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Ninety-nine percent of these recipes were shared by customers who frequent local farm stands and markets seeking fresh, healthy foods. Some of those people were local residents, some were tourists passing through, and some were summer residents from a large radius around the area. They represented a variety of ...
Ninety-nine percent of these recipes were shared by customers who frequent local farm stands and markets seeking fresh, healthy foods. Some of those people were local residents, some were tourists passing through, and some were summer residents from a large radius around the area. They represented a variety of religious and ethnic backgrounds, which provided a nice variety of recipes.
The Little Veggie Cookbook is sprinkled with tidbits of information and a smattering of useful growing tips. It includes an herb chart to take the guesswork out of which foods each one compliments. It also contains easy directions to create personalized vinegars and oils for home use or for gift giving.
The Little Veggie Cookbook is great for the budding chef in your house and a good addition for collectors of cookbooks. Browse through it and see it would make a nice gift for a new bride, a house warming or your sister, not to mention yourself.
I'm going to start this cookbook with herbs because they are a very special food group. They compliment or enhance the flavor of food as well as contribute medicinal value. The thought that I'm doing myself a favor when I use herbs appeals to me, and the meals feel more satisfying. As soon as I decide what I want for dinner, the next thought is; what do I have for herbs and which ones can I use in this dish? For the answer I turn to a list of common herbs and their uses, which I keep in a convenient place. I found it to be a simple and quick guide that encouraged me to grow herbs so I could have a fresh supply of them. I'm including the list here hoping you will find it helpful as well.
BASIL, SWEET: Use in tomato dishes, spaghetti, stews, salads, sauces, pesto, and to flavor vinegars. Basil tea is thought to have calming properties.
CATNIP: Use young shoots in salads. It has medicinal uses and your cat will enjoy it also. The fact that it attracts bees to your garden is an added bonus.
CELERY: Use the leaves and stalk in soups, stews and salads or as a garnish. There is some interest in celery as an aid in lowering blood pressure.
CHERVIL: Use leaves in French cuisine, egg dishes, fish and sauces. The best crops are in the spring and in the fall.
CHIVES: Use chopped leaves in stews, soft cheeses, salads, omelets, potatoes and tomato soup.
CORIANDER: Also known as "Chinese parsley" or "cilantro". Use the leaves in soups and salads, also in Mexican, Indian and Oriental dishes. Grind the seeds in breads, gingerbread, cookies, pickling spices, apple sauce, puddings, Danish pastry, curry, beets and soups.
DILL: Use leaves with fish, potatoes and soups. Use the flower heads in pickles and vinegars. Use the seeds in breads, spiced beets and bean soups.
GARLIC: Use raw or cooked with all vegetables and in soups. Use to flavor oils and vinegars. It is believed to have medicinal value.
GARLIC CHIVES: Use in place of ordinary chives when a subtle garlic flavor is wanted. In your garden it serves as a deterrent to some pests.
FENNEL: Use leaf and seeds in soups and salads, with fish, breads, cookies and cakes; good in vinegar for salads.
LEMON BALM: Leaves used for teas, sauces, salads and for flavoring summer drinks. Heavy yields of nectar for bees.
MARJORAM, SWEET: Use leaves in soups, salads, dressings, in tomato dishes and to flavor vinegars.
MINTS: Use in iced drinks, tea, jellies, fruit salads, and apple juice. Flowers are edible except for pennyroyal. Spearmint used in vinegar-mint sauce for Greek cooking, in fish sauces, fruit cups and coleslaw.
OREGANO: An essential culinary herb used in chili, tomatoes and spaghetti. It also attracts bees to your garden.
PARSLEY: Parsley is compatible with most all foods as a flavor additive. Curly parsley is used mostly as a garnish. It acts as a breath deodorizer, antiflatulant and calmative. So eat the garnish!
ROSEMARY: Lay a sprig of this aromatic herb under fish during cooking. Rosemary tea is antiseptic, diuretic, good for digestive problems and a breath freshener. Steep rosemary in olive oil and massage into aching muscles.
SAGE: Use leaf in stuffing and soft cheeses. Tea from the leaves is good for colds.
SUMMER SAVORY: Use the leaves in salad, eggs, stuffing and string beans. Traditional with fava beans.
TARRAGON, FRENCH: Cut sprigs early in the season to make flavored vinegar. Pick leaves throughout the growing season for use with fish, in stuffed tomatoes, rice dishes, salad dressings and bernaise sauce.
THYME: Use leaves for fish, soups and scalloped onions, and to flavor vinegar. Tea from the leaves makes a mouth wash for sore throats and infected gums.
When I first started using herbs, I was disappointed with the results, so I began asking others of their experiences and for advise. I began to see there were some "do's and don'ts" that need be applied to get the most out of herbs. So I bought a book and took a class and in the end I had compiled a short list of guidelines that helped me obtain better results. I'm going to add those bits of information so all of you may have successful results with the first and every dish.
Although some herbs and foods naturally go together, basically it is all about taste, and experimenting is part of the fun of using them.
Herbs work very well together so you can mix and match your favorite flavors.
Herbs lose their flavor and aroma as they age. They keep about one year if sealed in glass jars.
Herbs lose their flavor and aroma if overheated. Add to the dish during the last half hour of cooking.
When growing your own herbs harvest before bloom time for best flavor. Keep the bloom buds picked off to extend your harvest time.
Plants are most vital early in the morning when they are moist with dew.
Herbs can be frozen for future use in soups and other cooking. When freezing basil, coat it with olive oil to retain the color.
Herbs are sold in bulk at most health food stores, allowing one to purchase just the right quantity.
When using fresh herbs use four times as much as dried.
Tie small bunches of herbs in cloth bags to drop in soups and sauces the last half hour of cooking.
When using fresh herbs chop them very fine.
Basil can be quick dried in an oven, heated to 150 degrees. Place the herb in the hot oven, turn oven off and leave until cool.
Herbs can also be used in cakes, cookies and breads.
NOW FOR SOME RECIPES!
Use one teaspoon of an herb blend for each dish that serves four.
The following blend of dried herbs is for use with fish and fish chowders. Mix together thoroughly: 1/2 tsp. basil, 1/2 tsp. oregano, 1 tsp. dill weed, 1 tsp. thyme, 1 tsp. savory.
Use this blend for vegetables.
Mix together thoroughly: 1 tsp. parsley, 1 tsp. chervil, 1 tsp. marjoram, 1 tsp. savory.
Thoroughly mix together: 2 tsp. dried parsley, 1 tsp. dried savory, 1 tsp. dried thyme, 1/8 tsp. pepper. Stir into about 6 tbsp. of butter or margarine.
The uses for this tasty spread are endless. I see you already have ideas popping into your head. The next time you make dinner rolls from scratch for that special holiday meal, (we all do once in a while......right?), knead some of this spread into the dough and prepare to receive the compliments. Use it on any sliced bread or biscuits, and it is delicious on vegetables. I could go on and on but, you get the picture.
For those who lack the time for, or the interest in, making bread from scratch, take a look at the following recipe. It's quick and easy and everyone will think it's made from scratch if you take the packaging and put it in the neighbors trash.
Thaw 1 package of frozen white rolls dough.
In a small bowl or custard cup, melt 1/4 cup butter or margarine and add 1 finely minced garlic clove.
In another bowl mix together: 1/2 tsp. dried parsley, 1/4 tsp. dried thyme, 1/4 tsp. dried basil, 1/4 tsp. dried rosemary, 1/2 tsp. dried dill and 1 cup parmesan cheese.
Dip each piece of dough in the garlic-butter mix, then in the herb-cheese mix and place in a greased loaf pan.
Cover and rise about 1 hour or until double in size. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.
