Tag Archives: Herb

An Herb-Filled Day

From breakfast to dinner, make the most of your herb garden this Saturday or Sunday…

Breakfast: Add herbs to your scrambled eggs.  In a bowl, crack two eggs per person and whisk.  Stir in a generous splash of milk or cream and add as many roughly chopped herbs as you would enjoy.  Consider different varieties of basil, Christmas basil (with purple flowers) and sweet basil, for example, chives and hot and spicy oregano.  In a nonstick pan, heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and scramble the egg mixture.

Eggs and Herbs

Lunch: Slice some colorful heirloom tomatoes and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar glaze.  Season with fresh ground pepper and sea salt.  Then sprinkle with a chiffonade of basil and oregano.  Savor with some crusty bread.

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Dinner: Stuff a whole fish, such as sea bream, branzino or steelhead salmon, with a generous bunch of fresh herbs.  Lemon thyme, lemon verbena and rosemary are all good choices.  Grill the fish in a pocket of aluminum foil after drizzling with olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon or lime.

Steelhead salmon

Wax Beans and Fingerlings – A Crisp Summer Side

One of my favorite vegetables is the wax bean, and I am happy to see them appearing at local farm stands and produce markets.  Last night, I prepared these lovely pale yellow string beans, along with fingerling potatoes, to accompany Provençal stuffed tomatoes.

My recipe is straightforward – simply slice off the ends and steam the beans for about three minutes (just enough for them to retain their crispness).  Then, run the beans under cold water to stop the cooking process.  Arrange the wax beans down the center of a large, flat serving dish, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.  Season with fresh cracked pepper and sea salt.

To prepare the potatoes, slice on a bias and boil until soft enough to put a fork through; then, drain and toss with extra virgin olive oil, fresh cracked pepper and sea salt.  Arrange the fingerlings along both sides of the wax beans.

For some color and enhanced flavor, I garnished the vegetables with herbs from my herb garden…chives on the potatoes and lemon thyme and a sprig of rosemary on the beans.

Serve at room temperature for a cool, refreshing side to meat or fish.

Wax beans

Grilled Eggplant and Ricotta Makes for a Simple Summer Appetizer

I recently wrote about a very simple way to prepare eggplant in my post, “Fresh from the Farm Stand”.  Most frequently during the summer, I grill eggplant as a side dish after marinating it in extra virgin olive oil and sea salt.  (The small round Sicilian eggplants are my favorite!)

The steps are simple…First, slice the eggplant into rounds of about 1/6 to 1/4 inch thick.  Then, place a layer of slices in a large baking dish and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and a healthy sprinkle of sea salt.  Repeat with additional layers until all slices are topped with both oil and salt.  The purpose of the salt it to extract the liquid that causes the eggplant’s bitterness.  Let the slices marinate for about one hour prior to grilling.  Grill the eggplant on medium-low heat, turning the slices with tongues so that they soften and brown.

As an alternative to a side dish, incorporate this eggplant preparation into an appetizer course.  Arrange several slices on a small plate alongside a dollop of ricotta cheese.  Drizzle the ricotta with extra virgin olive oil and top with fresh ground pepper and finishing salt.  Fresh herbs, such as basil, make for a colorful addition to this tasty starter.

Eggplant and Ricotta

Fresh from the Farm Stand

Enjoy some summer recipes in my July/August issue of The Judicial Palate.

Fresh from the Farm Stand

Farm Stand

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2014 issue of The Journal of the Delaware State Bar Association, a publication of the Delaware State Bar Association. Copyright © Delaware State Bar Association 2014.  All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

 

Crêpes — Savory, Then Sweet

When one of my students gave me a gift of a crêpe pan several years ago, I decided to put it to good use.  It would not become one of those kitchen items that sits in a cabinet just to be seen once a year.  So, I decided to make crêpes for Sunday morning breakfasts…savory crêpes filled with scrambled eggs followed by sweet crêpes topped with maple syrup and berries.

Below is a simple crêpe recipe intended to make two savory crêpes and two to four sweet ones.

Ingredients for Crêpes:

1/3 cup milk

3/4 cup cold water

1 egg

Pinch of salt

Pinch of sugar

1/2 cup flour

Butter for the crêpe pan or non-stick pan

Place all of the ingredients except for the flour in a mixing bowl and whisk together.  Then, add the flour and continue to whisk, eliminating any lumps.  Set aside while preparing the eggs.

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Ingredients for Scrambled Eggs:

4 eggs

Splash of milk

Splash of water

Fresh herbs

Extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt

Fresh ground pepper

This is how I typically make scrabbled eggs.  (No precise measurements are involved…sometimes I add cheese or peppers, whatever strikes my fancy.  You probably have your own technique and should use what you would enjoy tasting.)  Place the eggs, milk and water in a mixing bowl and whisk together.  Set aside until you are ready to scramble.

This breakfast requires two pans to be working simultaneously, side by side, on the stove.  The first is the crêpe pan.  Place a slice of butter in the crêpe pan over medium heat.  When the butter melts and sizzles, tilt the pan so that the butter moves around its bottom.  Pour a large ladle of crêpe batter (just under 1/4 cup) into the center of the pan and tilt the pan around so that the batter covers the bottom of the pan.

As the batter begins to bubble, move the pan forward and backward to loosen the crêpe.  Lift the edges of the crêpe with a spatula to see when the bottom of the crêpe is lightly browned.  Then, carefully turn the crêpe using a spatula and your fingers (or, you can toss the crêpe with a quick movement of the pan away from you then toward you).  Brown the crêpe on the other side for another minute at most.  Transfer the crêpe to a dish and grease the pan for the second crêpe.

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While working with the crêpes, prepare the scrambled eggs.  Add some olive oil, sea salt and fresh ground pepper to a non-stick pan.  Turn the heat to medium low and tilt the pan so that the olive oil covers the bottom.  Pour the eggs into the center of the pan and add your fresh herbs.  The olive oil should prevent the eggs from sticking, and as the eggs begin to solidify around the edges, use a non-stick spatula to scramble.

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When the eggs are finishing cooking, spoon them down the center of each crêpe.  Fold the sides of the crêpe over the eggs and turn the entire crêpe over so that the “seam” is not visible.  Garnish with more herbs and a drizzle of chili oil (or a flavored oil of your choice).

DSCN4115After this savory course, repeat the crêpe making process for the sweet course – crêpes topped with maple syrup (or honey) and fresh berries.

DSCN4119 Note: This also makes a fun breakfast for dinner!

 

Make the Most of Your Favorite Summer Herb with a Basil Pesto

During my Italian Lunch cooking class today, we made ricotta gnocchi with three sauces – marinara, pesto and butter sage.  While the marinara and butter sage sauces were quite delicious, the pesto made me appreciate the abundance of basil this time of year.  So, I share my recipe for basil pesto.

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Ingredients:

½ cup pignoli (pine nuts)

10 stalks of fresh basil

3 cloves of garlic

½ cup parmesan cheese

6 tablespoons of softened butter (yes, this recipe is a rich one!)

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt

Fresh ground pepper

Remove the basil leaves from the stalks and place them in a food processor.  Add the pine nuts, garlic, cheese and butter and blend until it forms a paste.  Add the olive oil little by little as well as the salt and pepper to taste while blending the other ingredients.  Be sure to use a spatula to push down any ingredients stuck to the sides of the food processor in between your processing.  Toss the pesto with gnocchi or your favorite pasta – a little goes a long way!

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