Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday Night Herb Garden Photos and Recipes Using Fresh Herbs: 2010 Garden Update #2

chives growingI know this garden update all about herbs may cause herb envy for some readers who are apartment dwellers or just not gardeners. Other people may wonder what's the big deal about cooking with fresh herbs. I can hardly remember now when I first started growing herbs and cooking with them, but now I eagerly look forward to summer when I can go outside and get herbs to use in the kitchen. If you're not currently using fresh herbs in your cooking, check some of the recipe links for each herb type to see how I use my own herbs, and maybe I can inspire you to grow a few pots of something in a windowsill if you don't have a garden space!

Let's start with chives shown above, which is something I only started growing about two years ago. Chives taste a bit like a milder form of onion, and you can use them in Asparagus and Fresh Mozzarella Frittata with Parmesan and Chives or Tuscan Baked Eggs with Tomatoes, Red Onion, Garlic, Parmesan, and Herbs.

When I tried French Tarragon for the first time, I discovered I adored the slightly licoricey flavor, and now I can't imagine my herb garden without it. Try using it in Tarragon Mustard Deviled Eggs, Chicken Salad with Fresh Tarragon and Peas, or Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Tarragon-Mustard Pan Sauce.

Dill is another flavor that I'm wild about, and this year I moved my dill into the herb beds where it will get more sun so I could enjoy it longer into the season. Three of my favorite recipes using fresh dill are Mashed Cauliflower with Cheese and Dill, Cucumber and Yogurt Salad with Feta and Dill, and Leftover Salmon Salad with Feta and Dill.

Rosemary is a strong-flavored herb that pairs well with lamb, chicken, or mustard, and there's no doubt that Rosemary Mustard Grilled Chicken is one of my favorite ways to use it. Other favorites with rosemary include Artichoke-Rosemary Frittata, Roasted Butternut Squash with Rosemary, Pecans, and Gorgonzola Cheese, and Onion Gratin with Rosemary and Thyme.

No recipes yet for chervil, but thanks to a gift of seeds from Vanessa from She Craves, I'm growing some this year, and she assures me I'm going to love it. If you have recipe ideas for chervil, I'd love to hear about them.

I love both curly parsley and flat Italian parsley, and I have both in my herb beds. I use flat parsley for Middle Eastern Tomato Salad, Chimichurri Sauce for Steak, or Garlic Roasted Green Beans.

I haven't used lemon thyme that much, but my blogging friend Lydia loves it, and she gave me a great suggestion to use it in Roasted Butternut Squash with Lemon, Thyme, and Parmesan to up the lemon flavor.

Of course it wouldn't be summer without fresh basil, another herb I love to freeze, and every year I grow several rows of basil from seed. Basil Vinaigrette for Drizzling on Fresh Tomatoes is one of the reasons I think everyone should grow some basil.

While I'm waiting for my basil seeds, I always have to start the season with a few basil plants for earlier basil. Some of my other basil favorites are Tomato, Olive, and Fresh Mozzarella Salad with Basil Vinaigrette, Baked Chicken Stuffed with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto, Basil, and Goat Cheese, and Garden Cucumber Salad with Tuna and Fresh Basil.

Vanessa also gave me seeds for lemon basil and lime basil, neither of which I've used before. I'd love recipe ideas for those in the comments as well!

Mint must be the easiest herb of all to grow, even if you put it along your fence where it's often shady, don't weed it, and let the grape hyacinth take it over at the beginning of the season. I promise, my mint will get weeded soon! Meanwhile, I look forward to using it in Mango Salad with Black Beans, Avocado, Mint, and Chile-Lime Vinaigrette, Bulgur Salad with Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Parsley, Mint, and Lemon, and the fabulous recipe I got from Merritt for Cannelini Beans in Mint Marinade.

Greek Oregano seems to be able to survive the winter year after year in Utah, and it came back thriving this year when I had to buy new plants for nearly 2/3 of my herbs. I'll use this for Greek Salad with Marinated Onions and Oregano or Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Marinated Garbanzo Beans, Feta, and Herbs.

I also have this lovely golden oregano plant hanging out on the edge of the garden with my flowers, but since I have so much Greek oregano, this one doesn't get clipped nearly as much. The flavor is very similar though, so if you'd like some color with your oregano, go for this one.

Finally, marjoram was an herb I hadn't used much until my sister Sandee introduced me to Marinated Tomato Salad with Parsley and Marjoram Dressing, which I now look forward to making when I get fresh tomatoes!

