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The Rub on Spices

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Herbs and Spices Add More Than Just Flavor By Rebecca Taggart For thousands of years, spices have been sought after for their flavor, medicinal qualities, status, and novelty. And while spices no longer inspire the kind of exploration, trade, and wars they did in the 15th Century, researchers are now finding a different kind of [...]

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Rosemary for Remembrance

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By Heidi Lewis In Hamlet, Shakespeare’s Ophelia dispenses some crazy wisdom in the scene when she hands out flowers and herbs: “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.” Miss O might’ve been referring to one of rosemary’s properties, known since ancient times—its ability to improve memory. Sprigs of rosemary were used as a symbol of remembrance and [...]

Preparation Tips

Strip leaves from branches or sprigs by pulling through your fingers in the opposite direction of the leaves. Use whole leaves or chop finely. Branch and all can be tossed into soups or stews. Rosemary is durable in the cooking process, but best added near the end. A good thing to remember.

Storage Tips

Place fresh stems in a jar in the fridge with a bit of water—like flowers in a vase—and place a plastic bag loosely over top. Or wrap stems in a damp paper towel and place the whole bunch in a plastic bag in the fridge.
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Chive Blossoms

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Purple puffs puff. How preposterous their purple heads float on the chive stem, looking like lollipops. Oniony lollipops that is. Yes, these blooms are pretty and edible. The blossoms have a flavor similar to the chives themselves — try on a salad or in an omelette.

Preparation Tips

Remove the main stem so the separate petals or florets detach, and spindle in salads for a dash of color and chive flavor.

Storage Tips

Place stems of chive blossoms in glass of water, like flowers in a vase.
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The FruitGuys Tips: Uses for Fresh Parsley

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Parsley is high in vitamins A, C, and K, and abundant in chlorophyll, which provides its well-known breath-freshening power. After discarding the stems, chop fresh parsley and use in salads, soups, pastas, egg dishes, veggie roasts, and more. Store for up to a week in a plastic bag in the fridge with stems wrapped in [...]

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What’s in Season January 2013

roasted parsnips

Here’s what regional farms will be harvesting this month, from The FruitGuys produce buyers: WEST California is lucky to have fresh picked produce even in the winter! We have clementines, mandarins, and tangerines, in so many varieties, shapes, and sizes! Look out for Cara Cara oranges from Homegrown Organics. Grapefruits and Minneola tangelos are also coming [...]

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Tarragon

tarragon

Tarragon is one of the four fines herbes (parsley, chives, tarragon and chervil), the pillars of French cooking. Tarragon is one of the main flavoring ingredients of Béarnaise and other creamy sauces. Its flavor is rich and bittersweet, with hints of licorice and mint.

Preparation Tips

A little of this versatile herb goes a long way—too much can overwhelm a recipe. It pairs well with poultry and egg dishes, and is used to flavor salads, rice dishes, veggies, and infused vinegars. When used in cooking, add it in toward the end of the cooking time.

Storage Tips

Tarragon freezes well—rinse and dry, and freeze whole sprigs. No need to defrost before using.
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The Thyme Space Continuum

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By Heidi Lewis Dateline, Oxford Lecture Hall; Stephen Hawking presenting: “Quantum theory introduces a new idea, that of imaginary time. One can picture it in the following way. One can think of ordinary, real time as a horizontal line. On the left, one has the past, and on the right, the future. But there’s another [...]

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New Potatoes with Green Herbs

new potatoes with cream

Adapted from epicurious.com, courtesy of Capay Valley Farm Shop INGREDIENTS 1 1/2 pounds new potatoes 2 tablespoons butter 1/2 bunch basil, minced (or substitute parsley, dill, or cilantro) 2 large shallots, spring onions, or 1/2 red onion, diced 2 large garlic cloves, minced Salt and pepper to taste Sour cream or plain yogurt (optional) PREPARATION [...]

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Herbed Broccoli Salad

Adapted from www.chow.com INGREDIENTS 1/4 cup olive oil 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley or 1  1/2 tablespoons dried parsley 2 tablespoons brined capers, minced 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 medium shallot, minced 3 cups broccoli, stems removed and chopped into small florets Salt and pepper PREPARATION Bring a medium pot of heavily salted [...]

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Zucchini Boats

Adapted from www.chow.com INGREDIENTS 2–3 finely chopped shallots 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced 2–3 medium zucchini, ends trimmed Mushrooms Cherry tomatoes Bell peppers 1/2 tablespoon basil 1/4 tablespoon oregano 1/4 cup parmesan cheese PREPARATION Cut squash in half lengthwise. With small melon baller, start about 1/2 inch from end and scoop out middle of [...]

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Indoor Kitchen Herb Garden

herbs growing in window sill

Some folks cook by the book, and some cooks shoot from the hip. A couple of pots of herbs on a windowsill can supply you with an easy pinch of this or that and add color and aroma to your kitchen. All you need to grow herbs is a sunny window; southeast exposure is ideal. [...]

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Up with Parsley!

Italian Parsley

Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) needs a good PR agency. For years parsley sadly clung to the edge of entree platters and was stuffed into deli display cases to make the other food look “fresh.”  Yet parsley not only tastes good, but is loaded with vitamins as well. Parsley is native to the Mediterranean.  It has been [...]

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Sage

Wise in many ways, sage is.

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Jedi-Sage

This lovely herb is as pleasant to look at as it is to touch, and easy to identify as its name is its color. The tannins and oils in sage leaves have many useful characteristics, including antiseptic properties.

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