Herbal Gardening - The Culinary Herbs
Whatever your favorite style of cooking, you'll find a wide range of herbs that will add just that right touch. They can turn a bland dish into a chef's work of art.
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|Herbs have been used in cooking, as delicious and useful additives to foods for millennia. They may be spicy or salty or tangy or just plain savory, but whatever your favorite recipe there's an herb to suit it.
Who hasn't used a bit of parsley in a fish dish? This versatile herb is
good for chicken, lamb and cheese dishes. There's no need to limit it
to just a sprig on the side for appearance's sake, however. It makes for a nice
addition in soups and salads, as well.
Thyme, which comes from the leaves of a small woody-stemmed plant, is
one of the most common ingredients in recipes. It works perfectly in a
tuna casserole, in a sauce spread on top of beef or in a fine stew.
Grilled chicken, cheeses... just about everything benefits from a
Basil is quite possibly the most common addition to Italian dishes, and for
good reason - it adds just the right touch of flavor. Whether it's pasta, pizza, or even soup, this herb has a hundred uses. Sprinkle some basil on
when preparing that tomato paste recipe that's been handed down in your family, and you're on your way to a fine dish.
Want something a little more spicy?
If you like foods on the spicy side, you should try some aniseed. The oil of anise has a licorice-like flavor (which is
why it's used to make artificial licorice) that will make a nice twist
on a traditional dish. A related herb is Tarragon. The narrow leaves
have a spicy flavor that is a great complement for fish, or to spice up
Coriander seeds, from the plant that forms the base of cilantro, is
another favorite. With their pungent, citrusy flavor they are great on
pork or in a curry. The mild and sweet zing coriander provides makes for great chutney,
Dill is another herb that has a bit of a tang, making it the perfect
herb for pickling, or just on a salad. Often used in chutney, dill is also
a fine addition to olive oil.
All sorts of herbs that are members of the mint family are used in
cooking. Sage is one of the most common, and rosemary is another.
Peppermint, of course, makes for a wonderful addition to a variety of
dishes where it gives a zestful odor and taste. Mint complements veal
or potatoes equally well, and it's used in soups and even in making
Saffron is less common, but should be tried by anyone feeling
adventurous. Its honey-like flavor, but with a distinctive pungency,
provides a slightly different result from the usual ingredients. The
Turks use it in a traditional rice pudding, but it also makes for a
wonderful addition to chicken or fish dishes.
Whatever your style of cooking, you'll find a wide range of herbs that
will add just that right touch. They can turn a bland dish into a
chef's work of art.
Book of Culinary Herbs
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