I'd actually find it quite impossible to pick my very favorite herb from all my many favorites (unless it was cilantro, which doesn't grow well at all in Utah, where the summers get so hot and I have to buy my cilantro from the store!) If you do have a favorite herb, I'd love hear in the comments about which one it is and how you most enjoy using it!

See more about my 2010 garden by checking 2010 Garden Updates.
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More to Chew On:


  1. You're right about herb envy! I can't wait to have space for a garden, but I'm not sure that mine will ever be as nice as yours. My favorite herbs are cilantro and thyme, but I'm sure I'll have the same problems with cilantro once I move to Georgia.

  2. What a fantastic collection of herbs. I have used lemon basil before, but never knew that lime basil existed. I'm looking forward to seeing how you use that!

  3. I always have garden envy when I see your photos, but I'm also pleased to have some of these herbs in my garden, too. Next weekend is the weekend we can plant the tender annuals, basil especially (but I always plant parsley at the same time), and I'll plant my rosemary then, too.

  4. Katie, it took me many years to get raised beds with this many herbs, so don't give up!

    Dara, we were writing our comments at the same time I guess. I think the lime and lemon basil will be lots of fun!

    Lydia, I've seen your great garden, and I know thyme is your favorite. This year my thyme didn't survive the winter, which I could hardly believe, but my new plants look healthy!

  5. Such a fantastic variety of herbs! We started growing mint a few years ago and now we have to treat it like a weed - it pops up everywhere!

    Sooooooooo anxious for warm weather to come!!!


  6. Hi Kalyn! I am a total fresh herb addict. Like you, I have a few basil varieties I purchased as plants that I couldn't find seed for, as wel as a whole bunch of basil I started from seed about 8 weeks ago, and grew under lights until I could put them outside. I am trying lemon basil for the first time this year, although most of my "gotta have it" lemon flavor comes from lemon balm.

    I do have chervil as well, but am growing it for the first time this year. It has a fennel-ish flavor that I have tried with fish/seafood and liked with that. It probably would do well with poulty, seafood, and carrots or sweet taters. Maybe to garnish a fruit salad, as well--we'll see, maybe something with citrus-y or with berries--or a chutney? Hmmmm.

    My favorite herb, hands down, is greek oregano. I use it a lot in fresh cooking, freeze a lot for winter, AND make a greek pesto to freeze (with feta, a touch of red wine vinegar, lemon juice, and walnuts that goes great with souvlaki and psari plaki). I don't think I will ever have to worry about it's invasive properties in a garden.

  7. I have grown herbs for about 40 years. Love to run out and pinch off a piece of something. I too freeze chives, dill, and thyme. But, I have lots of new thyme this year and I will not need to supplement from the store.

    Throw a handful in a stir fry. I did last night. Anything you want the taste of lemon to shine--add lemon thyme or lemon basil. I have not tried making pesto with lemon basil though. Last year, I made about 1 qt of pesto.

    My refrig died Mother's Day and I am waiting on a special order since what they brought was too wide. I did not lose pesto or frozen herbs thank goodness. I would not be able to cook without herbs; in place of salt for me.

    I'd love some lime basil. I make herb vinegar and that sounds delicious. Purple Ruffles basil makes the most beautiful pale pink vinegar.

    All but basil and dill will grow year round here in Atlanta. A lot of my plants came from the $2 ones at the grocery store--planted sage 4 years ago; bloomed last month and now it is 4ft tall.

    A bouquet of fresh herbs in the winter makes the kitchen smell good. Recycle to the fireplace and that smells good too.

  8. Your herbs are lookin' good Kalyn! What about the rest of your garden... where are the veggies?


  9. I've been growing a few herbs for a couple of years, and it's so much fun to use them fresh from the garden. Sage is one of my favorites. Cook the leaves in hot oil for about 30 seconds and top roasted asparagus with the leaves and some shaved Parmesan.

    Thanks for the great post, Kalyn. I'm bookmarking it to try some of the recipes.

  10. Donna, I have a plastic border pounded into the ground along the edge of my mint to keep it from traveling out to the garden. I've been thinking about digging that out and growing the mint in pots even, but the border helps a lot.

    Susan, fun to hear from a fellow herb addict, and thanks for all the good ideas!

    Anonymous in Atlanta, love your ideas too, especially the herb vinegar! Very jealous that you have most of your herbs all year. It's pretty much May - October around here for most of them, although sometimes I go out and pick parsley through the snow!

    Bruno, veggies are coming, but this was turning into a long post. I have 14 tomato plants, 4 types of squash, 4 eggplants, 3 peppers, 2 cucumbers, green beans, radishes, swiss chard, kale, and collards.

