Monday, July 21, 2008

Use Fresh Herbs For Cooking

Throughout most of the year, I cook using store bought, dried herbs located in the outer reaches of the spice cabinet. These bottled, processed herbs only produce minimal results when trying to produce FLAVOR in my recipes. There, I shouted. I have a better idea, buy fresh herbs or grow my own.

Preparing dishes with fresh herbs makes a huge difference in flavor when creating meals. I occasionally like to buy these herbs at the supermarket, but they can sometimes be pretty darn expensive and the quality of the herbs may be poor. The last couple of years, I have planted the following herbs: Rosemary, Basil, Dill, and Oregano, and Thyme and have had pretty decent success with these plants. I skipped on cilantro this year as I had a tough time last year. (All my cilantro turned to flowers.....and I didn't get the broad leaves that cilantro is supposed to yield). I will try again another year.

The good thing about this herb collection is that I have access to these herbs from beginning of June through just about the end of September. Here’s a picture of my herb garden. The tomato and wax pepper plants are not in the picture, but are doing great.

My outdoor herb supply! Here are some of the items I have prepared with each:

Dill……..Koprova (Beef Roast in Dill Cream Sauce).
Rosemary………Greek Chicken, Red Roasted Potatoes.
Oregano………..Pasta Sauce
Thyme………….Grilled Chicken, Pork Loin

.........I have only begun. My tomato crop is about two weeks away.
I know......This is a czech recipe food blog, but some of these dishes are not czech. I have to take a little break here and there. Anyway I strongly recommend planting a pot full of herbs that can be accessed a few months out of the year. Now if only I can keep the the pumpkin vines from invading everything else............


Lydia Knox said...

I love growing herbs too, I wonder if it is possible to grow more Czech herbs, I know besides dill my mom used marjoram a lot. I don't live in a climate where I can grow a Bay Tree, but that is something else I would like to do.
Also I'm guessing paprika is a pepper? :)

Just musing here.

Brad said...

Paprika is derived from sweet dried tomato pepper. I have never made my own paprika. With respect to that spice, I will take a shortcut and buy the hungarian paprika in the spice aisle at the market. As for marjoram, I too have seen it used in family recipes (nadivka-stuffing) and in pickling.