Uses for Herbs
I just started a herb garden. I have Mint, Rosemary, Dill, Garlic Chives, and am thinking of adding more. I'm looking for suggestion on what to use herbs for. Right now I mainly use mint for drinks like Mojitos.
Tyme for chic dishes, basil for salads, red sauces etc, saffron for paella for starters. Look at recipes that you like and start experiementing.
Rosemary for roasted or bbq'd meats of all kinds - lamb, beef, pork.
I love dill on many vegetables, particularly potatoes and carrots. In the summer when cooking on the bbq I make tin foil pouches of cut potatoes with onions and dill - super yummy.
Mint is good in many mediterranean dishes and salads. (Though why waste it when it can go in a mojito? ;-))
Dill, garlic chives, thyme, tarragon, marjoram are all good in vinaigrettes with Dijon mustard. Thyme and marjoram are stronger, so you don't need much in your dressing. Use tarragon, white wine vinegar, a smidge of garlic, and a smidge of honey along with your olive oil and Dijon for a favorite combo of mine.
Dill is a great match with anything with mustard. Sour cream, yogurt, or mayo with lots of mustard, lots of dill, a bit of vinegar makes a great sauce for salmon. Or sour cream or yogurt, cucumbers, dill.
Roast new potatoes with olive oil, rosemary - smells heavenly while cooking, tastes great.
Thyme and tarragon each match well with mushrooms (one or the other, not together).
Try just adding the chopped leaves of dill or basil to salads as part of the greens. Very fresh tasting.
Once tomatoes are in season, caprese salads with tomatoes, basil, fresh mozzarella. Or if you make pizza at home pizza margherita (topped with same).
Mint is great with fresh peas, the essence of spring.
If you grow cilantro, you're set for pico de gallo, and Mexican, Southeast Asian, and Indian dishes or flavors. Italian parsley is very versatile, too, and another one to just throw in your salad bowl.
I have a wonderful herb garden (pictures later this weekend, check back) Basil, Thyme, Lemon Balm, Rosemary, Chives, Parsley, Sage, Oregano, Tomatoes (I know not herbs, but oh so good) and a array of hot peppers.
Watermelon and mint salad with feta cheese!
I will take rosemary and use the thicker sticks as the "skewer" for kabobs
Try some basil in your dressing or chives
Steep basil stems in Olive Oil for flavored dressing
Herbed Pasta or Orzo salad with fresh chopped herbs
Herbed Potato salad with a vinagrette instead of mayo (and panchetta)
"Minted" Lamb burgers
I make Hot Pepper Tomato Jam - take fresh chopped tomatoes with skin removed in a sauce pan with honey and a thai chili pepper
Basil Burgers - mix in chopped basil in the mixture and top with a basil mayo
Rosemary "Ale" Cheese burgers
Butternut and Sage Raviolis (with a brown butter and sage sauce)
Fresh sage sausage
Rosemary chicken - Herbed baked chicken for that matter
Nothing beats fresh Oregano in a red sauce
Mint in Strawberrys with some balamic vinegar (and a bit of sugar) served on top of puff pastry and whipped cream
Make your own Gavlox with the dill
I hope that helps for now I will be in the kitchen all weekend, so I think of anything else I will report back...also have to put the pictures up
Rosemary - great in marinades and for roasting meats. I don't like dill, so I can't give you any hints. Mint - a pesto to serve with lamb.
Thin, stir-fry beef strips with some fresh mint and cilantro thrown in the pan and some salt are nice and spicy. (I'd fry with coconut oil, wouldn't add wetting agents... if anything a tiny dash of fish sauce.)
A Middle Eastern breakfast sometimes consists of pita bread with melted feta inside, stuffed with fresh mint.
Also, you could use baby greens and just mince a bunch of your herbs except rosemary and add them to salads as greens, with a very light dressing maybe involving lemon.
I'm with cinnamon on the salad usage...I love fresh parsley as a green in my salads, along with arugula and/or romaine. When you have a lot to use up, it's easy to use this way. I also love fresh parsley chopped and added to my tuna salad along with the usual suspects onion and celery, really brightens up the flavor. I also use fresh parsley as a dipper for hummus; I just twist the leaves and stem together to make a dipper. And as others have said, fresh rosemary is awesome with roasted potatoes.
What type of mint?
The ingredients section has ideas for each herb and food affinties.