HERB CREAM CHEESE DIP
Finely chop 1 clove garlic in a food processor then add to it: 2 packages of softened cream cheese, 1 tsp. dried oregano, 1/4 tsp. dried basil, 1/4 tsp dried dill weed, 1/4 tsp. dried marjoram, 1/4 tsp. dried thyme, and 1-1/4 tsp. black pepper. Process thoroughly, scraping sides of bowl a couple times.
It is convenient to have this on hand, so make it up ahead, divide into small containers and freeze the extras for future use. This will keep well for a week in the refrigerator or three months in the freezer.
HERB RICE BLEND
In a quart saucepan with 2 cups of cold water, add 1 cup uncooked rice (not minute rice), and 2 vegetable bouillon cubes. Heat until cubes are dissolved. Add 1/2 tsp. rosemary, marjoram, thyme and 1 tsp. finely minced onion. Bring to boil, then turn heat to med/low and stir once with fork. Cover and simmer 12 to 14 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Serves 4 to 6.
ROSEMARY SUGAR COOKIES
It is so neat to have a Rosemary plant in the house during the winter months, which is when I cook most often. I just snip a sprig off to put with fish, or make a cup of tea with, or.... oh look, here it is in sugar cookies!
1/2 cup margarine or butter 1 cup sugar 1-1/2 cups flour 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder zest of 1 lemon 1 egg, beaten 1 tsp. vanilla dash of salt 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
Mix together until fluffy the margarine, sugar, egg and vanilla. Add the flour, salt, baking powder, rosemary and zest of the lemon. Stir thoroughly. Place on waxed paper or foil sheet and roll into a log. Refrigerate 4 to12 hours or freeze 1 hour.
Slice thin and bake on ungreased pan at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.
Probably the most popular use for herbs, basil in particular, is pesto. It is easy and very versatile. It freezes well allowing it to be made in large batches when you have time. Like the herb cream cheese dip, divide into usable amounts before freezing. Pesto is always better if you use fresh grated cheese and a light olive oil. It can be added to most any sauce or stir fry, put on pizza, kneaded into bread dough, added to dips or used as a dip alone. Great on crackers or hot bread.
CLASSIC BASIL PESTO
Toss all the following ingredients into your food processor and turn it on. The sides of the bowl need to be scraped down a couple times and when it is the consistency of a soft spread, it's done. Let it stand a few minutes so the flavors blend. Adjust the oil, if need be, to achieve the desired consistency.
2 cups fresh basil leaves, 2 garlic cloves, 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, 2 tbsp. grated romano cheese, 1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts, 1/2 cup olive oil, dash of salt and pepper.
1/3 cup fresh rosemary leaves, 1-1/2 cups fresh parsley leaves, 2 large garlic cloves, 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup walnuts, 1/2 cup olive oil, dash of salt and pepper.
2 cups fresh sage leaves, 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, 1 large garlic clove, 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup pine nuts or walnuts, 1/2 cup olive oil, dash of salt and pepper.
1-1/4 cups diced asparagus, 2 or 3 garlic cloves, 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup walnuts or pine nuts, 1/2 cup olive oil, dash of salt and pepper.
Try a blend of your favorite herbs to personalize the recipe. In the herb class I took, the instructor asked each of us to call out an herb, which she in turn put into the food processor. It was quite a conglomeration. Surprisingly, it was very good.
Here is a recipe that makes a quick lunch for one or it can be cut into pieces to use as an appetizer or hors d'oeuvre. I eat a lot of these during the summer when I have fresh vegetables.
Spread a thin layer of any pesto on your favorite tortilla. Put a light layer of finely chopped fresh vegetables. I add tomatoes, onions, green peppers and celery, along with some minced garlic and sprinkle grated cheese on top. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 to 15 minutes.
This can also be made with tomato or pizza sauce if you prefer.
Another use for herbs is to add flavor to the oils we use in cooking and salads. Crushed garlic releases more flavor for this use. Add to canola or olive oil your choice of herbs to create the flavor you want. You can also use hot peppers, spices, and zest of limes, oranges and grapefruits.
