Monday, May 23, 2011

Weekend Herb Blogging #284 Roundup

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As host of Weekend Herb Blogging #284, I was thrilled to see some very colorful, innovative and tasty dishes pop up in my inbox this past week! Thanks to a talented group of foodies who participated in this edition of WHB. If I missed anyone or have incorrect links, etc., please don't hesitate to email me with the correct information.
From Elly in Oxford, England who blogs at nutmegs,seven, a delightful dish of  Stuffed Sardines with Samphire, Asparagus and Jersey Royals. Often called "sea asparagus", samphire grows in rocky salt sprayed coastal areas in Northern England or in marsh areas. Combined with asparagus, Jersey Royal potatoes and a mix of broad beans and edamame makes this a perfect side dish for the fragrant bulgur wheat stuffing encased in the sardine fillets.

A recipe created to serve 12, Pam from sidewalkshoes roasts some red potatoes, fingerling potatoes, carrots and onions for her Lemon-Chive Roasted Potatoes using garlic chives from the abundant supply in her  herb garden. Fresh lemon rind and juice add a fresh tartness to the roasted veggies. Pam blogging from her home in Tennessee enlightens us with the fact that garlic chives and regular chives do not grow well together, the former completely overtaking the latter.

In Chicago, one of my favorite cities to visit, Kalinda teaches us how to "supreme" the crimson flesh of the blood orange to make a colorful bloodorangeandradishsalad topped with chopped hazelnuts and drizzled with honey. To supreme the orange takes a bit of practice, but the effort is worth it.

Taking advantage of a bargain on watercress, Janet of thetastespace-steam, boil, shake! creates an Asian Chickpea and Edamame bean with Watercress and  Shiitake Mushroom stir-fry redolent with ginger and soy flavors. Spinach or Swiss Chard can be substituted for the watercress.

California grown green almonds are only available for  about 8 weeks beginning in late April and ending mid June. Yasmeen of HealthNut takes advantage of this brief time to create a quick dish-Green Almonds Soba Noodles Stir-fry. With the texture of a firm grape, green almonds are a delicious and healthy snack, but also make a great addition to salads and stir fries.

Claire of ChezCayenne who blogs in Houston creates a greencurrypaste using the herb, cilantro which she feels overpowers food unless it's used in dish with equal strong flavors. There are many brands of purchased green curry paste, but there's nothing like the homemade version. Kaffir lime leaves are an essential ingredient in the green curry paste and Claire shares with us a photo of her dwarf citrus trees, including a prized Kaffir lime tree.

Drizzled with a fresh thyme lemon vinaigrette, these light and healthy Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Short Stacks will make you forget about the much beloved, but loaded with cheese, eggplant Parmesan. Krista,who has a passion for foods coming from the earth, blogs at TheBeetReporter. Using various spices to enhance fresh fruits and vegetables is a vital part of Krista's cooking.

Perfectly beautiful and flawless padron peppers are pan-fried, then sprinkled with pink Murray River salt and according to Edward from Melbourne, one is gambling with padrons when enjoying these peppers as one is seven can be searingly hot. Blogging at Tomato-Melbourne+Food+Drink, Edward suggests a crisp textural white wine to accompany the fried peppers.

Haalo of CookAlmostAnything prepares luscious Rum Babas soaked in a dried blueberry rum sauce. Dried blueberries have more of an intense blueberry flavor and retain the nutrients during the drying process. Babas are traditionally mushroom shaped, but Haalo bakes her babas in a canele mold so they are more elongated.  Rum Babas are a Christmas tradition in my house and I'm sure my family will love the dried blueberry sauce.

It's a rarity for me to find at my farmers market beautiful green zucchini with the blossoms still attached, so I envy Simona who prepares for us a delectable zucchini frittata. Simona who blogs at Briciole has made countless frittatas using her mother's recipe which calls for slicing the zucchini, but now grates her zucchini for the frittata.

My contribution to Weekend Herb Blogging is a Thai Chicken and Coconut Curry Soup with chopped Thai basil added at the end of the cooking process to add a fresh anise like flavor to the soup. Thai basil is easy to grow and is an integral part of many Asian dishes. The soup is served over basmati rice and garnished with more Thai basil, chopped fresh onion and diced mango.

Host for Weekend Herb Blogging #285 is  Graziana from Erbe in Cucina.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Easy Thai Chicken and Coconut Curry Soup with Thai Basil- WHB#284

Print Friendly and PDF “Pounding fragrant things -- particularly garlic, basil, parsley -- is a tremendous antidote to depression. But it applies also to juniper berries, coriander seeds and the grilled fruits of the chilli pepper. Pounding these things produces an alteration in one's being -- from sighing with fatigue to inhaling with pleasure. The cheering effects of herbs and alliums cannot be too often reiterated. Virgil's appetite was probably improved equally by pounding garlic as by eating it.”
The late Patience Gray, co-author of Plats du Jour and author of Honey From a Weed

A staple in Thai cuisine and other Asian dishes, Thai basil has beautiful reddish purple stems with deep green leaves which exude an anise fragrance and flavor. When left to bloom, delicate purple pink flowers appear and make lovely herbal flower arrangements. For culinary use, it is recommended that you cut off the flowers as the energy expended producing buds depletes the flavor of the leaves.

