The secret to transforming easy dishes into extraordinary meals? Fresh herbs. In The Herbal Kitchen, IACP award-winning cookbook author and acclaimed Herbfarm Restaurant chef Jerry Traunfeld presents simple dishes using herbs straight from the market, windowsill, or garden.
Until recently, the fresh herbs available in supermarkets were limited to parsley and maybe dill. Today, thyme, rosemary, basil, cilantro, mint, and sage are among the many fresh herbs as close as the produce section or the farmer's market. Not to mention marjoram, lovage, tarragon, lavender, shiso, and so many others.
Jerry shows you how to incorporate these fresh herbs into your everyday home meals. So whether preparing a workday supper for the family, a special dinner for two or four, or a feast for a table of guests, using fresh herbs in your cooking will result in fresh and vibrant food.
The Herbal Kitchen includes some recipes that are home variations of the innovative dishes Jerry prepares at the Herbfarm, while others are fresh takes on familiar classics such as Herb Garden Lasagna or Shrimp in Garlic-Sage Butter. All are uncomplicated and prep time is minimal with the emphasis on spontaneity and the unmistakable flavors of fresh herbs.
Start off with Asparagus and Lemon Thyme Soup, Spicy Verbena Meatballs, or Rye-Thyme Cheese Straws before moving on to Cinnamon Basil Chicken, Side of Salmon Slow-Roasted in Dill, and Root Ribbons with Sage. Delectable desserts include Warm Lavender Almond Cakes, Rhubarb Mint Cobbler, and a sinful Chocolate Peppermint Tart.
Once you're hooked on cooking with fresh herbs, you'll want to grow them yourself. The Herbal Kitchen is filled with important tips for growing, harvesting, and handling each of the herbs used in the recipes. Valuable information on the varieties of each herb is also highlighted, such as how to tell the difference between Greek oregano and Italian oregano, why you always want to choose bay laurel over California bay, and what type of lavender is best for cooking.
Filled with stunning photos of the herbs, the techniques for handling them, and the finished dishes, Jerry's definitive guide is sure to be a classic, reached for again and again.
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About the Author
Since 1990 Jerry Traunfeld has headed the kitchen at The Herbfarm Restaurant, where he creates herb-inspired Northwest menus each week. Since he took over the stoves, the restaurant has garnered unanimous national acclaim as a premier dining destination. In 2000, Jerry won the James Beard Award for Best American Chef in the Northwest and Hawaii. His first book, The Herbfarm Cookbook, won the 2000 IACP award for best cookbook by a restaurant or chef. Jerry lives in Seattle with his partner, Stephen, and their two Shiba dogs.
Read an Excerpt
The Herbal KitchenCooking with Fragrance and Flavor
By Jerry Traunfeld
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2005 Jerry Traunfeld
All right reserved.
Green Bean, Basil, and radish salad
Fillet beans, the slender green beans that are sometimes called haricots verts or "French beans," are perfect for this salad, but you can use other types of fresh beans, like Romano beans or runner beans, if you angle-cut them into bite-sized pieces. Just be sure they're snappy, tender, and sweet.
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 pound fresh fillet green beans
1 bunch radishes, cut into wedges (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped basil
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup thin shavings Parmigiano-Reggiano
Stir the shallots and vinegar together in a large mixing bowl and let them sit to mellow the raw bite of the shallots.
Boil the beans in a large pot of heavily salted water until just tender but still have some crunch. Drain the beans and then plunge them into a large bowl of ice water. Drain again and dry on paper towels.
Add the beans to the bowl with the shallots. Toss in the radishes, basil, olive oil, salt, and a few grindings of black pepper. Turn out onto a serving platter and top with the shaved cheese.
In place of the basil, add 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped tarragon and top the salad with crumbled goat cheese instead of Parmesan. Or add 1/4 cup coarsely chopped dill and top with crumbled feta.
Steamed Mussels with lovage
2 servings as a main course;
4 servings in a multicourse meal
4 servings in a multicourse meal
The booming celerylike flavor of lovage might seem too strong for seafood, but it really complements most kinds, especially shellfish. I think mussels and lovage are a triumphant combination.
Lovage is an Old Faithful of an herb. You plant it once and early every spring it shoots from the earth and soars 6 or 7 feet in a couple of months -- if you let it. The trick is to keep cutting back the flowering stalks so that it continues to produce young leaves, which are the only ones that are good to cook with. As the leaves get older and turn pale green or yellowed they become bitter and unpalatable.
2 pounds mussels, washed and beards removed
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped young lovage leaves
2 cups diced ripe tomatoes, or halved cherry tomatoes
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Generous grinding of black pepper
Put everything but 1 tablespoon of the lovage in a large skillet or saucepan and cover.
Cook over high heat until most of the mussels open up, then shake the pan and continue to cook for another minute. Spoon the mussels and their liquid into large serving bowls, sprinkle with the lovage that was set aside, and serve with crusty bread.
Excerpted from The Herbal Kitchen by Jerry Traunfeld Copyright © 2005 by Jerry Traunfeld.
Excerpted by permission.
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