Sunday, April 06, 2008

Cooking with Herbs, Plants, Veggies, and Flowers: WHB #127

It's Weekend Herb Blogging #127 this week, and it's hard to believe three months have gone by since I've hosted Weekend Herb Blogging, and 24 people are still on the list to host, which means I'll still be sticking to my every-three-months schedule for a while.

There's a surprise with this recap because I've finally succumbed to peer pressure and done a recap with photos. Yes, I know that some of you love the photos! This was something that was out of the question time-wise when I was doing the recap more frequently. It's time consuming to copy, re-size, and optimize this many photos, and I've never been able to decide whether I think the photos are an incentive or a disincentive to click through to the original post, so I'm not sure still if I'll do it every time! With so many photos, I've optimized them so the post won't be slow to load, so click through to the site to see them as they were done by the photographer. One thing that's no surprise at all is that there's a magnificent array of interesting dishes again this week, so let's move on and talk about the food.

Arbi (Taro)
I'm always learning new things from WHB and I didn't know that taro is also called arbi until I read this post from Srivalli at Cooking 4 All Seasons. Judging from the comments, Arvi Fry must be delicious, and this recipe for Fried Arbi in a Rich Gravy certainly sounds like it would taste wonderful.

Arugula, Chickpeas
Sher from What Did You Eat has been getting requests for easy recipes (with no chopping!) so this week she's given us a completely fabulous easy dish of Chickpeas with Arugula and Sherry. Chickpeas and arugula in the same dish, what a great combination!

Arugula, Apples
Arugula may be the featured herb in the Parmesan Wafer Salad from Patricia at Technicolor Kitchen, but don't miss the Parmesan Wafer, a kind of cheesy cracker which tops a delicious salad. I love the sound of this salad garnish, especially with yummy arugula.

Basil, Assorted Veggies
I adore basil in any form, and the Warm Vegetable Salad with Basil Dressing from The Kitchen Playground sounded very appealing. The salad also has some of my other favorite ingredients, including Halloumi cheese which I'm falling in love with.

Basil, Thyme, Saffron
If you're a fan of Anna's blog Morsels and Musings, you'll be as excited as I was to learn that Anna is going off traveling this summer, since she's sure to be sharing interesting recipes she seems to discover everywhere she goes. One place she's going is Sweden where she'll have another chance to taste her featured recipe, Svensk Fisksoppa or Swedish Fish Soup, something she learned to make from her sister-in-law.

Beetroot, Mint
Temperatures are falling in the Southern hemisphere but Pam from The Backyard Pizzeria is bridging the seasons nicely with Roasted Beetroot Fattoush with Feta and Mint. This warm salad starts with leftover pita and adds all kinds of flavor interest, including sumac, one of my favorite middle eastern ingredients.

Black Beluga Lentils
I've been wanting to try the black Beluga lentils for a while now, after seeing various bloggers rave about how tasty they are, so I'm really drooling over the Spiced Black Lentils with Cilantro created by The Chocolate Lady at In Mol Araan. She's used some of my very favorite seasonings here to spice the lentils, plus there's cilantro, what more could you ask for?

Blueberries, Greens
Okay, so everyone knows blueberries are superfoods, just chock full of antioxidants, but Lisa from Lisa's Kitchen has found an easy but delicious-sounding way to eat more. She's making her salad even more appealing with the addition of blueberry vinaigrette which sounds interesting and uber-nutritious.

Buckwheat, Potatoes, Parsley
Lucky Vanessa from What Geeks Eat has just returned from visiting Paris, where she has discovered that she must have more crepes in her life. Her entry this week is a savory Buckwheat Galette, and if you're like me, you may find out you don't know what buckwheat is at all when you read this entry.

Capers
Lia from Swirling Notions is developing an obsession with capers, something I can easily see happening around here. She's tried them in lots of dishes and her featured recipe for Fall-Apart Chicken Legs with Garlic, Capers, and Pancetta sounds like a wonderful way to feed that caper urge.