Thai basil, a member of the mint family is an easy to grow herb that loves the sunlight and with its strong stems stands up well against wind and rain. Water daily in the heat, but take care not to overwater this herb as the leaves will yellow. Fertilize with a fish emulsion and seaweed solution. Thai basil and rosemary are companion plants and grow well together and prefer the same well-drained soil and fertilizer.

When harvesting Thai basil, begin early in the day when the leaves are more flavorful. Water the plant well first, then harvest the leaves. The leaves are short lived and should be used within a few days. To preserve the leaves, freeze in ice cube trays filled with water, then transfer when frozen solid
to a freezer-proof plastic bags.

Although used more often for pesto, a few sprigs of Thai basil steeped in white wine vinegar will perk up a vinaigrette dressing.  Medicinally, Thai basil is used as an antidepressant and has many antiseptic uses. Oils from the leaves rubbed on the skin repel mosquitoes and other insects. Thai basil oil is an ingredient in many massage oils which are said to aid in depression.

Adding chopped Thai basil at the end of cooking this easy Thai Chicken and Coconut Curry Soup adds a fresh licorice like herbal flavor to the finished product. Serve in soup bowl with hot cooked Basmati or Jasmine rice. Squeeze some fresh lime juice over and garnish with slivered fresh green onions, slivered red bell pepper and a Thai basil sprig.Although not traditional, chopped fresh mango adds a sweet flavor to this mildly picante soup.

Thai Chicken and Coconut Curry Soup

2 teaspoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 piece fresh ginger, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon green curry paste
1-14 ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-1/2 chunks
4 cups chicken stock
2 teaspoons brown sugar

1 lime, juiced 
2 green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Thai basil

 Red bell pepper, sliced thin 
Green onion, julienned or chopped
Mango, peeled and chopped
Sprig of Thai basil
Lime wedges
Cooked Basmati or Jasmine rice

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the oil. When heated, add garlic, carrot and fresh diced ginger. Cook for 5 minutes, taking care not to brown garlic. Mix in 1/4 can coconut milk, stirring constantly and bring to a boil. Mix in the curry paste. Add chicken pieces, stir to coat well.

Reduce heat to medium low and add chicken stock. When mixture is heated, add remainder of coconut milk, brown sugar and green onions. Cook over medium low heat until chicken has cooked thoroughly. Stir in chopped Thai basil. 

To serve: In a deep bowl, ladle soup over 1/2 cup cooked rice.Squeeze a lime wedge over soup. Garnish with red bell pepper, green onion,  mango and sprig of Thai basil. Serves 4 generously. 

This is my entry into WHB #284 begun by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen and now managed by Haalo of Cook (Almost) Anything Once and hosted by yours truly.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Maple-Cornmeal Drop Biscuits

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Drop biscuits were probably created by accident around 1850 when a pioneer cook put too much milk in her biscuit dough and therefore, had to use a spoon to drop the dough onto the pan instead of rolling and cutting the dough. That's just my theory, however, but I remember when my grandma was in a hurry, we got drop biscuits instead of her traditional ones. These maple cornmeal drop biscuits are indeed a "cross between a featherlight cornbread and a flaky scone". Using stone ground cornmeal gives these slightly sweet biscuits a sandy, rustic texture which adds to its appeal. Perfect slathered with sweet cream butter and served with a large dollop of cherry preserves, these biscuits are best enjoyed the same day they are made. I like them split, buttered and toasted as my grandma used to make.

Thanks to Lindsey of A Little Something....Sweet for choosing a super easy, but delicious recipe for TWD. The recipe is on her blog or, if you have the book "Baking From My Home to Yours", it's on page 24.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Weekend Herb Blogging #284

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My herb garden is beginning to thrive with the warm weather we are having now here in Georgia, so it's a perfect time for me to host Weekend Herb Blogging #284. WHB, as it is known, was created by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen. After three very successful years, Haalo of Cook Almost Anything took over the managerial duties and has done a superb job.

The complete rules are here, but basically, informative posts are written about an herb or a plant that is the main ingredient of a recipe or a post which highlights a particular herb or plant with information on how it is used in cooking. Posts can also be a combination of the two criteria. Posts can be written at anytime this week, but must be emailed to me- lynnyluATgmailDOTcom -by 5pm EST Sunday, May 22. Looking forward to all your lovely photos and recipes. 

Something exotic with Thai basil will be my contribution to WHB #284. Not sure what it will be yet, but hope it will be delicious and I can share some information about the herb, how it's grown and used in a culinary way. See you soon!

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Brown Sugar Bundt Cake

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Peggy from Pantry Revisited chose the Brown Sugar Bundt Cake for this edition of Tuesdays with Dorie and what a delicious choice! What's so great about this cake is that it's better after a day of sitting so the ingredients meld together. A perfect cake to make ahead for guests. The cake has ground nuts, either walnuts or almonds, some dried and fresh fruit folded in a butter brown sugar batter with vanilla and almond flavorings. Check out Peggy's blog for the recipe and the Tuesdays with Dorie website to see more variations on this great bundt cake. 

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 
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