Simple Hints for Herbal Cooking
Here are some hints to help you incorporate fresh herbs into your cooking:
~ Rub chopped, fresh herbs like marjoram or lemon basil into fish before grilling
~ Add a teaspoon of chopped, fresh basil or dill to a cup of mayonnaise for a special spread
~ Sprinkle omelets with fresh minced herbs before folding, or add to scrambled eggs. Try herb and cheese combinations like feta cheese and oregano, or Parmesan and basil.
~ Add a teaspoon or so of chopped mint to a pot of split pea or lentil soup.
~ Rosemary and lemon basil or lemon thyme go great with chicken.
~ Sprinkle chopped, fresh herbs such as Mexican Mint Marigold (Mexican tarragon), parsley or dill on your green salad before tossing
Basic Herb Butter
1/2 pound butter or margarine, softened
1 tablespoon fresh chives
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
1 tablespoon other fresh herb
or a combination of 2 or 3 herbs
Chop herbs very fine with scissors or chef’s knife, or in a food processor. Work butter with spoon, rubber spatula or fork until smooth. Stir in finely chopped herbs. Taste, and add more herbs if flavors are not strong enough. Keep in mind, that flavors will develop more fully with several hours of storage. Be sure to remove any large stems. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.
Note: herb butters may be melted for use, but take care when heating, especially when broiling, as fresh herbs burn easily.
Experiment with other additions such as: Lemon juice; Dijon mustard; Dry mustard; Paprika;
Finely chopped bay leaf; 1-2 cloves crushed garlic
Use your own judgment to determine amounts. Start small, you can always add more. Taste often.
Basic Herb Salad Dressing
1/4 c. wine vinegar
1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon mustard (Dijon-style or prepared)
2 to 3 tablespoons freshly chopped herbs*
1/2 c. good olive oil
1 garlic clove
Blend all ingredients, except the garlic, thoroughly with a whisk or fork. Let the flavors blend at room temperature. Rub the salad bowl with the freshly cut halves of the garlic clove. Add washed and dried assorted crispy greens. Pour the whisked-up dressing over the greens and serve promptly.
*Try equal parts basil, parsley, thyme and oregano
OR equal parts basil, savory, thyme
OR thyme, chives, basil
OR try your own combinations.
Serves: 48 cookies Preparation Time: 1 hour
These are minty, buttery cookies with a bit of a crunch. They are great for tea time, that grand
These cookies should be stored in an airtight container. Buttermint cookies can also be frozen to
serve later to unexpected company… or yourself!
• 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
• 2/3 cup sugar
• 1 large egg
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
• 2 cups unbleached flour
• 2 tablespoons minced fresh peppermint or orange mint leaves (if using dried mint leaves, use
only 1 Tablespoon)
• pinch of salt
Cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the egg and the extracts. Gradually mix in the flour, then stir
in the minced fresh peppermint and salt. The dough will be soft.
Divide the dough into three parts. Using waxed paper or plastic wrap, shape each portion into a
cylinder about 1 inches (3 cm) in diameter. Chill the rolled dough for at least an hour. If you are
in a hurry you may place it in the freezer for twenty minutes instead.
Preheat the oven to 350° F (175° C). Remove the cylinders one-at-a-time from the refrigerator
or freezer for processing, keeping the others cool. Take off the waxed paper or plastic wrap and
slice the dough into 1/2” inch (1 cm) rounds.
Place the cookies on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for about ten minutes, until the cookies
are a light brown. Avoid over baking.
Immediately removes the cookies from the sheets and cool on a wire rack.
Note: If you don’t want little pieces of mint in your cookies, place the mint (fresh or dried) with
the sugar in a closed container for a few days. Discard the mint, use the flavored sugar.
SHORTBREAD COOKIES WITH THYME
This recipe calls for fresh herbs. If you use dried herbs, use half as much as listed.
• 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon butter
• 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
• 1 1/2 cups flour
• 1 teaspoon lemon zest
• 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
• 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
Extra confectioners’ sugar
Cream the butter and sugar together by hand or in a food processor.
Add the flour, lemon zest, rosemary, and thyme. Knead gently to make a soft dough and chill for
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Roll the dough on a pastry cloth or lightly floured surface about 3/8-
inch thick, and cut into diamonds, circles, or free forms. Pinching the edges, pie fashion, will
create an attractive crinkle.
Place the cookies on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cookies are
lightly golden. It is important not to over bake.
Sprinkle lightly with the extra confectioners’ sugar while the cookies are hot. Cool on a rack.
Yields 2–3 dozen cookies, depending on the cuts
~~From Herbal Sweets: A Fresh from the Garden Cookbook by Ruth Bass (©1996 by Storey
Communications, Inc.; published by Storey Publishing).