Chard, Greens, Chickpeas
I was sorry to hear that my buddy Christine from Christine Cooks has suffered a dislocated tendon in one arm and is having to take it a little easy for a while. (Christine, do not overdo it. That's an order!) Of course, Christine wouldn't let a little injury like that stop her completely from cooking, so she's made a delightful-sounding Spring Vegetable Soup, using greens from her garden and pantry staples.

Chives, Parsley, Sage
I'm intrigued with the variety of delicious things that can be made with leftover bread, and Joanna from Joanna's Food has a tasty and creative idea of what to do with her bread remnants. I've never seen stuffing made quite like this, but her Forcement Balls with Three Herbs look and sound just delicious to me.

Corn
I love seeing how familiar ingredients are used in other parts of the world, and when Arfi from HomeMadeS sent a post about Bakwan Jagung or Indonesian Corn Fritters, it made me think of my own mom's corn fritters. Don't miss the charming comments here about Arfi's own memories related to eating corn.


Eggplant
Last summer I discovered grilled eggplant and went from being eggplant-indifferent to being eggplant-enthusiastic, so I was loving the looks of the Grilled Eggplant from Pepy at The Art and Science of Food. I'm impressed with her completely perfect grill marks, truly a work of art!

Fennel
You can count on seeing some gorgeous photos when you visit Haalo's Cook (almost) Anything At Least Once, and her photos of the (possibly male and female?) fennel from this entry are no exception. I'm a huge fan of anything with mayo, so her recipe this week for Fennel Remoulade shot to the top of my "must try" list.

Fennel, Apple, Celery
I think Susan from Food Blogga is always an amusing writer in her posts, and this time she has an interesting story about how she has *almost* created a new blog event. I won't give anything away except to tell you that there's a wonderful-sounding recipe for Apple, Fennel, and Celery Salad thrown in for good measure in this delightful post.

Garlic Chives
Pam from Sidewalk Shoes has tried both hot and cold methods of making herb-infused oils, and I am suitably impressed. This time she's created Garlic Chive Infused Oil; check and see what method she likes best.

Ginger, Bok Choy, Napa Cabbage
Alanna from A Veggie Venture is always finding creative ways to use vegetables, usually with an eye to the calories and fats, since she's a committed weight watchers fan. I love the sound of her latest discovery, a delicious Asian Vegetable Soup with zero weight watchers points. (Alanna this is a perfect recipe for phase one of South Beach too, a keeper!)

Ginger, Broccoli
I was thinking about ginger this week as I tried out my new wok to create a Pork and Broccoli Stir-Fry with Ginger and Hoisin Sauce. I've also shared some tips I learned years ago when I took a class in Chinese cooking, so if you're a stir-fry novice you might enjoy reading those.

Japanese Mountain Yam
I'm intrigued by the photos of the Japanese Mountain yam in this entry from Tigerfish at Teczcape - An Escape to Food; wait until you see it. The recipe is Stir Fry Chinese Wild Yam, which sounds just delicious.

Leeks, Assorted Herbs
If you have even the slightest intention of ever cooking something with Greek Filo dough, don't miss this informative post from Laurie at Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska. Besides all the fabulous filo tips, there's also a fantastic looking recipe for Greek Leek Pie (Prasopita) which is going to make you drool.

Lima Beans, Peas
I think there's something very appealing about the dish of Spring Orzo with Lima Beans and Peas created by Chris of Mele Cotte. If you're used to thinking of lima beans as only being for winterish soups, check out how Chris brings them into a new season.

Meyer Lemons
True, I'm not a big dessert eater, but as I confessed to Wandering Chopsticks, if I was going to eat a dessert it would be something lemon or lime, so the Meyer Lemon Shortbread Bars she's featuring this week would be right up my alley. Don't miss the fabulous step-by-step photos in this post if you'd like to make a yummy treat like this.

Mizuna Mustard Greens
The beautiful blooming mustard flowers near their home in Southern California have inspired White on Rice Couple to cook something with mustard greens. They're sharing information about the three kinds of mustard greens (who knew?) and they've chosen mizuna mustard greens for their delicious Vietnamese-inspired dish of Salad of Grilled Shrimp and Wilted Mizuna Mustard Greens.

