French green lentils, or Lentilles du Puy, are the preferred choice for this recipe, but it works with any type of lentil except red or yellow. Brining helps keep the lentils intact, but if you don’t have time, they’ll still taste good. The salad can be served warm or at room temperature.
1 cup lentils, picked over and rinsed
Salt and pepper
6 cups water
1 bay leaf
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
5 garlic cloves, lightly crushed and peeled
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pitted kalamata olives
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 large shallot, minced
1 ounce feta cheese, crumbled (1/4 cup)
- Place lentils and 1 teaspoon salt in bowl. Cover with 4 cups warm water (about 110 degrees) and soak for 1 hour. Drain well. (Drained lentils can be refrigerated for up to 2 days before cooking.)
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Place drained lentils, 2 cups water, broth, garlic, bay leaf, and ½ teaspoon salt in medium saucepan. Cover and bake until lentils are tender but remain intact, 40 to 60 minutes. Mean-while, whisk oil and vinegar together in large bowl.
- Drain lentils well; remove and discard garlic and bay leaf. Add drained lentils, olives, mint, and shallot to dressing and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to serving dish, sprinkle with feta, and serve.
Walnut Rosemary Brittle with Sea Salt
Fresh leaves and flowers can be tossed straight into candies, though they may become discolored; it is best to toss delicate herbs in at the last minute.
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
pinch cream of tartar
1 cup walnut halves
3/4 tablespoon dried rosemary
sea salt crystals
In a medium pot, combine sugar, water and cream of tartar. Stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Cover the pot and let boil approximately 5 minutes undisturbed. Remove the lid and examine color of the molten sugar. When the mixture turns amber (about 20 minutes with no stirring at a gentle boil), pour the brittle onto a silicone baking sheet or buttered cookie sheet. Quickly add the walnuts and rosemary, mix in, and spread the candy thin with a buttered spatula to achieve glass-like texture. Top with a sprinkle of sea salt crystals while candy is still warm. Allow to cool and break into pieces. Store in air tight container. Recipe adapted from The Herb Companion September 2012.
Za’atar-Spiced Beet Dip with Goat Cheese and Walnuts
Za’atar is either a single herb or a mixture of oregano, thyme, sumac and sesame seeds. This one is made with a Turkish native called Thymbra spicata, but you could also use Greek oregano, Mexican oregano, Syrian oregano, or the traditional mixture.
6 medium beets (1 1/2 lbs), trimmed 2 small garlic cloves, minced
1 small red chile, seeded and minced
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon Za’atar
1/4 cup roasted walnuts
2 tablespoons goat cheese, crumbled
2 scallions, thinly sliced
Warm bread, for serving
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the beets in a small roasting pan and add 1/4 cup of water. Cover with foil and bake for about 1 hour, until tender. Let cool slightly. Peel the beets, cut into wedges and transfer to a food processor. Add the garlic, chile and yogurt and pulse until blended. Add the olive oil, maple syrup and za’atar and puree. Season with salt. Scrape into a wide, shallow bowl. Scatter the nuts, goat cheese and scallions on top and serve with bread. Adapted from the cookbook ‘Jerusalem: A Cookbook’.
Winter Mixed Herb Pesto
1 cup fresh parsley leaves
3 tablespoons fresh sage leaves
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (we used lemon)
1 1/2 tablespoons oregano leaves
1-2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup walnuts
6 tablespoons olive oil
Add first 7 ingredients in a food processor or blender. Process to mix. With machine running, add olive oil and process to desired consistency.
Lemon Verbena Sugar Cookies
Nothing is more delicious than lemon verbena! It is considered the queen of aromatic herbs. No one knows this better than the cooks who lovingly add it to baked sweets, hot teas and iced drinks.
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
One 6 inch sprig fresh lemon verbena, about 16 leaves
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
sugar for garnish
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a mini-food processor, combine the sugars, lemon zest and lemon verbena. In a medium bowl, cream together butter with the lemon verbena-sugar mix. Let sit for 15 minutes. Add egg. Thoroughly blend flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt into butter mix. Shape dough into 6 to 12 large balls. Place 3 to 4 inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheets. Using a small, flat bottomed glass, flatten each ball to about ¼ inch thick, dipping glass in sugar each time. Bake about 18 to 20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Transfer cookies to racks to cool. Adapted from the book ‘Herbs – Growing and Using the Plants of Romance’.
Three Herb Sesame Pesto
An unusual mix that is terrific for summer pasta.
1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed (we used lemon)
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, packed (we used lime mint)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, packed
1/2 cup peanuts or pine nuts, toasted (we used pine nuts)
1 tablespoon minced ginger
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Combine all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and puree. Adapted from The Herb Quarterly, 2012 Summer.
Lavender brings out the sweetness of the blueberries and cranberries in this easy granola recipe.
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup honey
1 cup golden brown sugar, firmly packed
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon finely ground lavender
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 cups old fashioned style rolled oats
1 1/2 cups mixed nuts (almonds, cashew, macadamia nuts)
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup dried blueberries or raisins
1 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine the oil, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, lavender and salt in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts and coconut. Pour the warm oil and honey mixture into the oat mixture and stir until combined. Spread the mixture evenly on two 12 x 17 inch rimmed baking sheets. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring several times, until the granola is deep golden brown. Cool completely before adding the dried fruit. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks. Adapted from the book ‘Discover Cooking With Lavender’.
Tarragon Herb Dip
3/4 cup fat-free mayonnaise
3/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup minced chives
2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Assorted fresh vegetables
In a large bowl, combine the first nine ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Serve with fresh vegetables. Yield: 1-3/4 cup.
