Showing posts with label herbs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label herbs. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Guest Posting: It's time to learn about thyme!

Thyme Roasted Carrots


•2 tablespoons olive oil
•1 1/2 pounds carrots, cut diagonally into 1 1/2-inch lengths
•1 teaspoon salt
•1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
•4 sprigs fresh thyme
•2 tablespoons unsalted butter
•1 tablespoon honey

Cooking Directions

•Preheat the oven to 450°F.
•Place a medium ovenproof saut矇 pan over high heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the carrots, salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes on each side. Add the thyme sprigs and butter, and drizzle with the honey.
•Transfer the pan to the oven and roast for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the carrots are golden and crisp-tender.
•Serve immediately.

Recipe by Emeril Lagasse

Where Thyme Come From?

Thyme, the perennial herb, originates in Southern Europe and is classified in the same plant as mint. There are 350 species in the genus Thymus. The name comes from Latin ‘Thymus” or Greek “Thymos” meaning spirit or smoke. It is pronounce “Time”

How is Thyme Grown?

Thyme prefers a mild climate but can survive temperatures below freezing. It tolerates cold better in well-drained soil. You can plant Thyme from the seed anywhere in the United States two to three weeks before your average date of last frost. It likes sandy loam soil and full sun to partial shade.

Harvesting Thyme

Thyme can be picked as needed. When drying thyme, harvest when the plants begin to bloom. Cut off the tops of the branches with four to five inches of flowering stems. After letting the thyme dry out, crumble the thyme and put into tightly capped jars.

It can also be used while it is fresh and just picked off the plant.

Thyme In Cuisines

Thyme is used frequently in Mediterranean, Italian and Proven癟al French cuisines. It is most popular in French cuisine for its use in bouquet garni, which is blend of herbs, good for soups and stocks. In Bouquet Garni, thyme is combined and blended with rosemary, marjoram, parsley, oregano and bay leaf for a great combination of flavors.

Thyme pairs well with lamb, poultry and tomatoes, and is often used in soups, stews, stocks and sauces. Whole sprigs of fresh thyme may be used when roasting meats and poultry or vegetables. If whole sprigs are used, after cooking, the stems must be removed because they tough and woody.

Six sprigs is usually equivalent to a tablespoon.

Flavor Of Thyme

There many varieties of thyme, the two types that are mainly used in cooking are common thyme and lemon thyme. Both of these types of thyme have a sweet, mildly pungent flavor. It is considered a great culinary herb due to its strong flavor value.

Health Benefits Of Thyme

Historically, thyme has been used as a remedy for chest and respiratory problems, Its volatile oils also increase its antioxidant activity. The essential oil is made partially of Thymol, which is a strong antiseptic, that before the arrival of modern antibiotics, was used to medicate bandages and soothe cuts. It is also widely used for its deodorant qualities and even included in some toothpastes.
This guest posting was written by Ariana Kulinczenko. Ariana is a dietetics student at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

All about pesto - food of the gods

Pesto - food of the gods - what a great way to start the week!

Pesto is so delicious! Born in northern Italy, pesto is traditionally made with fresh basil, olive oil, pine nuts and parmesan. What was once done by hand using a mortar and pestal is now accomplished in moments using a food processor or blender. 

You may have noticed, though, that pine nuts can be pricy! Per pound, pine nuts can be up there with selling your kidney or your first born child. I think that pesto is just as delicious when made with toasted almonds, and a lot more affordable. So, grab a huge bunch of basil from your back yard garden, your herb pot or local farmers market and whip up some pesto to use now and freeze some for later.

Another money saving tip? Ok! If you don't have quite the volume of fresh basil you'd like, you can stretch this recipe using fresh spinach or arugula (aka rocket if you're on the other side of the pond).

To toast your nuts, simply place in a dry skillet over medium-low heat and stir around a bit until they smell good. You're not going to see too much change in color until it is too late and they're scorched. Let your nose tell you when they're done and don't walk away from the stove. 

This recipe is really accomplished by "touch and feel", so exact measurements aren't given. Some folks like pesto more cheesy than others, some like it to be thinned with more olive oil, others skip the garlic. Up to you!

Basil Pesto - a big batch

Toasted nuts (1/4 to 1/2 a cup per big batch)
Fresh basil, augmented with spinach, if needed (Fill up the food processor container)
Parmesan cheese (1/4 to 1/2 a cup per big batch
Salt and pepper, to taste
Olive oil (about a cup)

Toasted almonds
Food processor stuffed with fresh basil
Handful of Parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper
Drizzling in olive oil
Fresh basil from the garden: future pesto!

Drizzle a thin layer of olive oil on top of fresh pesto to prevent browning
Pesto served on toast with goat cheese, an egg and tomato

Where to use my pesto? The possibilities are truly endless, but here are a few ideas to get you started:
  • Tossed with hot or cold pasta, rice, barley, quinoa or gnocchi
  • tossed with hot or cold zucchini pasta
  • Stirred into scrambled eggs or tofu
  • Drizzled onto a fried egg
  • Thinned with balsamic vinegar to dress salads and roasted vegetables
  • Mashed into potatoes
  • Tossed with freshly popped popcorn
  • Schmeared onto a bagel with cream-cheese
  • As a substitute for mayo/mustard on your favorite sandwiches or subs
  • Drizzled onto hot soup or cold gazpacho
  • Take your grilled cheese up a notch
  • Mixed into tuna, egg or chicken salad
  • Spread on toast with goat cheese
  • Spread onto cream cheese for a quick party dip for crackers, pretzels or crisp breads
  • Marinate your chicken before grilling or baking
  • As a sauce base for your homemade pizza or drizzled on top after baking...or both
  • Tossed with blanched green beans, broccoli or cauliflower
  • On a spoon...

All about storage
In the fridge: pour a thin layer to cover your fresh pesto to prevent excessive browning
In the freezer: scoop pesto into small jars (leaving room for expansion) or spread into an ice-cube tray to freeze smaller portions

Nut allergies?
Try this with toasted soy "nuts" 
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