Okra
Neen from Post Collegiate Cooking a Deux has a visiting guest blogger this week (her dad!) Seems like a handy guy to have around, as he's whipped up a tasty sounding dish of Braised Okra with Tomatoes, Onions, and Spices.

Oregano
Jennifer at Like to Cook has decided to feature oregano this week, and she's got some good information about this under-appreciated herb. She's used her oregano for Homemade Pizza Sauce with Oregano, which sounds perfectly seasoned for pizza to me.

Parsley, Golden Raisins
Elizabeth from Blog From Our Kitchen wasn't sure about including golden raisins in the dish of Nigella's Chicken that's become such a favorite around her house, but she had no doubts about the curly parsley that gives such a fresh taste to this dish. I was relieved to read that I'm not the only food lover who thinks curly parsley is just the greatest, and there's a lot of good parsley info in this post.

Potatoes, Mango, Ginger
A spicy soy-sauce based sweet and sour sauce served over potatoes and garnished with mango, that's the game plan for the recipe of Sweet and Sour Potatoes with Mango that Mansi has created at Fun and Food. Everything about this sounds like it would work perfectly together.

Ramsons
If you don't know anything about Ramsons, you must read this informative post from Almond Corner, located in Switzerland. I don't think I've heard of this plant, but Chriesi says in the comments that it's quite common in that part of Europe.

Red Rice, Jasmine
You'll always find something interesting if you visit the blog of Virginie from Absolutely Green, and this time she's featuring a type of Red Rice with Jasmine. Even more surprising is that this particular rice is grown and packaged in France; scroll down for English if you can't read French!

Ridgegourd and Toor Dhall
I'm intrigued by Indian cooking, if still fairly intimidated by many of the ingredient names I don't recognize, but I do know that ridgegourd is a vegetable I've never eaten. Divya from Dil Se has used it in a dish called Peerkangai Kootu which looks delicious, and there's a bonus recipe for puliparuppi too.

Rye Flour, Assorted Herbs

There's a double dose of herbs in the entry from Simona of Briciole. First she makes a delicious sounding panne alle erbe or herb bread, using rye flour, and then the leftover bread is transformed into delicious-sounding knodel, a gnocchi type ball made with left over bread, and more fresh herbs for extra flavor.

Shiso

Shiso is an herb with many uses that I've always wanted to try, and I'm still hoping to run into it sometime in Utah. Meanwhile, you can learn more about Shiso and get a great recipe for Shiso Noodle Salad from Kate at Veggie Friendly, who also suggests other ingredients to substitute in this delicious-sounding salad if you can't find shiso.

Sorrel

I loved the flavor of sorrel when I tried it in a salad, so I would love to taste the fabulous-looking Sorrel Pie or Zeljanica created by Marija of Palachinka. This dish also features a very unique type of Serbian cheese; don't miss reading about it.

Spinach, Lemon, Green Garlic

Katie from Thyme for Cooking has exercise on the brain, but she stops thinking about her former spa experiences long enough to whip up a spa-worthy Lemon Spinach and Chicken Salad. The addition of green garlic here as a seasoning makes this recipe even more perfect for spring!

Sprouted Wheat Flour
Next week WHB will be hosted at the always fascinating Jugalbandi, and this week the amazing pair of Jai and Bee have featured Sprouted Wheat Flour, an interesting ingredient which can take the place of diastalic malt, useful for helping bread to have a better gluten structure. There's a great ingredient for making your own bread flour, and I guarantee you'll learn a lot from this post!

Star Anise, Cilantro, Basil, Lime
I decided to list the recipe for Vietnamese Pho Soup sent by Erin from The Skinny Gourmet under star anise, since she mentioned in the comments that she thinks that's an essential component in the broth for this quintessentially Vietnamese dish. Erin and her husband experimented to get this just right when they were living in Ghana and couldn't find a Vietnamese restaurant anywhere!

Tomatoes, Red Bell Peppers, Garbanzos, Artichokes
It's lambing season over at Farmgirl Fare, and Farmgirl Susan's food-loving mom is visiting. Since there's no time for trips to the store, Susan (and Mom!) have whipped up a delicious and freezer-friendly Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Soup with Onions, Garlic, Garbanzo Beans, and Artichokes, with a side dish of lambing with your mom.

Thyme, Leeks, Spinach, Mushrooms
Thyme is an ingredient you might not think of when it comes to omelettes, but I love the sound of this Market Omelette, from Ruth at Once Upon a Feast. It's seasoned with thyme and also includes lots of other wonderfully flavorfully ingredients, perfect for Saturday morning.

Watercress, Pao Shen, and Wolfberries
An interesting-sounding soup recipe with some unusual ingredients is the Watercress Soup from Noob Cook. I listed it under watercress, but among the other very interesting soup ingredients are wolfberries and pao shen, and I'm betting I'm not the only WHB reader who doesn't know what pao shen is.
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34 comments:

  1. I certainly wouldn't promote you having to work any harder than you already do, Kalyn, but I think the photos really enhance your already great roundup!

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  2. Hi Kalyn
    Thanks for this recap. I do like it in this new version, organized by herbs and with photos. Thanks for this extra-work.

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  3. excellent roundup. appreciate all the detail that you provide in the synopsis for each submission. see you at our place next week! -jai

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  4. Sorrel pie, Leek pie, ridge gourd with toor dal? This is the most intriguing whb in a while, and it is ALWAYS intriguing!
    Thanks for the wonderful roundup, and for the pictures, which are a help to me, anyway.

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  5. What a wonderful round-up. I like pictures too, and I know how much work it is. Thanks for all the work!

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  6. I'm not that familiar with blogger - but Typepad will resize the photos when you upload them tp eliminate that extra step - just a thought...
    Thanks for the extra work - it looks lovely...and delicious.
    My cereal just isn't doing it for my this morning....

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  7. Kalyn, I love having the photos - it's so much more inspirational to get a preview of what the recipe is about. Thank you for going to the trouble of including them.

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  8. Thanks for the round up!

    Ha, and I'm not sure to say anything about the photos. Well....they are definitely pleasing to look at (in fact, they are so beautifully taken and I love them) but....THEY MAKE ME HUNGRY! It's my own fault for not being able to control myself after looking at the photos and your vivid description of the food.

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  9. Hee, I didn't dawn on me that 'pao shen' is an unusual herb in US, I thought it might be quite common as it's called 'short american ginseng'. Guess these are stuff we took for granted. Watercress soup is pretty common in Chinese cuisine (or at least here).

    I live in Singapore, which is a pretty hot & humid place all year round, and 'pao shen' is one of many foods considered to have a "cooling" effect (like it can 'expel the heat' from the body). Maybe next time I will submit some Chinese herbs to WHB =D

    Anyway, thanks for the roundup links!! :D And opps, I must be the one still using the old logo, heh ;P

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  10. What a great round up! Thanks Kalyn
    *trots off to explore interesting recipes*

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  11. "magnificent array of interesting dishes" is the best description for this roundup. Everything looks wonderful. And great job including the photos -- yes, it is time-consuming. Your effort is much appreciated.

    Best,
    Paz

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  12. Kalyn, great round up, as ever ... so many delicious things to eat, the fennel, the lemons, the other bread balls ;)

    Thanks for all your hard work
    Joanna

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  13. Thanks everybody for the nice comments. I agree, this was such a great line-up of interesting dishes.
    Noob Cook, there were actually several people with the original logo, and it reminded me how much I like it. Katie, blogger will re-size the photos too, but I don't like what it does to the photo quality.

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  14. The photos are great! Thanks for taking the time to include them!!

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  15. What a wonderful round up, Kalyn! I can't choose a favorite, everything looks delicious.

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  16. a wonderful roundup Kalyn! I just love the way you get to see so many fab combinations under one roof! I'll try to be more regular in contributing from now on!:)

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  17. Excellent round up, as usual, Kalyn. I really like the way you organize the posts by featured ingredient(s).

    The photos are a very nice addition to your recap. However, it has always been (and is this time round too) your descriptions of the dishes that I really like to read.

    So many wonderful sounding dishes!! So few days in the week to make them....

    -Elizabeth

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  18. An amazing spread of wonderful recipes: well-done, Kalyn, as usual. I like the way you organize the entries.

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  19. As always, this is a great way to start a Monday....wandering through a great line up of herby dishes.

    Thanks for all the hard work.

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  20. Great round up with stellar dishes! I like the pictures, but pictures or not - I will read/participate on Sundays. :) Thanks for all your work each and every week.

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  21. What a fantastic selection of recipes and photos. I can imagine it took a while to sort.

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  22. What a tasty looking roundup!

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  23. Really, why oh why, do I read THOU such things at 5:19pm my time? It is literally painful. I am so hungry - now - for all of these fresh, gorgeous, homecooked delights - on a night when hubby is bringing home takeout. Sigh. Still, it was a fest for the eyes, just not the tummy today. Thanks. Ann

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  24. I know they take a lot of work, but I'm always happy when I see a round-up with lots of pictures. Your commentary on each one is wonderful too. It's more likely to inspire me to click over and see the recipe. Thanks for taking the time to organize everything.

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  25. Your efforts are greatly appreciated Kalyn.

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  26. Wow, there are some fabulous recipes here. There's enough here to keep us busy for the next few months!!
    Thanks for a great round up!

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  27. wow..another great recap..so many exciting looking dishes!..thanks for hosting this event Kalyn!

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  28. this is a great round-up. photos really do draw me into recipes i might have missed otherwise.
    and your notes on everyone's contribution is so detailed and thoughtful.
    thanks for the great props on my own blog too :)

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  29. Great roundup--pictures made m read for the first time!

    Just a tip on shiso. It grows wild near our house in Harpers Ferry WV by the Shenandoah river. Shiso leaves are used as garnishes in sashimi dishes at many sushi restaurants--it's jagged edges give it away, so you can get a feel for the smell.

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  30. Thanks for putting this together! I didn't get anything entered this week, but I couldn't stay away!

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  31. Kalyn, a beautiful roundup. Definitely a lot of creativity this week!

    when you do the photo roundup, do you download and size each photo onto your own account or just point to the photo's original location (one of the right click copy options) and resize with the width="x" attribute? That is what I have always done, but now I'm wondering if that slows down the load.

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  32. Erin, (and anyone else who uses Blogger) here's how I did the photos. (And after all these nice comments, I guess I'd do it again, but not too often!)

    I think the Blogger photo upload is cumbersome if you have to move photos around, so I wanted to avoid that. I also don't like to use Blogger to size photos because I think it really affects the quality.

    As the entries came in, I saved each photo and re-named the photo with the blog name so I could find them easily. I was also writing a draft post with my descriptions of the dishes throughout the week. After 3:00 on Sunday when I had all the entries, I opened that folder in Adobe Lightroom (a photo editing program that I LOVE) and if the photo was too big, I loaded it into lightroom and resized it. Then I used Adobe Fireworks to optimize any photos that were large file size (I optimize to loading time of 4 seconds with 56kbps, which is pretty small file size.)

    When I had all the post descriptions written (and sorted alphabetically by ingredient)I opened a new draft post (in a new tab in Firefox) and started at the bottom of the descriptions (because blogger loads new photos on top of old ones.) One at a time, I loaded the photo in, then copied the description from the first draft post so it went under the photo in the new post.

    I'd estimate it took me about 10 hours to do this recap with photos (spread out over a week, with maybe 3 hours each day on the weekend.) And I do have to admit, I was happy with how it turned out!

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Thanks for joining the conversation! I love hearing from readers and even though I can't always reply to every comment, I will always answer specific questions on a recipe as soon as possible.

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