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Wednesday 5 October 2016

Cooking with herbs the low carb way

Herbs are those wonderful fragrant plants whose leaves (and sometimes stalks) are used in cooking to add flavour to dishes. Different dishes/cuisines rely on different varieties of herb, depending on which plants grow native or are cultivated in that country: for example, basil is synonymous with Italian food, while coriander is widely used in Indian and South-east Asian dishes. The leaves of many herbs can be dried and used as a substitute for fresh herbs, but the flavours will not usually be as pronounced. The seeds of some herbs, such as coriander, can be dried, ground and used as spices. 

There are many herbs that I include with my menu plans and today have just picked out three ... basil, parsley and chives. If you have a garden it's lovely to grow your own, although they can also be grown in a pot on your window sill. Of course you may prefer to buy some at your local supermarket, store or Farmers Market, most now sell a wide range of pre-cut and potted herbs.

Basil ... is a versatile and widely used aromatic herb. Basil is an annual plant that is easy to grow from seed but is very sensitive to cold. The plant grows well in warm climates and is widely used throughout southern Europe, particularly the Mediterranean, and in many parts of Asia. There are numerous species of basil; some have scents reminiscent of pineapple, lemon, cinnamon or cloves; others have beautiful purple leaves. The variety called holy basil (tulsi) is an essential part of an authentic Thai curry. In Mediterranean regions, basil and tomato is a classic combination. Pesto, made from basil leaves and pine nuts, with parmesan or pecorino cheese and olive oil (traditionally pounded together in a mortar and pestle – the latter lends pesto its name) is another classic dish.

Fish Casserole with Mushrooms and French Mustard uses both basil and parsley. 
 Have a look, recipe suggestion here

Parsley ... no kitchen should be without a good supply of this multi-purpose herb. It can be used as a garnish and flavouring and as a vegetable. There are two main varieties: curly leaf and flat-leaf. Both can be used for the same purposes although flat-leaf parsley has a stronger flavour and tends to be favoured in Mediterranean cooking.

Chicken With Mushrooms, a tasty meal which uses parsley to enhance the flavour,
Have a look at the recipe here

Chives ... the smallest and most delicate member of the onion family, chives are a popular herb used in European cookery. They have long, thin green blades that are hollow inside. They have a mild, grassy flavour similar to baby spring onions or young leeks. There is also an Asian variety of chive called Chinese chives, garlic chives or kuchai.

Omelette with a goat’s cheese twist, one of my favourite omelettes.
Don't forget the handful of fresh chives, finely chopped, see recipe here

Have you a favourite herb (or two) that you use?
Fresh herbs are lovely ... but I do also keep some dried herbs in my kitchen cupboard ... just in case!

All the best Jan


Jo said...

I don't really use many herbs in cooking, though I'm getting better at adding them since I started growing a few. I'd say that I use chives most of all, mainly because I love the oniony flavour and they can perk so many simple things, from a cheese sandwich to scrambled eggs.

JFM said...

Not only do fresh herbs taste so good in our cooking, they are lovely to see growing in a "kitchen garden"...there scent is magical 🌿

Your postings are so beautiful, Jan. Please have a lovely day~

Anonymous said...

Fresh herbs, although I sometimes used dried, just make a meal extra tasty.
Like the recipes you've featured.

Jenny S

eileeninmd said...

Hello, I would love to grow fresh herbs for my meals. I do use the dried herbs all the time.
Great post, thanks for sharing. Happy Wednesday, enjoy your day!

Martha said...

There is nothing quite like fresh herbs! My mom used them all the time and I learned through her to really appreciate them.

Christine said...

These all look so delicious! My husband is diabetic and the disease runs all through my family.

Linda Kay said...

Rosemary is my often go-to herb for flavoring. I can't even walk by a plan without pulling a branch between my fingers for the aroma.

John M said...

I might grow some herbs indoors in pots for the winter.

Carla from The River said...

Parsley has become a new favorite of mine. We love putting fresh basil on our homemade pizza, it is our secret ingredient.

Bob Bushell said...

I love the herbs...............

Debbie said...

i have an herb garden in the house...i really like cooking with fresh herbs and it's nice to always have them on hand without having to run out!!!

DeniseinVA said...

Love cooking with herbs. My favorite at the moment is the Thai Sweet Basil.

Snowbird said...

You simply can't beat cooking with fresh herbs, I'm always amazed at how many ailments they can help with, from headaches, to high blood pressure,medicinally, they are amazing! I always grow them, they do best when completely neglected. I did enjoy this, as always, so

Kezzie said...

I LOVE herbs. Chives are SOOOOO good with eggs! I adore them! Also love marjoram and basil too and CORIANDER- I could eat that in handfulls!

David M. Gascoigne, said...

The creative use of herbs is what transforms routine, uninteresting dishes into powerhouses of cuisine. Our herb garden is the most cherished part of our garden. There is nothing quite as satisfying as deciding to make bruschetta as an appetizer and going out to garner fresh basil.
In addition we grow our own mint, parsley, cilantro, dill...and a couple of others I am sure I am forgetting.

Gail said...

It is wonderful to have fresh herbs handy for cooking. Nothing like fresh from the garden.

Glad you enjoyed the pictures.

The creek below this slanting tree is where we used to bathe as children. I hope I never get too old to walk up this tree.

Have a great week.