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Herbs!
08-03-2011, 01:11 AM
Post: #1
Herbs!
I cook a lot with herbs since I grow my own (hey - that's not what I meant and you know it!). So I thought we need a thread on herbs and how to use them.

First off, a wonderful herb I've discovered; lemon thyme. It grows easily and is pretty hardy. It will die back in the winter but will come back in the spring. It has a wonderful lemon scent and can be used to make a soothing tea. But it's shining moment comes when paired with chicken or white fish. It is a perfect accompaniment. You can just lay sprigs on top and bake as usual. Or strip the tiny leaves off the stem and sprinkle them over the dish. Or - and this is the best - make lemon thyme butter.

Take a stick of butter and let it soften while you grind the leaves very fine (I have a Bullet mixer and it works wonderfully). Then just add about 1 tablespoon of the thyme to the butter (to taste). Use this on fish, chicken, turkey, veal... and mild protein. It's also tasty melted over veggies.

You can even make a jelly out of it! Wonderful for the middle of winter, it will remind you of summer with every bite. Here's a simple recipe (can be used for any herb jelly):

Gather about 2 cups of fresh herb leaves. Wash and drain them, then coarsely chop and macerate them then place in a medium saucepan. Use the bottom of a glass to crush and macerate the leaves. Add 2 cups of water, bring slowly to a boil, and boil for just 10 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat, cover and let sit for 15 minutes to release the herb leaves essential flavor.

Strain 1 1/2 cups of this liquid from the pan and pour through the strainer (I add cheesecloth to it to make sure) again into another large, deep saucepan. Add 2 tablespoons of plain (unseasoned) rice vinegar (if you can't find rice vinegar, use regular distilled vinegar), a pinch of salt and 3 1/2 cups of granulated sugar. Bring the mixture to a hard boil, stirring constantly. Once the boil reaches the rolling stage, add 3 ounces of liquid pectin. (I use Certo brand). Return this to a hard boil and cook for exactly one minute, then remove saucepan from the heat.

Skim off any foam and pour the hot jelly into 4 hot, sterilized 1/2 pint jelly jars. Leave 1/2 inch head space and seal at once with sterilized 2 piece canning lids or melted paraffin. The lemon thyme makes a lovely golden-green colored jelly.

Experiment with different herbs. Rosemary goes well with beef, mint with lamb of course, basil with veggies... try mixtures, too. Have fun!

... in a world where I feel so small I can't stop thinking big!
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08-03-2011, 11:24 AM
Post: #2
RE: Herbs!
Ooh! I've made the compound butter with lemon basil from my greenhouse. So good. I MUST try the jelly! I didn't know thyme came in "lemon flavor".

If I'd known you were French, I'd have worn galoshes...
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08-22-2011, 08:49 PM
Post: #3
RE: Herbs!
I love to pick them for their scent. A handful of mint, basil, thyme, rosemary and lavender, just picked, inhaled as one bunch.mmmmmm
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08-23-2011, 07:13 PM
Post: #4
RE: Herbs!
(08-22-2011 08:49 PM)VincentUlyssis Wrote:  I love to pick them for their scent. A handful of mint, basil, thyme, rosemary and lavender, just picked, inhaled as one bunch.mmmmmm

You'd love it in the sunroom - all of those releasing their perfume. Mmmmm... Smile

... in a world where I feel so small I can't stop thinking big!
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02-08-2012, 09:11 PM
Post: #5
RE: Herbs!
Today I found a bowl of lavender that I had brought to the office over the summer. It was dried of course. I crushed it up good and I got a great whiff of the stuff before placing it on my office piano. I hope when I open up tomorrow that it fills the room!

Question, just curious...

Has anyone ever smoked lavender and lived to tell about it?
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02-09-2012, 02:13 AM
Post: #6
RE: Herbs!
Not that I know of. I don't think the oils in lavender would be good to breathe in.

It does keep it's aroma for a very long time as long as it's stored well.

... in a world where I feel so small I can't stop thinking big!
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02-09-2012, 08:13 AM
Post: #7
RE: Herbs!
You can cook and bake with Lavender, but to smoke/burn it??? It could work in a fireplace for a nice aroma.

"... always throw spilt salt over your left shoulder, keep rosemary by your garden gate, plant lavender for luck, and fall in love whenever you can..." Practical Magic
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02-09-2012, 02:21 PM
Post: #8
RE: Herbs!
(02-08-2012 09:11 PM)VincentUlyssis Wrote:  Today I found a bowl of lavender that I had brought to the office over the summer. It was dried of course. I crushed it up good and I got a great whiff of the stuff before placing it on my office piano. I hope when I open up tomorrow that it fills the room!

Question, just curious...

Has anyone ever smoked lavender and lived to tell about it?

Office piano???

If I'd known you were French, I'd have worn galoshes...
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02-09-2012, 07:21 PM
Post: #9
RE: Herbs!
LOL, yes it's a mini-console donated by a resident. It's practically a toy but serves for informal auditions and looks nice in the space it has found. Sometimes I get to sit down and play a bit but usually there's no time. It matches my acoustic guitar that I once played for my Italian and Spanish classes when I used to teach, and once a year I pick that up too. Most of my playing is at home (where I plant my HERBS in season) or at church.
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03-19-2012, 07:27 AM
Post: #10
RE: Herbs!
If you like lavender, you might like trying herbs de provence. It's pretty versatile!
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