Fresh Herbs

A fresh and fun recipe catalog by a girl who likes to play in the kitchen the "from scratch" way.

|COOLER CORN| 09/09/2012

Filed under: Picnic,Sides,Uncategorized — |FreshHerbs| @ 2:31 pm

Ok, so no photos for the last two posts…which in food blogging is probably a cardinal sin or something, but this isn’t a food blog! It’s a recipe catalogue! And this is a recipe I definitely don’t want to forget (which these days is par for the corse…and my mommy friends tell me that’ll never get better once this little guy arrives).

I actually entertained last weekend to say farewell to summer with a Labor Day picnic with just a few friends…picked up some end of summer corn on the cob and pulled out my largest pot…which wasn’t going to be big enough. Then I remembered running across the idea of cooler corn. Apparently a well known trick used by campers and outdoorsy folk…and after a sweep of the Internet (where every cooler corn recipe was virtually the same) down to the basement hubs went to grab a cooler.

THE BEST CORN EVER!

Now, granted, the quality of the corn itself has a lot to do with how good this will turn out, but this summer corn has been particularly good.

1. In a clean cooler place shucked ears (I did 10)

2. In aforementioned pot (or several if you don’t have a big pot) bring water to a boil [note: if I was concerned about the sweetness of the corn I may added a little sugar to the boiling water]

3. Pour boiling water into cooler to cover all the corn, close the lid, and walk away for 30 mins. Finish getting the rest of the meal together, grill your food, or have a beer (or all 3 of those things)

4. After 30 mins use a pair of tongs and serve up the most tender corn you’ve ever eaten…you can’t over cook it and you can just leave it right in the cooler…it’ll stay hot and perfectly cooked.

This is a great way to do corn for a crowd, but the next time I’m cooking just a few ears I may just get the little cooler out!

[Cook often and eat well!]

 

|PICKLE ME THIS| 09/11/2011

Filed under: DILL,Picnic,Savory,Sides — |FreshHerbs| @ 4:23 pm

If ever there was a day to have apple pie for breakfast, this is it…and I did. America The Beautiful, these United States, remembers this day 10 years ago, and every year, as we all still grieve for those lost and those affected on 9/11/01. Ten years later I understand what loss is more than I did then. A thing more deeply felt and a thing which must be experienced to be learned and understood.

Dill, garlic, vinegar, peppercorns, allspice berries...and cukes of course!

And so it was a few days ago that I felt the need to comfort myself with some good home cooking. And staring at a bowl full of apples that were just about to turn, and massive cukes from Lisa and Ken that were too large to be eaten quickly, I turned to pickles and pie! Now, I’m not going to spend too much time on the pie here (I tried the French version this time instead of my typical two crust) though it was delicious. I’ve made many a pie and many a pie I will make again. Pickles, however, where new. A whim. A why not? And I must say, I will be making them again. {Why do I buy pickles in the store when I can make delicious fresh ones at home so easily?}. Honestly, they were so easy and took no more than 10 minutes. I found the original recipe here and adapted it to suit my own taste, the size of my jars, and the ingredients I had on hand. I even had enough cuke to make a little jar for Lisa and Ken, the source of such fine vege.

Easy Dill Pickles
all seasoning can be adjusted to taste and preference 

2 large jars (I used one large Ball canning jar and a smaller old spaghetti sauce jar)
2 large garden cukes
1 1/4 cup water
1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 Tb Kosher salt
2 tsp dried dill (generous, to taste)
2 cloves garlic (whole, peeled)
1/2 tsp peppercorns
1/2 tsp allspice berries

In a small saucepan, boil water, vinegar and salt. While liquid is coming up to temperature, wash and slice the cukes (don’t peel them!). Add all of the spices to the bottom of the jars and pack the jars with slices cukes. Pour the vinegar mixture over the cukes up to about 1/4 inch from top of jar. If you find that you don’t have quite enough liquid, bring some additional water to a boil and top off. Screw on the lids and let them cool off a bit before stashing them in the fridge. Allow to sit in fridge for at least 24 hours, but the longer they sit the better they get. As the cukes pickle, they’ll lose their bright green color and shrink a bit which will make some room in the jar. I like to shake the jars around a few times to make sure the dill is evenly distributed.

These are a salty, spicy, vinegary masterpiece! In fact, my 9 year old friend Meghan (Lisa and Ken grow more than cukes) rated these 95 out of 100. I’ll take it!

My first attempt at dill pickles!

