Recipe Tuesday – Herbs (Part 2 of 2)


Here are recipes using a combination of herbs.

Fines Herbes
Equal amounts of Chevril, Chives, Parsley and Tarragon

Bouquet Garni
3 stalks parsley, 1 bay leaf and 1 sprig of Thyme

Herbes De Provence
Equal amounts of Oregano, Rosemary, Thyme, Savory, Marjoram and French Lavender

Beef Mix
Equal amounts of Rosemary, Thyme, Savory, Orange peel and Parsley

Lamb Mix
Equal amounts of Rosemary, Thyme, Savory, Mint and Parsley

Poultry Mix
Equal amounts of Parsley, Thyme, Marjoram, Tarragon and Bay leaf

Seafood Mix
Equal amounts of Dill, Tarragon and Lemon peel

Lord bless you and keep you!

Recipe Tuesday – Herbs (Part 1 of 2)


Yesterday I posted a general information about herbs, so today I wanted to post helpful information about using herbs with dishes, as well as, a few herb recipes.

Here is a sheet cheat I use while putting together recipes from scratch.

Food Type Herb Serving Suggestions
Cakes/Beads Caraway seeds Sprinkle onto breads and crackers
Dill seeds Use ground in crackers
Fennel seeds Use ground to flavor bread
Ginger Use for spicy cookies and shortbread
Mint Add to white cakes
Tansy Use in Easter cakes
Cheese Dishes Chervil Chop into omlets and quiches
Dill weed/Marjoram Add freshly chopped to cream cheese
Mint Add freshly chopped to cream or cottage cheese
Oregano Ideal for vegetarian dishes
Sage Add to cooked sauces or cheese and potato dishes
Desserts Bergamot Add flowers to fruit salads
Mint Chopped in fruit salads and stewed pears/apples
Rose petals Use to flavor ice cream
Scented Geraniums Use to flavor ice cream, sherberts or use as a garnish
Sweet Cicely Cook with rhubarb/apples to replace sugar
Sweet violets Crystallize for decorations
Egg Dishes Basil/Chervil/Dill weed/Thyme Add chopped to omelets and other dishes
Tansy Use for sweet puddings
Fish Dill Use seeds with strong fish and leaves with lighter ones
Lemon Balm Substitute for grated lemon rind
Tarragon Good with strong fish
Lentil Caraway/Dill seed/Fennel Use ground seeds
Main dishes
  Fish-fat/rich Basil Use with mackerel/shellfish
Dill seeds Ideal for salmon
Tarragon Usein rich cream sauces
Thyme Good with strong flavored fish
  Fish – white Chervil Combine with lemon balm in light fish dishes
Dill weed/Fennel Use young sprigs finely chopped
Lemon Balm Can replace lemon
  Beef Coriander Use for an oriental flavor
Dill seeds Good with veal
Hyssop Good in casseroles
Lovage Adds celery flavor, thickens
Marjoram/Thyme Use in stews and casseroles
  Lamb Garlic Combine with lavender for young baked lamb
Rosemary Classic for baked lamb and lamb casseroles
  Pork Chervil/Marjoram Use in stuffings and sauces for roasts
Fennel Good in casseroles
Sage Use for stuffings
Summer Savory Good with ham dishes
  Chicken/poultry Corander Adds oriental flavor
Lemon Balm Rub with leaves before stirfrying or roasting
Sage/Summer savory Add to casseroles and stir-fried dishes
Tarragon Ideal with baked chicken and light casseroles
Pasta Basil Use fresh with tomato sauces
Marjoram/Oregano Taste stronger when dried
Nutmeg Grated with Parmesan
Pea Coriander Use ground seeds
Cumin/Fengugreek Grounds seeds add a spicey flavor
Ginger Use fresh chopped root
Turmeric Use ground and sparingly
Pickles & Relishes Dill Use for pickles and accompany fish
Mint Use with lamb cold cuts
Mustard Seed Use with gravad lax and strong-flavored dishes
Rich/meat Coriander seeds Use ground early in cooking
Lovage Use chopped stems to thicken broths and soups
Salads Basil Chopped leaves from different colored varities
Borage/Marigold Use flower petals on salads as a garnish
Chives Chop fine for a mild onion flavor
Corander/Lemon Balm Add three leaves to green salads
Nasturtium Use both flowers and leaves
Salad Burnet For a taste of cucumber
Sorrel Perks up lettuce
Soups Chervil Enhances consommes
Tarragon Good with chicken broth soups
  Rich pates Bay Good with all game recipes
Parsley Italian/flat-leaved has a stronger flavor
Sage Good in pork/rabbit dishes
Vegetable Chervil Enhances flavor
Dill seed Use ground seeds
Fennel Use ground seeds or Florence fennel bulb sliced fine
Lovage Use stems to replace celery
Oregano Adds Mediterranean flavor
Sage Use sparingly
  Beans/peas Chervil/Summer Savory Adds a Greek flavor
Dill seeds Add to breoad beans/peas
Mint Add to fresh young peas
  Cabbage Family Caraway seeds Add to all cabbage dishes and suerkraut
Fennel seeds Add to Brussel Sprouts
Marjoram Add to Broccoli dishes
Thyme Add to boiled or steamed cabbage
  Lentils/pulses Caraway/Fennel seeds Use ground
Ginger Adds spice to lentil loaf
Hyssop Add to quick dishes
Marjoram Add to lentil loaf and casseroles
  Onions Caraway Add to tarts
Oregano Use in quiches and soups
  Rice Fennel Add a bag of seeds to boiling rice
Saffron Add to any oriental dish
  Root Dill seeds Cook whole with carrots and parsnips
Fenugreek Add to carrots
Garlic Add to baked potato dishes
Paprika Add a sprig to boiling carrots or potatoes
  Tomatoes Basil Gives all tomato dishes an Italian flavor
Oregano Use fresh in Greek salads

Herbs Series – Week #1


Today I would like to talk about herbs and what I am learning about each one of them.  Each Monday I will make a post for the next several weeks about a particular herb with detailed information.

Oregano, Sage, Lavender, Rosemary, Thyme, Santolina, Artemesia, Tarragon & Fennel prefer soil that is dry and rock (light soil).

Herbs generally do not require fertilizer.  Improve the soil structure twice a year by adding organic material.

Basil, Chamomile, Thyme, Lavender, Mint, Dill, Chervil, Fennel & Parsley attract beneficial insects to your garden.

Basil, Lemon Grass & Garlic Chives require more water than herbs listed above.

Herbs that are invasive include:  mint and some oregano, so you will want to control these invasive herbs by planting them in containers or cut the bottoms of the container and sink container into your soil.

In the fall the following herbs can be started:  Anise, Borage, Caraway, Catnip, Chervil, Chives, Cilantro/Coriander, Dill, Fennel, Fennel (bulb), Garlic (clove), Garlic Chives, Horehound, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Marjoram, Mint, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Sage, Salad Burnet, Santolina, Savory (Winter), Scented Geraniums, Thyme and Yarrow.

Herbs that can be started from cuttings in the fall include:  Horehound, Lavender, lemon Balm, Marjoram, Mint, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Santolina, Savory (Winter), Scented Geraniums, Thyme and Yarrow.

Herbs that are started from divisions in the Fall include:  Catnip, Chives, Fennel (bulb), Garlic (clove), Garlic Chives, Lemon Balm, Marjoram, Mint, Tansy & Yarrow.

Look for posts on Mondays on specific herbs over the next several weeks where we will be looking a detailed information for each herb.

Lord bless you and keep you!

Herbs – Growing Dill

Dried Dill


Dill Seeds

Dill Seeds

Type of Plant – Hardy annual
Best Place – Full sun, sheltered from winds
Soil – Light, well-drained (A thick layer of sand, light clay and some stones)
Propagation – Seed
Parts of Plant – Leaves and seeds
Uses – Craft, culinary, medicinal, chickens, attract beneficial insects

Plant Dill from September through February. Plant every two weeks to have a harvest from November through April. It will bolt once the weather warms up.

