Have you mastered the art (and many believe it really is
an "art") of great cooking with herbs? They are not as mysterious or
hard to work with as you might think. Herbs transform an otherwise ordinary dish into something special!
The aromatic leaves, stems, and fragrances of fresh kitchen herbs make them
a delight to use and to taste.
Herbs are vigorous garden plants; they can survive a drought, and they
love heat. Growing your own herb garden takes very little space and
very little time, but results in a large harvest of satisfaction
People who avoid overt food ingredients like sugar, honey, or even
an excess of salt will love the extra bursts of flavors that fresh
herbs can add to foods, so they are a big boon to the low-carb cook.
Some herbs have dominant flavors and can add a great deal of unique
taste on their own, or they can be used in combination with more
Conversely, the milder herbs can be enjoyed alone for their own
delicate flavors, or can be blended for more vibrant combinations!
The strong herbs are rosemary, cilantro, thyme, oregano, and sage; go
sparingly, as they contribute quite a bit of flavor to a dish.
Medium-flavored herbs are basil, dill, mint, and fennel; use them
Use delicate herbs like parsley and chives in abundance.
Dried herbs have their value in the kitchen as well, but vary noticeably
in flavor from their fresh form. So experiment with both to see which you
Because there are so many herbs and of course, so many combinations, feel
free to be an experimenter to discover your own and your familys' favorites.
One of the many bonuses you get when cooking with herbs is that you
decide which ones to use and how much!
Look for fresh herbs in the produce departments of most major grocery
stores or natural food stores. They can be purchased in bulk form or
in small packages. Keep the herbs in their original packaging until
ready to use. Store fresh herbs in the hydrator of your refrigerator,
and use as quickly as possible. Do not wash until ready to use!
Tightly sealed dried herbs will store well in your pantry for up to six
months. After six months, their color begins to change and they begin to
lose their color.
The flavor of fresh herbs is more subtle than that of dried herbs, so you'll
need to use approximately three times the quantity of fresh than you would
dried. Just before using, rinse herbs lightly, and pat dry gently.
Strip small leaves from tough stems. Snipping, chopping, or mincing fresh herbs
releases their flavor.
- For hot foods, sprinkle with herbs during the last few
minutes of cooking. The heat will release their flavor without destroying
their texture and bright color. Bay leaves are the exception,
they typically simmer at length in soups.
- For cold foods, add fresh herbs several hours before serving
so the flavor will have time to thoroughly permeate the dish.
Dried herbs have a stronger, more concentrated flavor than fresh herbs. A general
rule of thumb to follow is: use one third as many dried herbs as fresh herbs,
e.g. 1 tablespoon fresh basil = 1 teaspoon dried basil.
When using dried herbs, measure the amount you want, then crush them in the palm
of your hand to release the flavor. Add dried herbs early in the cooking process;
they need some cooking time in order to completely release their flavors.
There are so many herbs from which to choose that we could not
possibly list all here. Below are brief descriptions of the most commonly
used herbs; however, don't limit yourself to trying only the ones listed here.
Experiment and enjoy!
One of the easiest herbs to grow, basil has a heady fragrance and a
faint licorice flavor. Use it in salads, pesto, pizza, meat
and poultry dishes.
Use fresh or dried bay leaves in soups, stews, vegetables, and
bouquet garnish. Discard bay leaves before serving food.
A fragile herb, chervil is commonly known as French parsley. It has
a subtle anise flavor and is best fresh or cooked only briefly. Add chervil
to egg dishes, soups, and salads or use it as a substitute for parsley.
Chives are attractive, rugged herbs that are easy to grow. Snip the
leaves and they'll provide a mild onion or garlic flavor to soups, salads,
and vegetable dishes.
Also known as Chinese parsley, cilantro is grown for its spicy-flavored
foliage and for its seeds called coriander. Cilantro is the leaf; coriander is
the seed or powder; the two are not interchangeable in recipes. Slightly bruise
a cilantro leaf and it will give off an unmistakable pungent peppery fragrance.
Use the leaves in Southwestern, Mexican, and Asian dishes. Cumin and mint are
seasonings often paired with cilantro. Coriander seeds are used in Indian dishes,
as well as pickles and relishes.
Finely chop feathery fresh dill foliage for shrimp dishes, eggs, soups, and
sauces. Dill makes a good salt substitute. You can harvest and dry dill seeds and
use them in pickles, breads, and salad dressings.
The strongest scented lemon herb, lemon verbena has a healthy
lemony essence. Use it as you would lemon balm leaves.
Add this common herb to lamb, poultry, salads, sauces, teas, and punches.
Try cooking with flavorful types of mint like peppermint, orange mint, apple
mint, or chocolate mint.
These small green leaves produce strong flavor. Greek oregano is the most
popular oregano for cooking because of its strong flavor and aromatic leaves. Add
oregano to Italian dishes, meat, fish, eggs, fresh and cooked tomatoes, vegetables,
and marinades. (Learn all you need to know to grow your own oregano.)
Unlike other herbs, rosemary has a stronger flavor when fresh than when
dried. It's a hardy herb with a piney scent and flavor. To harvest rosemary, strip
leaves from the stem. Use the strong-flavored leaves sparingly. Rosemary adds a
wonderful accent to soups, meats, stews, breads, and vegetables.
This hardy herb is best known for use in holiday dressing. Sage is often
paired with sausage, too. And it's soft texture lends well to tucking under the
skin of poultry before roasting.
This tender herb plays a classic role in Bearnaise sauce. It also adds
flavor to soups, poultry, seafood, vegetables, and egg dishes. It's used often
to make herb butter or vinegar. Its leaves have a bittersweet, peppery scent
with a hint of anise.
Strip the tiny leaves from woody stems just before using. Use fresh
thyme in marinades for basting seafood, chicken, or pork. Add thyme to
mayonnaise for sandwiches or to meat stews, or vegetables.
Copyright © April 2004 Low Carb Luxury
LC Homestyles Microwavable Meals:|
has a true winner with their Microwave Ready Meals for Low
Carbers! They're crafted from a homemade recipe and use only the best ingredients!
And the shelf stable SimmerSEAL™ packaging needs no refrigeration. Pop them in your microwave, and a great low carb meal is ready in just minutes! Perfect for lunch, dinner, camping... anywhere!
Designer Whey SlimWhey Protein Bars:
I know that every time we get in a new bar, it seems I go on about how
"this is the best I have had!" That MAY be because manufacturers keep
improving their formulations! In this case, it is because Designer Whey
specializes in Whey Protein... and these are the FIRST WHEY PROTEIN BARS!
You get 9 grams of healthy Whey Protein per bar... and only 2 (to 3,
depending on flavor) impact carbs! They contain ZERO Trans Fats, and have
high levels of healthy calcium and folic acid as well! Click here to order.
Betafoods Chip's Chips Cheese Thins:
Betafoods says of their "Chip's Chips Cheese Thins": They "...are a
delicious, all natural True Low Carb – High Protein snack that can be
munched on all day, everyday! With ZERO grams of total carbs and 16
grams of protein, it's the perfect snack for low carb dieters,
vegetarians, athletes, and diabetics."
These crackers are thin, crunchy snacks that are like chips... but
amazingly TOTALLY ZERO CARB! Try all the flavors, you will be as pleased
as we were with their "Snack-ability!"
Click here to order!
"Where Low Carb and Low Prices Meet!"