Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Using Herbs

No, not like that!! I have a fantastic potted herb garden growing just outside my kitchen door. It is flourishing. This means that I need to quickly learn how to use the herbs I am growing because they are taking over!! Can someone please tell me what to do with: hot and spicy basil basil lemon balm cilantro Those are the herbs going crazy right now. I love cilantro and use it a lot so I think I'm good there. I just need to go out and cut some of it and use it. But basil and lemon balm... well, I just don't know what to do with it! Pretty soon I'll be asking about rosemary and thyme, too. But right now, those are overshadowed by the basil, balm, and cilantro so I really need to do some herbalicious cooking to clear a path for the rosemary and thyme to grow more!! Also- is there anything I have to make sure I don't do with herbs? And not just the cooking with them aspect- I mean in terms of how I cut them. Is flowering bad or good? How far down the stalk do I cut? Anyone have a go-to website that helps with this? I've never had my own herb garden before!
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13 comments:

C. Beth said...

Here's a yummy, easy salsa recipe to use that cilantro in.

Find a good basil pesto recipe for the pesto. I haven't used hot and spicy basil.

Fun--yum!!

Nancy C said...

You know that basil and fresh tomatoes, with a bit of mozzarella and balsamic vinaigrette is the closest we'll get to heaven on this rock.

Eternal Lizdom said...

There is a new booth at our farmer's market this year where this guy is selling oils that are flavored and he has some really yummy ones... I bet I could do some great versions of caprese with his oils!

Flartus said...

I was gonna suggest pesto for the basil, too! If I see Miss Chef anytime soon, I'l try to ask her about cilantro & lemon balm. I'll use up herbs in salad, pasta, rice or soup (or even sprinkled on a sandwich). In general, when I have an ingredient I need to use up, I go to epicurious.com and do a search for recipes to get some ideas.

As for the horticultural side, flowering is generally bad. It'll make the plants leggy and sometimes change the flavor. When trimming basil, cut the longer stems down to the same level, rather than cutting whole stems out. I'd say you can cut that basil plant about halfway down if you want--cut just above a set of leaves.

I think that approach is good for any soft-stemmed herbs. If you're in a hurry, you can just pinch the flowers off with the topmost set of leaves, but they'll put out more flowers just about every day once it warms up.

Did you know that rosemary can be a perennial? Down here we can plant it in the ground, but I think you'd have to bring it in over the winter up there. Of course, we've never succeeded in getting an indoor rosemary through the winter!

bttrflybabydoll said...

I wish mine were going crazy, but they are not. Oh well.

Cilantro-http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Amys-Cilantro-Cream-Sauce/Detail.aspx

This is an amazing sauce! You could use the low fat cream cheese and sour cream in it to make it healthier. I've used it on grilled chicken and rice, and on fish tacos. Yum! Enjoy!

Garret of Jim and Garret said...

Uh, don't smoke it.

Angie said...

I really like the basil (torn by hand into large pieces) with penne, fresh mozzarella, tomato, oil, vinegar s&p (Pasta Caprese http://www.cooksrecipes.com/mless/penne-with-tomatoes-and%20fresh-mozzarella-recipe.html)

I also add it to marinara sauce or make a white pizza and put it on top.

Lemon balm - I have no idea LOL

Eternal Lizdom said...

I went out and trimmed the basils and the cilantro and the lemon balm back. I had some of the hot and spicy basil with pizza last night- it was really tasty!

Looks like I'll be making pesto soon. I've also found a lemon balm pesto recipe that would be awesome with fish!

Flartus said...

I disagree with Garrett. Just because he said you shouldn't. You should. :)

Garret of Jim and Garret said...

Lesbians are often wrong.

Eternal Lizdom said...

Girls, girls. You're both pretty!

Garret of Jim and Garret said...

LOL. Well OK.

~ Lori ~ said...

You can dry it for use later. I just did that today with a bunch of basil. Cut the stems and then hang them upside down in your kitchen. Once they're dry you break off the leaves and put them in your spice jar. I use 2 rubberbands to hang mine...one around the clump of stems and then one attached to that to hang it. I love basil! I have 2 big pots of it right now. I also use rosemary and cilantro. I never end up with enough cilantro to dry though. The rosemary winters here so I keep using it over and over...it's awesome to see it come back every spring.