zucchini
3 TBS olive oil

Simmer these in the bouillon until firm-tender. Remove, cool, and serve garnished with olive oil.

Thyme and Feta Vinaigrette

½ cup olive oil
½ cup red wine vinegar
2 minced garlic cloves
¼ cup feta cheese
1 TBS Dijon-style mustard
1/8 tsp salt
2 TBS fresh thyme
1 TBS fresh marjoram
1 TBS fresh oregano
1 tsp honey
½ tsp pepper

Place all ingredients in a jar, seal tightly, and shake for 10 seconds. Use immediately or refrigerate. Will last for up to 3 weeks.

Island Roasted Chicken with Thyme Mustard Sauce

½ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cayenne
¼ tsp salt
1 TBS softened butter
1 whole chicken, washed
8 slivered garlic cloves
½ TBS whole cloves
12 stems fresh thyme
1 cup mustard thyme (see below)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine seasonings in a small bowl. Spread butter evenly over chicken and put some under the skin and in the cavity. Insert garlic and cloves under skin, over the breasts and legs and in the cavity. Stuff thyme stems under the skin and in the cavity. Roast for 1 hour 15 minutes. Baste every 15 minutes with pan juices.

Serve with Sauce below.

Mustard Sauce
¾ cup light cream
¼ cup Dijon style mustard
3 TBS fresh thyme leaves
1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper

Combine in a microwave dish. Microwave until it bubbles. This sauce is also good with steak au poivre, roast pork or lamb, or broiled fish.

French Tarragon

What savour is best, if physic be true, For places infected than wormwood and rue?

                —Thomas Tusser

General comment about making herbal vinegars: The biggest mistake most people make when making herbal vinegars is not using enough herb. A few sprigs will give a whiff of the herb but will not give it a good flavor. If you use dry herbs, the portions are ½ cup dry herb to 2 cups vinegar. For fresh herbs, the portions are 1 cup fresh to 2 cups vinegar. Secondly, spend money on good vinegar. (I use white vinegar for cleaning purposes only). Thirdly, do not heat the vinegar. A lot of recipes I see recommend heating. This is not needed as vinegar is a good extractor. Finally, do not be in too great a hurry. Steep 8 weeks.

Tarragon Vinegar

1 cup of tarragon, loosely packed
2 cups vinegar

Pour vinegar over the herb and cover the jar lightly. Do not heat the vinegar. Let it steep in a dark place at room temperature for 8 weeks. Taste. If it is not strong enough, add more herb and let steep another 3 weeks. You can repeat this until the desired flavor is attained. Strain and fill sterilized jars. Label and date, and store in a cool, dark place.

Sauce Remoulade (Tartar sauce French-style from Julia Child)

Warm a 3 quart bowl in hot water. Add 3 egg yolks and beat until thick and sticky. Add 1 TBS of wine vinegar or lemon juice, ½ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp dried or prepared mustard. The next step is important because emulsification depends on it. Oil must be room temperature. Add in the oil drop by drop, beating all the time. Switch beating hands if you have to. Keep your eye on the oil. Stop pouring and continue to beat, making sure the egg is absorbing the oil. Add 1 ½ cups olive oil. To the mayonnaise, add 4 TBS minced sour pickles, 4 TBS capers (twist these in a towel to get as much of the liquid out as possible), 2 to 4 TBS fresh minced parsley, tarragon, chives, and chervil.

Sauce Bearnaise

for steak, boiled or fried fish, broiled chicken, and egg dishes
¼ cup wine vinegar
¼ cup dry white wine or vermouth
1 TBS minced shallots or green onions
1 TBS minced fresh tarragon
1/8 tsp pepper
Pinch of salt

Boil the vinegar, wine, shallots, and seasoning over medium heat until liquid is reduced to 2 TBS. Let cool.

2/3 cup melted butter
1 TBS cold butter
2 TBS fresh minced tarragon
3 egg yolks Beat the egg yolks until thick. Strain in the vinegar mixture and beat. Add 1 TBS cold butter and thicken the egg yolks over low heat. A double boiler is handy for this step. Beat in the other TBS cold butter, then the melted butter by droplets. Correct the seasoning, and beat in the tarragon.

Escalopes de Veau à l'Estragon
(Sautéed Veal Scallops with Brown Tarragon Sauce)

12 veal scallops

Dry scallops thoroughly. Put 2 TBS butter and 2 TBS oil in a skillet over medium high heat. When the butter foam has subsided, sautee the scallops 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Do not crowd the pan. They are done when lightly brown. Remove scallops to a dish.

