Welcome to Weekend Herb Blogging #75, founded by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen. This is the weekly recap of posts from around the world devoted to edible plants: herbs, vegetables and flowers.
The best part about being the host for the week is getting a sneak peak at all the wonderful recipes.
Without further ado:
From Joanna of Joanna's Food at Henley on Thames we have Braised Fennel. I've used fennel in soups and stews, even grilled it once but never thought of braising. This sounds like a wonderful idea and, apparently, was a hit at her house. The key to making it so tasty is some energetic browning for color followed by the addition of the braising liquid and other flavourings. There's one bite left….hmmm…
Cate of Sweetnicks is playing in the pantry with Cinnamon. Her entry is Cinnamon Pancetta Carbonara. I always put a bit of nutmeg into potatoes and cream sauces but not cinnamon. But, why not? Cate says the wee bit of cinnamon (1/4 tsp) adds an extra, subtle flavor to the traditional Carbonara and it's been elevated to 'OMG Status' at her house. I can always use more of those recipes…
From New York TBTAM of The Blog That Ate Manhattan showcases Jean-Georges' Chicken Lemongrass Soup. According to her this luscious soup warms clear through to the bones, perfect for these last days of recurring winter. The restaurant she discusses, Vong, while apparently not as trendy as some like, sounds like a delightful place that truly cares about food! I like food (can live without trendy)!
Nandita, of Saffron Trail, Bombay, India, is featuring okra in Quick and Easy Bhindi Masala – Spicy stir-fried okra. As a child, Nandita was told that eating okra would improve her maths; as an adult, however, she is eating it because she loves it. This Indian Okra recipe is simple enough for beginners, spicy enough to be interesting, and a beautiful addition to any table! It's perfect with Indian breads like Naan or Roti, or even simple rice. I love colorful food!
Culinary lavender is the herb of choice this week for London-based Ros of Living to Eat. She's made a fantastic-looking Duck Breast with Lavender and Honey. Rather than the usual fruit sauce or Asian-inspired marinade, this duck was rubbed with lavender and a bit of coriander seed. Quickly pan-fried then finished with a lovely honey and lavender sauce, it looks to be a perfect medium-rare. I'm adding lavender to my herb garden!
Glenna of A Fridge Full of Food, in Springfield, MO, is giving wonderful step-by-step pictures and instructions for this to-die-for Vegetable Crepe Torte. Replete with oregano, basil and parsley, stuffed full of colorful vegetables and made 'lighter' with the use of crepes in layering, this is a show-stopping entrée or main course that can make even the 'diet-conscious' among us happy. Can you say "Please, Glenna, may I have some more?"
From Sidney, we have a bit of Moroccan fare. Anna, of Morsels and Musings was also playing with Cinnamon. Her offering is khizzou – moroccan style carrots. As a child, I was told to eat my carrots. Apparently Mother knew best. According to Anna's research they are good for night-vision and as a preventive of age-related eye conditions. Carrots are loaded with vitamins, antioxidents and are readily available. She roasted these, then flavored them with honey, cinnamon, paprika… I made them last night… They were good!
Kalyn, of Kalyn's Kitchen in Salt Lake City, (and founder of Weekend Herb Blogging) brings us a another use for her beloved cilantro: Cilantro Salsa Dip. If you are a cilantro lover this recipe is for you! Lots of cilantro, a bit of onion and a hint of lemon, oil and vinegar, maybe a drop of hot sauce. Perfect for dipping that crusty bit of bread – or try Kalyn's homemade Toasted Pita Chips. Plus, she assures that it's 'South Beach Friendly'!
Coming to us from somewhere near Atlanta is Chris, of Mele Cotte. In preparation for an upcoming tour of the former Hapsburg stomping grounds she is cooking with paprika. How better to get ready for a holiday than learning about the food? This is another simple dish with complex flavors. Hungarian Onions, sautéed in butter and paprika until sweetly golden, serve as a bed for haddock, pan-fried with a corn meal and paprika crust. She says she forgot the sour cream. I say who needs it with this fabulous dish?
Thurigian Sausage gets its unique flavor from garlic, cumin and marjoram, according to Helene from News from the Kitchen in Landau, Germany. In her history of Thurigian Sausage she tells us that this sausage first appeared on a bill in a women's monastery in 1404. The oldest recipe on record dates from 1613 and is stored in the national archive in Weimar. Don't you love foods that 'stand the test of time'?
Burcu of Almost Turkish Recipes, in Bloomington, USA, is featuring the versatile Eggplant in Eggplant Vegetarian Stew. In Turkish cuisine this flexible vegetable can be baked, fried, grilled, roasted, stuffed, puréed, jammed, (whew!), and more! In this lovely stew she add lots of garlic and parsley along with the zucchini, tomatoes and onions to get a wonderful stew that absolutely screams 'summer garden'! If you're not familiar with cooking eggplant Burcu offers some helpful tips. I'm adding a few plants to my 'already too big' garden this year.
A Swiss expat living in sunny Andalucía, Spain, Zorra is cooking Swiss Chard. Her recipe for Swiss Chards Stalks with Garlic and Parsley is very simple, letting the taste of the Swiss Chard come through. She tells us that it tastes a bit like spinach (I think it is also known as Perpetual Spinach) and she found the recipe in her new Italian cookbook. Let's see, we have Switzerland, Spain, Italy….her blog, Kochtoph, is truly international!
In North Carolina, USA, Asha, of Aroma!, tried a new (for her) vegetable. Asparagus Delight is proof that looking with a 'new' eye can be enlightening. Asparagus is our favorite vegetable, and I have baked, roasted, steamed and grilled it but never stir-fried. Her method is so simple and quick plus it leaves the asparagus a gorgeous, crispy green. And I find out that it is "one of the most nutritionally well-balanced vegetables in existence." It's spring; it's asparagus season: life is good.
