Herbs abound

Posted by Chie

I have a small herb garden with lemon thyme, sage, parsley and rosemary. My partner grows cilantro, which is sensitive to heat and bolts when the weather changes. When we’re able to harvest it on time, it’s dark green with chlorophyll and is the most fragrant cilantro you’ve ever tasted.

Cilantro grown by Rising River Farm

The fresh, tender-leaved herbs such as cilantro, basil, Italian parsley, mint and dill I use regularly in the warmer months for salads, condiments, a mouth freshener and even using for a little wrap to pick up a bite of smoked salmon – “pinchy pockets” we call them. Just a few small sprigs of dill, mint, or basil in a green salad adds flair. When sauteeing vegetables, I like to add some fresh chopped oregano or basil for a little wow. Try adding fresh basil to fried rice as well.

I use the heartier herbs in stews and add them to roasted vegetables. And many are medicinal. Thyme, sage and rosemary have anti-bacterial properties that aid us through the colder months and seasonal transitions.

Basil grown by Kirsop Farm

Today I’m sharing a versatile compound butter recipe for fish, poultry, veggies, and grains. Try with coconut butter if you avoid dairy or don’t eat butter. Create your own combinations and enjoy!

Herbed butter

1 stick unsalted organic butter*, cool but softened

½ bunch fresh thyme

1/3 bunch fresh sage

1/3 bunch fresh rosemary

3 -6 cloves garlic, mashed to a paste

Celtic sea salt

freshly ground black pepper


1 stick unsalted organic butter, cool but softened

1 bunch basil leaves, chopped

½ bunch cilantro, chopped

1 lime or lemon, zest and juice

3 – 6 cloves garlic, mashed to a paste

Celtic sea salt

Place all ingredients in a medium bowl. Whisk with a fork until well combined. Use immediately or form into a log shape on one side of a piece of parchment paper. Roll in the paper and pinch in the sides. Tape if necessary. This can be refrigerated or frozen to store. Enjoy by cutting chunks for veggies, fish, roasted chicken or grains.

*Butter is sometimes shunned for its high content of saturated fats. It’s tasty and has been around for a long time. I think there must be something to that. Butter and coconut oils are what I use to cook with most of the time. Our bodies need fats to absorb nutrients from veggies. I recommend The Good Fat Cookbook by Fran McCullough to learn more about “whole foods” fats.

Ceci salad

4-6 cups cooked chick peas**

2 bunches spinach or chard , washed and stems trimmed off if using a bunch of spinach. Baby spinach can be used as well.

½ bunch fresh oregano leaves, chopped

Balsamic vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Have a bowl of ice water ready near by. Blanch the cleaned spinach or chard by tossing it into the water and stirring for a minute or so, just until wilted. Drain and plunge the drained greens into the ice water (shock) for about a minute. Drain and gently squeeze the liquid out. Chop into bite-sized pieces.

Combine chick peas, greens and oregano.

When thoroughly combined, add some of the vinaigrette and taste. Keep adding to adjust to your liking. Let the salad sit for 1 hour or so for the flavors to marry. Enjoy!

*Canned will work but I like to cook my own. I usually cook a pot of beans every week so I can make variations with them for a quick meal throughout the week. If you have a crock pot, it takes longer to cook, but works well. [Jenni’s note: I cook them in a pressure cooker. I soak overnight and cook on high pressure for about 18 minutes.] To cook dried beans, pick through and discard rocks and dirt clumps, if any. Wash well and soak overnight. Drain and rinse well. Place in a medium pot and bring to a boil, skimming off any foam. Turn down to a simmer and cook until just starting to soften. Add salt and cook until easily mashed with a fork.

Balsamic vinaigrette

½ c balsamic vinegar

1 tsp Dijon mustard

2 cloves garlic

½ c extra virgin olive oil

½ – 1 tsp honey

1 tsp Celtic sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients into a jar with a lid. Shake well. Enjoy!

Making herbed butter