Saturday, July 10, 2010

Abundance of Herbs...and a challenge.

I have a huge wad of flat leaf parsley growing in my garden. It started as a tiny little tuft and has somehow managed to look like Tina Turner in the 80's...minus the gold headband. I'm not sure if push came to shove what most people would do with such an abundance of herb-age. Given the remarkable quality flat leaf parsley imparts to my cooking, I have not let it grow "in vain for nothing." In fact, one of my favorite kitchen flavor mediums happens to be made of herbs and oil. I gathered up some of the fresh fair, just to show what can be done to help lengthen the life of those fresh herbs. I sometimes freezer herb puree in ice cube trays and then toss one of the cubes of joy into a soup or sauce when the soup is almost finished cooking. I've dehydrated them (which I think is a waste of perfect fresh herbs if you ask me). On any given occasion, I prefer to put them in a jar and cover them with olive oil. It not only infuses the oil with immense flavor, but also allows the herb flavors to marry in a most pleasing way.
This happens to be flat leaf Italian parsley, thyme, basil, oregano and rosemary from my garden. All chopped together. Add a nice teaspoon of fresh cracked pepper and a clove of fresh pressed garlic a pinch of salt...and what you have is a wonderful blessed thing.
You can seal it in the jar and freeze it, or keep it in the fridge up to one month. I don't know about you...but my herbs don't last a month on their own in the fridge. For me it makes simple sense. Then instead of adding butter to my mashed potatoes, I add a tablespoon or two of this.

Top a loaf of Tess' Oat Bread with a couple tablespoons of the herb oil just before baking and bask in the glow of a warm herb loaf. It's sheer culinary bliss. Simple yet effective in transforming a humble loaf into one of elegance and poise. Oh my gosh. I just sounded like a fashion magazine. Yikes. Quick, someone hand me my ratty garden gloves before I start looking too hip.
One tablespoon added to meatloaf filling will completely explode the flavor of the dish.

Then steamed in a huge zucchini, this meatloaf will get a nice little drizzle when it's plated for dinner.
Isn't that stunning?
Mashed potatoes again...
My final words...Ace loves to have herb oil to dip his crusty bread in at dinner. Just a sliced garden grown tomato with some herb oil drizzled over the top will send him into a frenzy. It's amazing to see what fresh herbs can do.'s my challenge to you. Try using fresh herbs in something this week. If you take a picture and I put it on my blog, I'll send you a free jar of my Chef Tess All purpose Seasoning and one of my Wise Woman of The East Spice Blend. I've got about 6 of each to give away. aren't you glad you read the whole post? I'll give you full credit for the picture and spices to boot. Not bad. I'll pick the winners on Saturday July 17th. I'd love to see your best herb project. It should be fun to see what everyone comes up with. My email address is Happy cooking.
There you go.


Mama Peck said...

I love this idea of an herb oil! I too have an abundance of herbs right now and am looking for ways to use them. Thanks for the yummy suggestions!

aswesow said...

I rose to your challenge! I posted the pictures and a confusing explanation on my blog post (Rising to the Challenge)
If you can tell me how, I will add a proper link to this post.
Anyhow, have a look and I think it will be clear...the Aswesow's need your spice!

Goob said...

well, if I had a garden, and I had some fresh herbs, especially some beautiful basil, I would be all over this! But alas, I have not entered the desert herb gardening arena. But I was pretty pleased with myself for correctly identifying a mysterious plant in my mom's neighbor's garden as a rather large looking mom insisted it was too minty to be oregano, but oregano it was! Yes, I am tooting my own horn, and I like the sound of it. lol