Gluten-Free Sage Cornbread
We call for yellow cornmeal here so that the shade can play off the green of the sage, but any type will work.
1 cup coarse or medium-grind yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup potato starch
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1–2 Tbs. chopped fresh sage
1 large egg
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/4 cup honey
1 Tbs. melted butter, optional
Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat loaf pan or 9-inch-square baking pan with cooking spray. Whisk together cornmeal, rice flour, potato starch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in bowl. Stir in sage. Beat egg in separate bowl. Whisk in buttermilk and honey. Stir wet mixture into dry mixture. Let stand 5 minutes. Spread batter in prepared pan, and bake 20 to 35 minutes, or until crisp and brown on top and sides. Brush with butter, if using. Cool 15 minutes before slicing.
Roasted Red Pepper and Oregano Spread
This is a great go to quick recipe for an impromptu party.
1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers
1/2 cup chopped stuffed green olives
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh Greek oregano
1 tsp. hot pepper sauce
Mix cream cheese and milk until well blended. Add remaining ingredients; mix well. Cover. Refrigerate several hours or until chilled. Serve with crackers or cut-up vegetables.
Corsican Basil Pesto
Why not try a different basil for pesto!
1/2 cup Corsican basil
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 to 2 cloves garlic
1 cup flat leaved parsley
olive oil to desired thickness (1/2 to 1 cup)
Mix the first five ingredients together in a food processor and pulse to mix thoroughly. With machine running, slowly add olive oil to desired thickness. Set aside in refrigerator for several hours before serving.
Fiona’s Traditional Elderflower Cordial
1.5 quarts (6 cups) of boiling water
2 lbs (4 cups) of white granulated sugar
20 large elderflower heads (if they are small, pick more)
¼ cup of citric acid (available in health food stores)
In a Pyrex bowl (or deep saucepan) pour the boiling water onto the sugar and stir. Leave to cool, stirring every now and then to dissolve the sugar. When cool add the citric acid, the lemons (zested and sliced) and the elderflower heads. Cover and leave to steep for 48 hours. Strain twice through sterilized muslin. Using a jug and funnel carefully pour into hot sterilized bottles. Can be stored for up 1 one month, or frozen up to 1 year. Mix with water or mineral water or champagne, 1 part cordial to 4 parts water.
Creamy Herb Dressing
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup buttermilk
¼ cup fresh parsley, minced
¼ cup fresh basil, minced
3 tbsp mixed herb white wine vinegar (we used thyme and chives)
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp fresh thyme, minced (we used English and lemon)
1 tbsp fresh chives
2 tbsp lemon balm
1 tbsp honey
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. For a more emulsified dressing, blend all ingredients except oil, then slowly drizzle in the oil with the blender running. Cover and chill for several hours before using to allow flavors to blend. Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator. Makes 2 cups. Adapted from The Herb Companion, Sept 2012.
Herb de Provence Orange Butter Cookies
These delicate, crisp, butter cookies are flavored with vanilla, orange, and Herb de Provence. The transparent Orange Glaze encases additional Herb de Provence and finely grated orange zest. They are almost too pretty to eat.
Note If you don’t plan to glaze the cookies, increase the powdered sugar to 1 1/2 cups.
2 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour (12 ounces)
1/2 cup cornstarch (3 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/2 cups fresh unsalted butter, at cool room temperature (3 sticks)
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons dried Herb de Provence (from our gift shop!)
finely grated zest of 1 large orange
1/2 teaspoon orange oil (or 1 teaspoon orange extract)
1-2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
finely grated zest of 1 large orange
1 tablespoon dried Herb de Provence (or more)
In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, cornstarch, and salt. Reserve. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and powdered sugar. Add the vanilla, Herb de Provence, orange zest and extract, and orange juice, and incorporate. Add the flour mixture and mix very briefly on very slow speed, just until a dough forms. Divide the dough in half and set each half over a long sheet of plastic wrap or waxed paper. Bring the long edges of the wrap lightly over the dough and squeeze and shape the dough until you get a uniform 12” long x 2 1/4” wide x 1” deep inch rectangle of dough. Repeat with the other half of the dough, which may not extend to 12-inches long. Seal the plastic wrap around each portion of the dough and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight. (The sealed dough can be refrigerated for 2-3 days if necessary.) Remove one of the dough bars from the refrigerator and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices. Arrange cookies slightly apart on cookie sheets that have been lightly coated with vegetable spray. Bake at 350° for 11-13 minutes, rotating pans at the halfway point to ensure even browning. Remove from the oven, loosen each cookie with a thin spatula and let cool for 3-4 minutes on the pan. Remove cookies from the cookie sheet and place on a wire rack and cool completely. Store airtight in layers, separated by wax paper rounds, in a cookie tin, in a cool, dry place. These cookies improve with age. They keep for 3-4 weeks. Cookies may also be frozen. Shortly before serving (up to a couple days), in a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar, orange juice, orange zest, and Herb de Provence.
Dip the top of each cookie in the glaze and place on a wire rack to let the glaze set. If the glaze is too thick, thin with orange juice, one drop at a time. If it is too thin, whisk in additional sifted powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Serve or again store airtight in layers, separated by wax paper rounds, in a cookie tin, in a cool, dry place.
Makes 6-7 dozen, 2 1/4” x 1” cookies.
Herb de Provence
This is a lovely herb blend, compatible with sweet, as well as savory, dishes.
NOTE If using in cookies or other applications in which the herbs will not have a chance to hydrate and soften, grind the rosemary coarsely using a mortar and pestle before combining with the other herbs.
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1 tablespoon dried summer savory
1 tablespoon dried lavender
In a small bowl, combine the herbs. Store airtight in a cool dry location. Makes 1/4 cup.
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