Friday, September 30, 2011

How I Love Herbs!

It is true!

One of my favorite ways to add interest to food is through the addition of herbs. They pack a lot of flavor, visual appeal, and health-boosting vitamins and antioxidants.

If you are interested in boosting the nutritional value of the foods you are fuelling your athletic body with, then you should look into adding herbs to your plate on a daily basis.

When we lived year round in a house with a garden, I grew most of my herbs including chives, parsley, dill, rosemary, sage, savoury, mint, and various types of basil and thyme. It was wonderful to go out and get fresh cuttings whenever I needed them. For winter use, I dried and froze the summer’s bounty.

These days I rely on being able to purchase fresh herbs at the produce market, and dried herbs from the grocery store.  I have tried growing basil and rosemary on the boat, but the pots tend to get in the way.

When I think about the jars of dried herbs on my counter, the ones I seem to refill the most often are basil, oregano, and thyme.   And that is a good thing, as dried herbs really don't keep very well for more than a couple of months... they lose flavor and color.

When I use dried herbs, I rub them between my fingertips before sprinkling them into my recipes.  I find this releases the flavor and the aroma of the herb very nicely.

And, if you are subbing dried herbs in a recipe that calls for fresh, start out with 1:3 ratio of dried:fresh.  For example, use 1 tsp dried where the recipe calls for 1 Tbs fresh (1 Tbs = 3 tsp).

If the herb is used as a seasoning, this will likely be all right, but if it is a main ingredient, such as in a basil pesto, for instance, it is not going to work at all.

Sweet Basil

Greek Oregano

I like to sprinkle basil and oregano on my omelets, salads, and pasta sauces.   Here is a sampling of my recipes that use these herbs:

Chicken Pasta Primavera

Frozen in ice cube tray for ease of use.

Thyme is lovely in soups, eggs, mushrooms, and on chicken and other meat dishes. I think a little goes a long way.

Wild Thyme

These dishes all make use of thyme:

Chicken with Balsamic Vinegar, Sweet Onions, and Thyme

The two fresh herbs that I use most often are onions of all kinds,  and garlic.

Green Onions


Garlic Cloves

I use one or the other, or both, in almost every savoury dish I make... sauces, stir-frys, dips, dressings, omelets, stews, soups, casseroles, and chilis. In our house, there is never such a thing as too much garlic!I have been known to use garlic powder and onion powder in place of the fresh ingredients, if we have been out crusing for weeks on the sailboat, and haven’t put in to port to replenish the ice box.

And one other fresh herb that I have really come to apprciate this past year is cilantro. It adds such a distinct flavor and really goes nicely with lime and with garlic, too.


These recipes really show off the wonderful flavor of cilantro:


  1. YUM! Now I am hungry! I love herbs too. I probably use onion, garlic and basil the most! I also love Rosemary!

  2. I love cooking with fresh herbs. I'm hoping to have a small herb garden next year. My favorites are cilantro, basil, and rosemary.

    I never though of onions, leeks and garlic as herbs. Love them all!

  3. I am thinking that cooking with herbs is an awesome way to have fresh meals!


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