jump to navigation

Cooking With Herbs August 10, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Vegetarian Recipes.

A few weeks ago, we attended Cooking with Herbs at the Island Library.

Samantha, from the Manatee County Extension Office, perfumed the air with fragrant basil while whipping up Pesto and Pesto Herb Spread for us to sample on wheat or rice crackers.


To make your own:

Basil Pesto:  Blend together 6 cloves of garlic, 1/2 cup pine nuts, walnuts, or almonds, 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves, 1 cup packed Italian parsley leaves, 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and 1 cup olive oil in a blender or food processor.  Serve over hot or cold pasta or with minestrone soup.

Pesto Herb Spread:  Blend together 16 ounces cream cheese, 3 Tbsp. pesto, 2 Tbsp. fresh chives, and 3 Tbsp. fresh cilantro.

A few fun facts:

* Herbs are best harvested in the morning, after the dew has evaporated, but before the sun has warmed them.

* Fresh herbs should be used soon after picking.  If you must store them, trim the stems on the diagonal and arrange in a tall glass or vase with an inch of water, like cut flowers.

* Herbs to consider:  Anise, Basil, Bay Leaves, Celery Leaves, Chamomile, Chervil, Chives, Cilantro, Dill (Weed & Seed), Fennel, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Lovage, Marjoram, Mint, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Sage, Savory, Tarragon, or Thyme.

* To become familiar with the flavor of an herb, mix it with butter, let it sit for an hour, spread the herb butter on a plain cracker, and taste.

Fresh Herb Butter:  Blend 1/2 cup softened butter with 1 tsp. each of chopped fresh basil, thyme, and parsley (or your favorite herbs).  Use on baked potatoes, hot pasta, or spread on bread.

Aah . . . that’s yummy!

What are your favorite herbs for cooking, tea, or lingerie sachets?

Basil and Oregano are delicious . . . but there’s something special about “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme.”


1. shreejacob - August 10, 2013

Hehehe did a double take on the lingerie sachets…was wondering…what have herbs got to do with lingerie…then did a mental facepalm at self.

We used lots of spices in our cooking, not so much of herbs so it’s a little “alien” to me. Usually the herbs I consume happens when we go out for western food! and sometimes that’s Malaysianized with spices..lol

nrhatch - August 10, 2013

Lavender Sachets for lingerie aren’t my cup of herbal tea. I’d like something “spicier” . . . like cloves! :mrgreen:

We use both herbs and spices ~ variety is the SPICE of life.

2. Andra Watkins - August 10, 2013

I really love basil pesto, Nancy. Usually, I just spread it on crackers and munch.

nrhatch - August 10, 2013

Good bread + tomatoes + pesto => PERFECT!

3. Eric Tonningsen - August 10, 2013

Cloves in your drawers. I’m not going there, Nancy. 🙂 The scorching desert sun decimated my herb garden this summer, despite valiant salvage efforts. This post conjures a wee bit of envy. Glad though, that you’re enjoying yours.

nrhatch - August 10, 2013

Hahaha . . . too spicy? 😛

I am sorry to hear about the demise of your herb garden ~ losing edible gardens is hard. I’ve had great success with basil and mint, even during hot summers, but would love to have a more extensive collection of fresh herbs to cut.

Eric Tonningsen - August 10, 2013

From the land of green chile, nothing’s too spicy. 🙂 The only herb that’s left (out of six) is the oregano. The plague couldn’t kill that stuff.

nrhatch - August 10, 2013

Oregano sounds like a hardy plant. A great addition to Italian dishes. Mangia!

4. Tammy - August 10, 2013

Cumin is my absolute favorite.

nrhatch - August 10, 2013

Yes! Good pick, Tammy. Cumin is one of my go to spices when I want warm smoky earthy undertones. Yum. 😀

5. sufilight - August 10, 2013

I enjoy basil, oregano and mint. In the evening before going to bed I have a cup of fat free milk with mint leaves. It’s very soothing. Read the comments, I also love cumin but hardly cook with the spice these days. Good to be reminded of this spice!

nrhatch - August 10, 2013

Like eating mint ice cream . . . without the guilt. 😀

6. Three Well Beings - August 11, 2013

I do love basil and dill without reservation. I tend to grow more fresh herbs than I end up using. I love the idea of the herb butters! Your class must have been very enjoyable. Thank you for the inspiration! 🙂

nrhatch - August 11, 2013

The Library schedules diverse presentations. We often attend to see what data tidbits are offered, even if the topic isn’t of central interest to us. You never know when you might stumble into the “next best hobby.”

7. Grannymar - August 11, 2013

Who mentioned ‘Good bread + tomatoes + pesto’? Now my taste buds are set on that trail for the day! Yum yum yum!

nrhatch - August 11, 2013

That is a magical combo, isn’t it? I expect that pizza is popular due to that trio of flavors ~ dough, tomato sauce, flavored with basil, garlic, olive oil, and cheese!

8. SidevieW - August 11, 2013

gosh, there were several sets of sounds coming as your blog opened. Quiet confusing!

I like different herbs with different foods. But my current thing is rosemary shortbread. So delicious. When I have made my dried lavender I’ll be trying that

nrhatch - August 11, 2013

How odd. Are you sure it was at my end and not yours? I’ve never heard sounds when opening SLTW.

I’ve never had rosemary shortbread . . . but we often make rosemary potatoes or rosemary bread. So good. Yum.

Have fun with the lavender. Even setting out bowls of it around the house . . .

SidevieW - August 11, 2013

make ordinary shortbread, with 2 tablespoons of chopped rosemary in the mix, yum yum

nrhatch - August 11, 2013

Next time I make shortbread, I’ll toss some rosemary into the mix. Thanks, Sidey.

9. Pix Under the Oaks - August 11, 2013

I have some basil, lavender and lemon thyme! We use it when we grill. I never thought to make some herb butter.. 🙂

nrhatch - August 11, 2013

I think I’d like to try growing lemon thyme. I love citrus flavors in cooking . . . so bright! We enjoy herb butter on bread and on potatoes. It’s delicious on lots of veggies as well. Enjoy!

10. jannatwrites - August 11, 2013

I love garlic basil pesto. (I’m lazy, I generally buy mine from Costco rather than making it :)) This post made me hungry…it’s probably time to have lunch!

nrhatch - August 11, 2013

The only time I make my own pesto is when I have basil plants overflowing with leaves ~ I don’t think I’ve ever purchased fresh basil to make pesto.

Enjoy your lunch!

What Say YOU?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: