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I watched Rachael Ray recently and saw some really neat ideas. I switched it up and came up with one of my own. Not eating red meat doesn't mean I have forgotten how wonderful a grilled steak tastes. We all know whatever we are eating, it's the flavor that makes the meal.
When grilling, you can baste the food with an array of different herbs tied to end of a wooden spoon. Even if it's just barbecue sauce, spices or the same mixture your family likes, using the herbs transfers the flavor to the food each time you baste. After you get done, just chop up the herbs. Add them to a salad, a garnish or put on the side for extra flavor, if desired. I will be doing this with everything I grill or cook in the oven.
When I cook, I let it set, absorbing the marinade. I have done this since living in the South. Spices, onions, garlic and now olive oil makes everything better. When you put whatever you are cooking on top of chopped onions, herbs or garlic, the meal gets a delightful taste to both sides evenly.
When starting out at a lower temperature, you'll notice how much leaner and moister things taste. I love the crisp of things like asparagus. If you do also, just turn up the heat towards the end. Chicken or steaks can be started slow then turned up, cooking it thoroughly with retaining all of the spices and seasonings added.
The idea on the show was taken to a new leval for me. I season every thing, put it all on a bed of onions, etc. The guest on RR showed what he called "seasoning the board." When he was grilling, he put chopped herbs, onions, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper and red pepper on a chopping board. He rubbed it onto the board, finishing it with a crisp squeeze of lemon. When the meat was done, he just put it on the board, using it for serving plate. I think you can do this with a cookie sheet also. What it does it allow the food to absorb the seasoning, never drying out! Just chop the herbs used for basting and add it to the mixture. It is taking what I already do putting a whole new twist on it.
I love good food, seasoning it what makes it your own. I hope you also try this. I know my chicken breasts are tender and seasoned to perfection. Grilling with the family would be only thing I can think of to make it better.
By Luana M. from San Diego, CA
If you're looking to enliven your holiday staples, skip the recipe overhaul and think minor tweaks with greenery.
Fresh herbs are a fast and simple way to enhance tried-and-true recipes, even ones already heavily seasoned with dried herbs. Switching to fresh can give a dish a whole new feel and flavor.
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Pattie from Seattle, WA
Here are some tips for harvesting your herbs:
I recommend a great book called the Bountiful Container by McGee and Stuckey. It is about growing edibles attractively in containers. All herbs, fruits, vegetables, and edible flowers are discussed in detail from planting to harvesting with recipes.
Simply harvest by pruning about a third to a half of the leaves/stalks which will also spawn thicker new growth. If the herbs are perennials make sure to bring them indoors during the winter and keep in a sunny location, water accordlingly and continue to harvest.
My favorite thing is basil wraps, take a leaf of basil, a sliver of ham, a sliver of cheese, wrap it up and use toothpick to tie together. Yummy. I also use fresh mint in my lemonade everyday. I make reg lemonade and add a handfull of freshly washed mint leaves to the gallon.
I harvest the dill by either taking the weed (leaves) off of several plants leaving the stalk and some leaves intact or the seed head by breaking it off from the stalk after it begins to form the seed. I harvest basil by snipping the amount needed for that day before flowers start to form. With parsley I take just the stalks of leaves needed prefably from the outside of the plant. Chives I snip as much as needed before the flowers form. I just planted rosemary the other day so I'm not quite sure about that one yet. Hope this helps.
I harvest the dill by either taking the weed (leaves) off of several plants leaving the stalk and some leaves intact or the seed head by breaking it off from the stalk after it begins to form the seed. I harvest basil by snipping the amount needed for that day before flowers start to form. With parsley I take just the stalks of leaves needed prefably from the outside of the plant. Chives I snip as much as needed before the flowers form. Mint I just cut a few stalks. I try and do all of my herb harvesting in the morning before the sun gets to hot but the dew has dried. I just planted rosemary the other day so I'm not quite sure about that one yet. Hope this helps.
You can even start new basil plants by cutting off the top leaves with a bit of stem, and placing the stem in water. It will develop roots and then you can plant it.
I maintained my herbs in containers (had to move them this summer back to my home in MI.) I brought them in and placed them in a sunny kitchen window. Any tips on keeping them healthy through the winter indoors?