The herb garden is going crazy... looking for ideas
My fingernails are dirty and I'm covered in mosquito bites... but it's a good thing.
The garden has finally caught up to the calendar after the cold, wet spring that we had. Now I'm finding myself with a metric a$$load of fresh herbs that need to be thinned out.
Everything is doing well, but I've got an abundance of dill, oregano, sage, rosemary and basil (spicy globe, thai, genovese). I was being overrun by mint too, but I made ice cream last night ;)
The basil I can figure out... if all else fails I'll freeze some pesto. I've been using the oregano as I would dill, adding it in with pastas and things. I'm mostly stumped about the oregano and the sage. The sage is actually so thick it's starting to succomb to powdery mildew... I need to thin that out quickly.
Ideas are much appreciated!
Make red sauce and freeze it for when the basil and oregano are gone...
and the most simple delicious fresh-ingredient-only pasta dish...a handful each of any five tender herbs, say
basil, fennel fronds, arugula, parsley, mint
toss with hot pasta and fresh ricotta cheese (from the farmers market...get goat or sheep if you can), thin a bit with the pasta water, salt and pepper to taste. The herbs get barely wilted, you have super fresh delicious dinner in the time it takes to boil water. There's a recipe for this in one of the Batali books, which means there's some olive oil thrown in there too....
Oh, what a lovely problem to have! We just got hailed out yesterday so all my lovely herbs are torn to shreds and dead.
I love to make the following with fresh herbs (I normally grow about 20 varities each season):
flavoured butters (you can easily freeze them)
herb jelly (i.e. basil)
make a tempura batter and fry them (i.e. sage)
all kinds of pestos, not just basil (i.e. mint)
freeze chopped herbs in ice cube trays
dried oregano is more flavourful than fresh
herb-flavoured vinegars (i.e. applemint, blueberry mint)
flavoured salts - dry the herbs, pulverize in spice grinder and blend with sea salt (i.e. orange rosemary)
steep herbs in hot simple syrup
jam (i.e. lemon oregano)
This is sort of Autumnal, but good. Brown some chicken (I use whole legs), remove, drain off fat and add a bit of butter. Brown some diced shallots and apple, a pinch or two of brown sugar, deglaze with apple cider vinegar, add some chicken broth, replace the chicken skin-side up, with some minced sage, cook for about twenty minutes -- maybe less -- until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is reduced. I like this with roasted or mashed potatoes. Of course it only uses a little sage, but too much sage (or rosemary, for that matter) can be pretty overpowering.
You're lucky to have lots of basil. The snails got most of mine.
1) Ask friends/family/coworkers/whoever if they would some! I even gave a bunch to a local repairman that used to be a chef.
2) Find local chefs that may want some for restaurant or home use. Health codes may come into play, but if you can do it your generousity will likely be rewarded. (It just occured to me that some local Thai chefs may want some of your thai basil. I give a lot of shiso to local sushi bars. They may like some other herbs as well.) (It also just occured to me that a local cooking school may like some. I'll have to check that one out...)
3) Flavored oils. I freeze in ice cube trays and thaw as needed. ((Another give away item.)
4) Chop and toss in salads.
5) Dry individually and/or make your own blends. Good gifts, too.
re: Richard 16
Shiso is great in stirfrys - I got one recipe from Cynsa on chowhound that I use all the time - shiso-miso veg.
Here's what my gramma did...my obachan, that is!
Chop about 20 shiso leaves.
Chop whatever vegetables you have on hand; chiles, onion, carrots, green pepper...
Saute in a hot skillet with just a little oil, to soften veggies.
Add 1 teaspoon of miso or to taste... and a splash of mirin. Heat thoroughly and serve with hot rice.
Store in a covered jar in the refrigerator and use as a condiment.
My 83-year old mom makes her version very spicy - more hot chiles! She calls it "miso shiso".
I use habaneros - the fruitiness is perfect here. And okra, which has a special affinity with shiso - fresh okra with a quick stir fry has a really nice, less slimey texture, or maybe just incorporates with the miso well.
And I often throw thai basil in with the shiso - which I add at the very end so it doesn't disappear into the veg.