Astrid, of Paulchen's FoodBlog in lovely Vienna, Austria, is cooking with ramson. Also known as bear's garlic or wild garlic it has become very popular in Germany and there are even festivals in its honor! Her Gnocchi with ramson & blue veined cheese, with garlic, ginger, shallots and, of course, lots of ramson, sounds fantastic. Done quickly in one skillet, then topped off with some lovely, melting blue veined cheese – Viennese comfort food!
Lentils are one of my (many) favorite foods. The Lentils with mustard cream and vegetable croutons from Ulrike of Kuchenlatein in Kronshagen, Germany are going to be added to my collection. Lentils, with there high protein content, vitamins and fiber are a key part of the vegetarian diet. I love the way she sautéed the carrots and potatoes, lending a different flavor and texture to the dish. Plus it's so pretty! We all know that pretty food tastes better….right?
Where would we be without a sweet? Pookah, of What's Cooking in Carolina, from 'somewhere near the triangle, NC, USA has been making Biscotti. Her Anise Almond Biscotti (one of four types) look fantastic and are obviously waiting for a café crème! Anis seed has been "known as far back as 1500 B.C" and is used in flavoring drinks (Pastis, Ouzo) as well as foods. I love the flavor and paired with the sweetness of almonds these sound wonderful. I may have to do some baking….
From sweets we go to snacks. Lila of Bliss Defined, from Washington, DC, USA, has been making Pita Chips. (Don't you love these people who offer not one, but four variations?) Baked Pita Chips Four Ways lets you customize the flavor for the dip intended and takes less than 10 minutes, start to finish. You get to control the salt and the oil, make them hot or not – what's not to like?
Freya, who is Writing At The Kitchen Table in Essex, UK, is NOT cooking purple sprouting broccoli. She IS cooking Spring Greens and has made a lovely Caldo Verde. Spring Greens, like other Brassica are high in Vitamin C, Folic Acid and Fiber. This simple, three ingredient soup from Portugal nourishes the soul as well as the body – and maybe can counter all of the wonderful winter foods
we've I've been eating. Spring, green, light…yum!
And the award for the prettiest entry goes to …. Haalo, of Cook (Almost) Anything, from Melbourne, Australia. The herb in her gorgeous Beetroot Tzatziki is dill. Dill's healing properties have been known and used for hundreds of years and it "contains Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Selenium and Zinc as well as Vitamins A, BI, B2, B3, B6 and C.". The dill, citrus and yogurt, with the sweetness of the beetroot, sounds fantastic! Disclaimer: This is an unofficial award, from me and me only. (I like deep pink.) (I didn't tell Kalyn). (It IS pretty.)
I hope Michael Chiarello is reading this recap. Sher, of What Did You Eat, from Davis, CA, USA, has written a very pretty apology to him for all past evil thoughts and wishes. (Did you bury the doll, Sher?) Her Tuscan White Bean Soup, with Pesto, based on a recipe from M. Chiarello, is simple to make. It has both pesto and fresh basil – how can you go wrong with that? A creamy soup finished with sautéed garlic and a pesto-topped bruschetta, it looks perfect. Summer is coming…fresh basil is coming…
The next entry makes me both embarrassed at my ignorance and farsick for travel to exotic (for me) places. Sra, of When My soup Came Alive, India, was recently on a road trip to Goa. She had a chance to explore the local markets and find things that even she didn't recognize. In Revelation she describes what some of them are and their uses, both medicinal and culinary. I do know what a cashew is….
Okay, this one gets the award for the prettiest green entry. We've all been hearing about the health benefits of green tea but who knew it could be so pretty? Anh, of Food Lover's Journey, from Melbourne, Australia has made these beautiful Green Tea Cupcakes. They are flavored with matcha, the green tea powder used in the Japanese tea ceremony. Anh says that the green tea flavor works well in rich desserts, bringing out a balance of flavors. Top that with Green Tea Cream Cheese Frosting…. Healthy decadence – I love it!
From just up the road from me, in Nantes, France, Virginie of Absolutely Green is saying a fitting good-bye to winter on this cold, gray weekend. Winter Vegetables Spread by Mamapasta has pumpkin, sweet potato, Jerusalem artichokes, onion plus my favorites: sage, parsley and thyme. The vegetables are cooked together then bound with chestnut flour (among other things). Spread on some nice country bread for a sweet-savory treat.
Ruth of Once Upon A Feast, from Toronto, Canada tossed this one just 'under the wire'. Couscous Herb and Lamb Loaf is chock-a-block with herbs: a cup each of fresh oregano and basil, and it's bound with whole wheat couscous instead of the more typical breadcrumbs. She says she serves this with her new favorite mash, cauliflower, which keeps everything 'South Beach Friendly'.
(Best for me: the next day…Meat Loaf Sandwiches!)
A 'Schwäbin in the far east', Brigitte of Küchendunst aus Singapur, is making potato dumplings. To please her daughter (this would make me happy) she made Swabian potato dumplings on salad with anchovy paste-basil dressing. Even I could follow her instructions for making the dumplings! The basil green goddess dressing with 1/2 cup of fresh basil and anchovy paste, sounds like it has just the right amount of bite. Put that all on a fresh salad with vine-ripened cherry tomatoes and a bit of yellow pepper….sigh, summer salads!
Finally, my entry, Tortilla de Pimiento, a little twist on the traditional 'Tortilla Española' (potato omelet). After a …..hmmmm, I just ran out of words…. Oh well….
That's Weekend Herb Blogging #75. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
Next week Herb Blogging will be back home at Kalyn's Kitchen