3 TBS shallots
½ cup dry white wine or 1/3 cup vermouth.
1 TBS fresh tarragon
1 cup canned beef bouillon plus 1 TBS cornstarch blended with1 TBS water

Cook the shallots for a minute in the sauté skillet. Add the wine and tarragon, reducing to 3 spoonfuls. Add the bouillon and starch mix, boil 2 to 3 minutes until the sauce is reduced and thickened lightly. Correct seasoning. Season the veal with salt and pepper and return to the skillet. Baste with the sauce. Cover and heat for 4 minutes. Remove to a platter. Swirl 2 TBS butter into the sauce. Swirl in 2 TBS fresh minced tarragon. Spoon sauce over the veal and serve with rice, noodles, or sautéed potatoes and peas or green beans.

Sauce Vinaigrette (French Dressing)

2 TBS good wine vinegar
1/8 tsp salt Pinch of pepper
6 TBS olive oil
¼ tsp dry mustard

Place ingredients in a screw top jar and shake vigorously until well blended. Add the following minced herbs: 1 to 2 TBS parsley, chives, tarragon, and basil. Correct seasoning.

Dill

Therewith her Vervain and her Dill That hindereth witches of their will.                     —Michael Drayton

Sara's Dill Sauce for Fish

Combine 1 cup yogurt, 3 TBS minced fresh dillweed, 1 ½ tsp Dijon mustard.

Soy Version of Dill Sauce for Fish

3 cloves garlic
9 ½ oz silken tofu (soy bean curd)
2 TBS lemon juice
¼ cup dillweed, minced salt and pepper

Process until smooth in a blender or food processor.

Gravlax (Salmon Marinated with Dill)

This is a traditional Scandinavian dish of great simplicity and of great merit. It will store for up to a week in the refrigerator.

2 lbs salmon fillets
1 TBS salt
1 TBS sugar
1 tsp crushed peppercorns
1 TBS brandy (optional)
1 TBS fresh, minced dill

Mix ingredients, put some of the mix in a flat dish large enough to hold the salmon. Put one fillet skin-side down. Spread mix over this fillet. Put another fillet, skin up over the first piece and pour the rest of the mix over it. Cover with foil, and place a plate or wooden board on top of the fish. Weigh it down. Refrigerate for 36 to 72 hours. Turn the fish every 12 hours and baste with the juices. To serve, scrape off all the mix, pat the fish dry, and slice thinly at an angle. Serve with buttered rye bread and the following mustard sauce:

Gravlaxas (Mustard Sauce for Gravlax)
4 TBS Dijon mustard
1 tsp mustard powder
1 TBS sugar
2 TBS white wine vinegar

Mix the above ingredients together, then slowly add 6 TBS olive oil until the sauce is the consistency of mayonnaise. Finally stir in 3 to 4 TBS chopped dillweed. Serve with gravlax and rye bread.

Marjoram Grilled Chicken Breasts with Dill-Chive Sauce

The marjoram-olive oil marinade gives the chicken breast a colorful, crusty coating to which the creamy dill-chive sauce adds a refreshing touch.

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 TBS olive oil
6 TBS fresh marjoram
½ tsp fresh ground pepper
¾ cup sour cream
¾ cup nonfat yogurt
1 TBS fresh lemon juice
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
2 TBS fresh dillweed
¼ cup chives

Pound chicken pieces to a uniform thickness so that they will cook evenly. Rub them with olive oil and lemon juice, and sprinkle with marjoram and pepper. Marinate them in the fridge for at least one hour. Heat a griddle or large fry pan to medium-high. Add chicken, cook 2 minutes, and turn. Cook 4 to 8 minutes longer or until cooked through. Combine sour cream, yogurt, salt, pepper, dill, and chives, and serve this sauce either over the chicken or as a condiment.

Sara's Dill Dressing

This dressing is offered as an example of how well dill combines with other herbs and how many foods it can compliment. Try it with carrot and cabbage slaw, with green salad, beet salad, and salads containing raw fennel or steamed asparagus or cauliflower. It makes a delicious dipping sauce for artichokes and gives new interest to chicken, fish, meat and is tasty with tuna.

1 ½ TBS Dijon style mustard
3 TBS white wine of herb vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup chopped dill
¼ cup chopped chives
Chopped leaves of 4 sprigs of tarragon
salt and pepper

Mix mustard and vinegar in a bowl. Whisk in the olive oil. Stir in dill, chives, tarragon, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add more vinegar if needed.

Sara's Dilly Burnet Butter

Burnet gives this butter a hint of cucumber. Serve with grilled fish, French bread, and a salad. Choose young, tender leaves of burnet (Sanguisorba minor) as the older ones are tough.

½ lb unsalted butter
1 tsp Dijon-style mustard
2 or 3 generous sprigs fresh dill
2 or more sprigs burnet (to taste)

Blend ingredients thoroughly until mix is pale green. .

 

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