Warming the oil with the herbs in it releases the flavors more quickly, or it can be allowed to set for use later.
Home made flavored oils need to be refrigerated and used within two weeks. Making small amounts avoids waste.
1 sprig each, fresh rosemary, oregano, and marjoram. 1 small sprig fresh thyme, 1 garlic clove, 1 bay leaf, and 3 black peppercorns to 1 cup oil.
I like to keep this one on hand for a stir fry, which I make often. Add a little vinegar to this for a nice salad dressing.
HOT CHILI OIL
2 fresh jalapeno peppers including seeds, sliced lengthwise and the zest of 1 lime added to 1/2 cup of oil.
Add 2 cinnamon sticks and 4 whole cloves to 1/2 cup of oil. Heat thoroughly, then cool.
Flavored vinegars have become very popular. We see them on shelves every where. They are very tempting, and attractive with vegetables, herbs and fruit floating inside. Why not make your own? It is really an easy process. And again we look mainly to herbs for the flavoring. (Their uses really are endless!) Here are a few important tips to get you started.
Vinegars need to set for a week or two for best flavor.
Place herbs in sterilized glass jars and pour very hot (not boiling) vinegar over them.
The acid in vinegar reacts to metal, so covers need to be plastic, or cover top of jar with plastic before using a metal cover.
After the setting period strain herbs, etc. out. Fresh herbs, etc. may then be added for appearance.
Keep flavored vinegars sealed tightly.
Use 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves and 2 peeled garlic cloves to a pint of white vinegar or wine vinegar.
This is recommended for rice, pasta, and antipasto salads.
Cut a few small slits in 2 jalapeno peppers and place in a pint of vinegar with 2 garlic cloves.
This is recommended for use in dressings for tacos, tomato and onion or avocado salads, and in salsa.
Use 3 sprigs of fresh basil and 5 thin strips of lemon peel to 2 cups of white vinegar. Recommended for fish.
Use 3 garlic cloves and 4 to 6 whole peppercorns to 2 cups of white vinegar. Very good in Italian dishes.
Use 3 sprigs fresh tarragon to 2 cups of white vinegar. Recommended for vegetable salads.
Use 1 cup fresh raspberries in 1-1/2 cups of white vinegar. Recommended for use on fruit salads.
LEMON-THYME OR DILL VINEGAR
Use thin strips of peel from one lemon and 5 sprigs of dill or thyme to 1 pint of white vinegar.
Add the thyme vinegar to dressing for salads and to marinade vegetables. Use the dill vinegar in marinades for fish and dressings for seafood or tossed salad.
Use thin strips of peel from 1 small orange and 1/2 cup of lightly bruised fresh mint leaves in 1 pint of white or cider vinegar.
Recommended for tabouli and tossed green salad.
I think I've become inspired!! I'm getting a vision.... of finding a nice bottle and filling it with colorful, tasty home made vinegar for a special someone. I see them asking me to dinner where they whip up something scrumptious and serve it on an exquisitely dressed table with fine china. As we dine we sip wine and listen to classical music playing in the background. Are you with me here??!!
Asparagus is a very special vegetable and one of my favorites. Just before it's harvest time in the spring, market shoppers would go to every stand asking, "Do you have asparagus yet. Will you have some next week?". It is a very long lived member of the Lily family. A bed properly planted and kept weed free will produce for many years. Asparagus beds have been known to produce for fifty to seventy years depending on their environment and care. I enjoy it fresh cut; simmered in a little water until tender, then add salt and butter. Here are some other ways to enjoy it.
BAKED ASPARAGUS WITH CHEESE
Lay asparagus spears in a shallow baking pan.
Sprinkle with salt and bake at 375 degrees 25 to 30 minutes or until tender.
Drizzle with 1/4 cup of melted butter.
Sprinkle with 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese.
Bake 5-8 more minutes.
Excerpted from The Little Veggie Cookbook by Kathryn Wagg-Bernier Copyright © 2005 by Kathryn S. Bernier. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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