Saturday, August 7, 2010

Herb Garden Recipes

In my last post I revealed how you can make an excellent raised garden for herbs or tomatoes in about an hour using used tires.  I suggested planting dill, rosemary, basil, and mint, as these are very easily grown, can be purchased as seeds or in sets for transplanting, and taste great in the dishes below.  Years ago I made an herb garden and grew some wonderful herbs.  I had no idea what to do with them!  The garden was pretty cool, though, got lots of rave reviews from my gardening type friends.  It was also a great conversation piece until the question came up about what I did with the herbs...  So that you won't have to be like me and not know what to do with what you have grown, I offer these recipes...

Something magic happens when tomato and basil meet, so let's do that on a cracker.
You will need:
  • your favorite cracker
  • any kind of tomato
  • fresh mozarella cheese
  • olive oil
  • Optional:  red onion
Place a thin slice of mozarella on the cracker.  Put a single leaf of basil on the cheese and a small slice of tomato on top of that.  Drizzle with olive oil.  A small slice of red onion adds color and taste, but the fresh ingredients in this quick hors d'oeuvre offer an amazing blast of flavor.  The tire garden is also great for growing tomatoes and fresh, home grown tomatoes in this recipe make a world of difference. 

Save a bunch of money and make your own pasta sauce.  Take a can of tomato sauce, a can of diced tomatoes, and a few sprigs of basil.  Simply mix the three!  Sure, you can add oregano, garlic, onion and whatever else you like.  Make extra, freeze it, and use it within a month.  Trader Joe's sells a marinara sauce in large cans and products of this type are perfect for jazzing up with your fresh herbs.

Try an omelet with dill and your favorite cheese.  Mix it with lemon zest into home made pasta.  Substitute dill for rosemary in the following recipe.

Grilled rosemary-citrus chicken:
You will need-
  • 1 whole chicken
  • olive oil
  • handful (3 - 4 sprigs?) of rosemary
  • lemon or grapefruit
Rub the rinsed chicken with olive oil followed by rosemary.  Stuff the rosemary in the chicken cavity.  Then rub the chicken with either lemon or grapefruit.  Stuff the lemon in the cavity and if you use grapefruit, place 1/4 of the remaining grapefruit in the chicken. 

Grill the chicken with indirect heat until done.

For a refreshing summer drink, mix iced tea with lemonade.  The ratio of lemonade to iced tea can vary, and you might try starting with a 50:50 mix, but I prefer about 3 parts tea to 1 part lemonade.  Add 2-3 sprigs of mint after you crush them in your (clean!) hand or beat them gently with a meat tenderizer.  Drop the mint into the lemonade-tea mixture and place in the fridge until cold.  Serve with ice in a large glass, a slice of lemon and a small sprig of mint on the rim.

I invite readers to add recipes and herb suggestions in the comments!

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