Flowering Dill

Flowering Dill

Attracts beneficial pollinators such as Butterflies. Dill also attracts True bugs like, Assassin Bug, Big-eyed Bug and Minute Pirate Bug, predaceous insects like Trichogramma wasps and others that eat Mealy bugs, Mosquitoes, Scale insects, Spider Mites, Thripes and Whiteflies. Allow Dill to go to seed to attract beneficial insects.

Growing Dill

Growing Dill

Garden Planning – do not plant next to carrots

Companion Planting – It also helps corn produce bigger ears, enhances Broccoli’s flavor,

Culinary Uses – steam carrots and serve with butter and snipped Dill. Use seeds for strong fish and leaves on lighter varieties. Use chopped Dill in omelets. Make a Dill sauce for those meatballs. Make Dill-seed crackers. Use Dill to make those Dill pickles. Make Dill vinegar or oil.

Medicinal – Digestive problems, colic, flatulence (pour boiling water over 1 tsp crushed seeds)

Urban Farm

Using wood chips for mulch

We just finished up Urban Farming 101 and 201 taught by Greg Peterson at The Urban Farm.  Greg teaches at Arizona State University on Sustainability and is a wealth of information.  He can tell if you have healthy soil just by looking at it.  Greg has also started Grow Phoenix and you can learn to grow your own food.  Register for the Grow Phoenix class that is on March 7, 2015.  Click on the Grow Phoenix link to sign up.

Permaculture is a term we learned in our first Urban Farm 101 class.  Permaculture operates on three code of ethics.

  1. Care of Earth
  2. Care of Species
  3. Return of Surplus to the first two.

Here are 10 steps to help you grow in your space.

  1. Familiarize yourself with native plants, predators and pests in your area.
  2. Observe how the sun strikes the site of your garden.
  3. Draw up a list of plants and group them together according to sun and water needs and pest concerns.
  4. Prepare area 6″-12″.
  5. Start with the biggest plant and place them so they provide shade for smaller sun-sensitive plants.
  6. Place plants requiring the most care closest to home.
  7. Place plants requiring similar amounts of sun and water in the same bed, also consider companion planting.
  8. Lay mulch down:  wood chips, cardboard, newspaper
  9. Create a composting system
  10. Begin a low-waste water system:  drip irrigation, rainwater harvesting

I will be sharing more of how we implemented items into our garden.


Broccoli Investigation – Part 2

Arcadia Broccoli

My investigation began when I noticed the broccoli I was growing, Arcadia Broccoli, looked like cauliflower.  Then I wondered if it had been genetically altered in some way.  In order to grow a pure and clean Broccoli the temperatures must be between 50F to 73.4F.  If Broccoli is grown outside of these temperatures it is genetically modified in some way.  This is why I only grow broccoli in our fall and winter months.

Broccoli is in the top 10 crops of the United States with a market value of $700.  Top crops can be found here>>>>  The rising fuel prices make it unaffordable to grow in one part of our country and ship it to the other side of the country and still be affordable to the average consumer.  Yet, it is consumer demands that is driving this market due to the health benefits of broccoli.

Most of the Broccoli you see in the grocery stores appear to be Packman Broccoli.  Packman seed belongs to Seminis.  Monsanto owns Seminis.  I don’t mind hybrids, as long as, it is done in nature and not in a lab, injected with chemicals or crossed with another plant that would not normally cross in nature.  Most of the broccoli we see on the market today are a hybrid of some sort.

My first experience at growing broccoli was with one called ‘De Cicco’ Broccoli.  I noticed it did not not look like the huge broccoli heads in the grocery stores, but didn’t matter because I knew it was an heirloom seed that had not been tampered with in a lab.  This past fall we experimented with other varieties of broccoli.  We tried Spring Raab Broccoli which was just to bitter for us.  The Arcadia Broccoli developed nice big heads.  I’m still researching the Arcadia Broccoli because it is in the hybrid category.  Here is a link to most, but not all broccoli.  If it is labelled with “F1”, it is a hybrid.

My conclusion at this point is to stay away from all “F1” crops in our garden until I can determine how it was created.

Arcadia Broccoli

Arcadia Broccoli

Arcadia Broccoli

This is our Arcadia Broccoli that we planted Fall 2014.  Which is about 138 days after we planted the seed.  It is funny how climate, soil conditions, temperature and sun can determine the outcome of our vegetable harvests.

Today I wanted to know a little more about this variety of Broccoli.  It performed well and looked a little closer to what is purchased in the grocery stores.  I don’t mind hybrids, as long as, they are not crossing over into other vegetables, animals/pests or pesticides.  I began to think about this and wondered, “What is this variety crossed with?”  So my search has begun.

How to make Tagliatelle with Parsley Sauce

Plain Parsley

I have attached a video showing how to make Tagliatelle.  The recipe in the video is different than the one I have posted below.  Here is a list of ingredients you will need to make this dish  that serves 4:

1lb fresh spinach tagliatelle (I substitute any pasta noodles)
6 scallions, thinly sliced
3T olive oil
4 cloves garlic
12oz button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 c. chopped curly-leaved parsley
salt and black pepper
pinch of nutmeg
2/3 c. heavy cream
8oz feta cheese, crumbled

Cook the tagliatelle (or pasta) in boiling salted water until it is tender.  Drain and keep warm.  Meanwhile, heat the oil in a pan and cook the onions over medium heat until clear or translucent.  Add the garlic and cook another minute.  Add the mushrooms, stir, cover and simmer over low heat for five minutes.  Stir in the parsley slowly to avoid breaking the mushrooms, then season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Add the cream and heat all the way through.  Turn the tagliatelle into a warm serving dish, pour on the sauce and toss well.  Sprinkle with Feta cheese and serve with bread, a salad of roasted red and yellow peppers or tomatoes sprinkled with basil and sunflower seeds.

Enjoy the delicious dish.

How can I use herbs in the kitchen?

Curled Parsley

Once I had herbs growing, it was time to figure out how I can use them in the kitchen for meals.

Herbs can be used in soups, starters, main dishes, egg dishes, pasta, salads, cheese dishes and vegetables.

Chervil and Tarragon can be used in clear/light chicken broth for soups.  Dill, Lemon balm and Tarragon can be used in fish soups.  Caraway, Dill and Fennel can be used to make Lentil soups.  Chervil, Dill seed, Fennel, Lovage, Oregano and Sage can be used to make pea soups.

These are just a few ways to use herbs in cooking.  How do you use your herbs?

What Kind of Soil do I need for Parsley to Grow?

Plain Parsley

When I first started gardening I didn’t know a thing about soil much less different types of soil that certain plants needed.  So I’ll share some things I have learned about herbs and soil.

There is clay soil, medium soil, light soil, sandy soil, wet soil and loam soil.  You can determine what kind of soil you have by getting a quart class jar with a lid.  Put a few tablespoons of soil in the jar and fill it with water.  Put the lid on the jar and shake really hard and then leave the jar alone for a couple days while the contents settle.  After a couple days get a marker and mark the jar at the point of each layer you see.

Here in Phoenix, AZ (Zone 9) we have clay soil.  Which means my jar once settled will have a narrow band of sand and stones covered by a much thicker band of clay.  This is called “clay soil”.  Medium soil will have equal layers of sand and clay.  Light soil will have a thick layer of sand and a narrow band of clay.

In light sandy soil water drains quickly and takes all the nutrients with it.  All Mediterranean herbs will love light sandy soil, such as:

Evening primrose
Wild marjoram
Winter savory

There are herbs that prefer Clay soil, such as:

Bee balm

Moist loam soil is loved by some herbs, such as:

Bee balm
French sorrel
Lady’s mantle
Lemon balm
Sweet Cicely

Here is a list of herbs that prefer wet soil:

Bee balm
Marsh mellow

Loam soil is rich in nutrients and well drained, therefore the following herbs thrive in it:

Lady’s mantle

Plain Parsley

Plain Parsley