You could make mint tea. One place near me makes a Middle Eastern coffiee pouring hot coffee over mint leaves and adding a few spices. Wrong season, but maybe pour some hot chocolate over the mint leaves and let steep for a while.
Make some Vietnamese recipes like Pho or spring rolls.
Haagen Daz currently has a really nice mint ice cream. Maybe make some ice cream?
Very nice in fruit salads, especially if strawberries or pineapple is involved. It works nice with melon also.
Freeze mint leaves in ice cubes for pretty ice cubes for lemonade.
A Chowhound thread on using fresh ming. I like the idea of adding a few leaves to a PBJ sandwich.
I used to teach a cooking class series (8 classes), and the approaches were K.I.S.S. and "Try It". The posts so far have some great recommendations, but the best way to "own" how an herb affects a dish (or most other aspects of cooking, for that matter) is to find by experience both what works and, just as importantly, what doesn't. Foundation.
By all means, get some Sweet Basil (there are different varieties). Either chop or roll the leaves "cigar-style" and cut thin strips (chiffonade) to scatter over salads, cooked pizza and ANYthing with a red sauce. If you add it prior to cooking it will turn black and not be very attractive. When used on a warm/hot dish, the oils will be released and your nose will be teased with a wonderful aroma prior to ever tasting it.
It may be a old-wives tale, but I've read that if you are growing tomato plants, add a basil plant in the mix and it will deter aphids and flies. Dunno.....
As to chives, after purchasing a small bunch with roots still in tact from the produce section of a grocery store, he pot planted them last spring and had chives all summer, well into fall. During winter, he put the pot in his storage shed and forgot about it. A month or so ago, he found it, watered it and back came the chives. So obviously, they over-winter well.
All these spice chart links are great, but I particularily like that bellaonline one.
For detail on each ingredient, here's the others mentioned in the OP from the Chow ingredient list. At least for this thread, clicking on the tags for each herb seems to offer some good info ... Chow recipes, stories and relevant Chowhound threads. With search being so awful currently, this is nice to have. I'll put the tag results after the ingrediant link
One thing I don't seem much is mixing dill into tuna salad. I just learned that from someone recently and it is very nice.
Something I found interesting in the Chow ingrediant page for rosemary was an affinity for chestnuts. I never considered that did some googling and found some intriguing recipes for chestnuts and rosemary ... excluding a gazillion stuffing recipes
Sweet chestnut and rosemary gelato
Chestnut Cake from the Garfagnana
Chestnut soup with rosemary pesto
This recipe would get me crazy to make personally, but it sounds and looks terrific
CHESTNUT, PARMESAN AND ROSEMARY FILLED BRUSSELS SPROUTS
I like to throw whatever left over herbs I have into sandwiches. Parsley goes well with everything. Dill goes well with chicken or tuna salads. If you like Vietnamese noodles bowls - mint and cilantro are great in those.
Also I take parsley, chives, rosemary and pretty much any thing else and finely chop them, add garlic, salt, pepper and a GOOD olive oil for a GREAT dipping sauce for bread - way better than olive oil and balsamic.
Oh and if you grow parsley or cilantro - I'm loving making and freezing chimchurri (sp?) sauce!
A couple of tips and ideas. First, while fresh mint is a wonderful herb to grow and have available, it literally grows like a weed. I don't know how you planted your mint, but it is likely to take over not just your herb garden, but your entire yard, as it is very hardy and reproduces by sending roots out in all directions. I'd suggest you uproot your mint and replant it inside a plastic container, buried in the ground, so as to slow its progress.
Others have mentioned basil, thyme, and oregano. I've grown all of these before, and love having them available fresh. Oregano is also pretty hearty, and will spread year to year. I have found dill hard to grow, as it will go to seed pretty quickly once it flowers (I think you can pinch off the flowers, which I do with the basil, to keep it leafing longer).
Lemon verbena is nice. There's a great recipe for lemon verbena pound cake from Gourmet mag (linked below), that I once bought a lemon verbena plant to make, and ended up enjoying having it in my garden.
Another nice herb to have in an herb garden is lavender.
I love Rosemary with mushrooms.
As others mentioned: mint with peas, mint with lamb, mint REQUIRED in Mojitos (and Mojitos required in Summer); Rosemary (and garlic) with lamb, mixed with thyme for chicken; Dill weed in stroganoff, dill seeds in pot roast.
Tarragon in deviled eggs and chicken salad.
Chives in egg dishes of all descriptions.
Thyme in practically everything!