 

|C’MON IRENE!| 08/27/2011

Filed under: CILANTRO,PARSLEY,Picnic,ROSEMARY,SAGE,Savory,Soups,THYME — |FreshHerbs| @ 3:26 pm

Well, so far it’s a beautiful sunny day here…hard to believe that we’ve spent the majority of the afternoon preparing for Hurricane Irene. Hubs has pulled all of our deck furniture into the basement where we’ve piled it high with the things that we don’t want to get wet should the sump pump fail. {banish the thought} While he was busy preparing outside, I felt the need to contribute to the prep in the kitchen…

Just because you may not be able to use the oven (micro, toaster, or otherwise) doesn’t mean that the impending possibility of lost power means that you have to eat PB&J (though I’m not knocking a good PB&J). The trick is to make use of the power while you do have it! So while the chicken breasts were baking and the french baguette dough was in the bread machine, I tackled the mound of fresh tomatoes and cucumbers (thanks Lisa & Ken!) and other assorted vege and turned it into the perfect storm food- gazpacho! Think about it. You eat it cold, or even room temp, so if the power goes out there’s nothing to heat up. Serve it with some bread or crackers and you have the most delicious, and nutritious, easy meal. So here’s my version of a great summertime dish…

garden fresh tomatoes

Fresh from the garden tomatoes!

Hurricane Gazpacho

3 large fresh tomatoes, rough dice
1 roasted red pepper (I used jarred.)
1/2 large red onion, rough dice
1.5 Tb herbed vinegar (see below)
1 Tb evoo
2 fresh garlic cloves, minced
1 lime, juiced
1 small jalepeno
1 large garden cucumber
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried cilantro (all I had!)
4 turns of my pepper mill

I put all of this together in one batch in my blender and found that blending it in stages helped me to fit it all in so the recipe is broken into parts. It honestly doesn’t matter which sections you blend together, as long as you start with the tomato base. I started with the tomatoes through the evoo and blended. Then I added the garlic, lime, jalepeno and cuke. Last I just stirred in the seasoning and put it in my fridge to chill for at least one hour (though my plan is to have it when the storm rolls in tomorrow so I’m not going to dig in for at least 24 hours).

Now for some notes…I used dried cilantro instead of fresh because I’ve used up all of my fresh. While I love the bright flavor of |fresh herbs| I always have a pantry stocked with a ready supply of dried herbs. For a soup like this, I’d probably opt for fresh if I had it, but dried always works in a pinch.

Mom's herbed vinegar with parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme!

As for the vinegar I used, as I’ve posted before my mother is an herb enthusiast and she gave me this beautiful bottle of “Simon and Garfunkle” vinegar with |fresh herbs| floating in it…yup, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. I’ve honestly been at a loss for how to use it (other than salad dressing of course) so added it to this recipe as I was creating it and it really does add some flavor. If you didn’t have an herbed vinegar on hand I’d opt for red wine vinegar.

The end result, dear readers, is a super easy, super nutritious, and super delicious summer recipe that works for storms, picnics, lunch at your desk, or a day at the beach. Gazpacho is a traditional Spanish dish which typically includes raw vegetables and bread. As you can see, I’ve omitted the bread in the recipe in favor of serving the soup with bread. It’s packed with vitamins and has an acidic bite that’s very refreshing in the summer. It’s also a great way to use up the pile of cukes and toms that your garden is spewing forth right about now. So while you still have electricity, plug in that blender! Cook often and eat well!

Hurricane Gazpacho!

 

 

|EASY CHICKPEA SALAD| 08/21/2011

Filed under: OREGANO,PARSLEY,Picnic,Savory,Sides — |FreshHerbs| @ 6:20 pm

I know, I know…it’s been way too long since my last post. I’ll simply say that this August has been rough and my focus has been elsewhere. I’ve not spent much time cooking, let alone eating, fresh and healthy meals. It has been a reminder that when you don’t feel well you tend not to eat well, and vice versa. I’ve also suddenly realized that it’s the middle of August and summer is winding down… but I have a week off coming up and I’m ready to nest and enjoy myself after weeks of running around and running myself into the ground.

With summer nearing its end, I’m obsessed with trying to grill outside as much as I can (until the propane tank runs dry anyway). No, this isn’t going to be a grill centric recipe, but rather a side dish that is a great compliment to a grilled piece of meat or burgers. I first found the recipe here when I was surfing TasteSpotting one day. I had all of the ingredients and was looking for something to do with my parsley that was abundant in my herb garden. I tweaked the recipe slightly to include fresh oregano and chickpeas instead of beans.

::Easy Chickpea Salad::

Mix the following in a bowl and enjoy. It is a bit tastier if you let it sit for a spell so that the flavors combine. It’s a great dish for a picnic because you don’t need to worry about refrigeration.

1 can of chickpeas (or white beans)
1 Tb evoo
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
small bunch fresh parsley
small bunch of fresh oregano (or 1/4 tsp dried)
1/2 tsp crushed garlic
s & p to taste

Cook often and eat well!