    Kath, I do have sage! I forgot that I moved it into the front of the house because the plant was getting so huge for the herb bed. Love your idea of using the fried sage to flavor asparagus!

  11. Oh, Kalyn, all your herbs look splendid! I just went through a little taste party in my mind. LOL, but true! Can't wait to make lemon basil ice cream this summer. I'll get basil from a friend as I don't have herbs yet, but one day I will. :-) Thanks for such a beautiful and inspiring post this lovely Saturday morning!


  12. Shirley, I'm intrigued by the thought of lemon-basil ice cream. You must post that recipe if you try it!

  13. Year on the Grill, I knew it would happen, but like I told Katie, it took me a long time to get a garden this good. (One of the perks of being a bit "older" I guess!)

  14. What a beautiful garden tour!!! I have an apartment with a teensy deck, but I stick a few pots out there and cram them full of herbs every year. I don't have such a wide variety as you do, but I keep basil, cilantro, dill, and parsley going. Funny thing, the cilantro put out seed last year and is now coming up in the adjacent pot of morning glories, so I'll have a bumper crop of cilantro soon! (Ceviche, tacos, and salads, coming up!)

    Thanks for the advice on using tarragon and other ones that are new to me, I've never tried tarragon, but now maybe I'll have the guts....

    Georgie Fear RD

  15. Kalyn,
    Do you have lemon-thyme planted? If not, hunt some down and get it in the garden. It is my favorite of all the thymes with a lovely lemony flavor.

  16. Georgie, tarragon is wonderful! It's a strong flavor so a little goes a long ways, but great with chicken, fish, or tomatoes.

    CJ, I do have lemon thyme, first time growing it this year. Looking forward to using it.

  17. Wow, Kalyn! Those recipes alone will brighten my summer eating - thank you! And you know how I love, love, love herbs, so you don't have to sell me on them. One herb I'd love to try this summer is summer savory, but have yet to find a plant OR seeds.

  18. Katrina, if you get some summer savory I'll be interested to see how you're using it!

  19. I love to cook, but I lived in a dorm for 3 years...I hauled IKEA bags of supplies to the community kitchen, but I missed my fresh herbs (no window space for pots).

    This year I got an aerogarden (little self-contained hydroponic garden) and I love it...they are a bit expensive, but they're super easy and I can grow herbs year round! I recommend looking into one if you live in an apartment (or somewhere with a winter); they're a lot of fun :)


  20. *embarassed*
    Lemon thyme- Uhm, there it is, right smack center on the page.

  21. I enjoyed your blog alot-showing the herbs in your garden and linking them to recipes-thanks Kathyinozarks

  22. I can't imagine life without herbs, Kalyn. Herbs make wimpy cooks simple offerings ... great! I thought I was adventurous but would love to taste lemon basil ice cream, a perfect compliment with my Lemon Thyme cookies!

  23. Sorry, all--just have to post again after the mention of summer savory--I grow it every year and love, love, love it! How could I have forgotten to mention it?????

    I use it in spaghetti sauce, chopped coarsely and mixed in whole wheat pizza dough with garlic, and it is an absolutely wonderful addition to any bean/garbanzo dish you can think of. It is also a great addition to any stews or soups I make.

  24. GIWonder73, I have heard good things about the Aerogarden; thanks for reminding people about that.

    CJ, no worries, nothing to be embarassed about!

    Kathy, glad you enjoyed seeing how I use the herbs.

    Joey, love the sound of your lemon thyme cookies.

    Susan, thanks for the info about Summer Savory. Sounds like I should look for a plant. No more room in my herb beds, but I can tuck it in among the flowers!

  25. Herb envy all the way! I'm always adding to mine and love using them! Great garden!

  26. It so exciting seeing people talking about cooking with and growing herbs. I, too, share this passion. Just a helpful hint about mints and other "invasive plants". I found that using 14-16 inch diameter plastic drain pipe, cut into 18" lengths and buried all but 2" in the ground creates an effective containment system. The 16" in the ground keep the stolons from creeping under the barrier and the 2" above ground keep them from "hopping" over. Occasionally one or two will try but you can catch them when they do. I think lesser depths would work in really hard/clay subsoil. I have used this idea for mints, comfrey, tansy, yarrow,and atremesias. I have also heard of people using terra cotta chimney flu liners though I think they are somewhat a thing of the past.

  27. Pam, thanks. I admit, I do love my garden!

    Stephen, thanks for the tips about keeping mint contained. I have a plastic strip pounded into the ground along the edge of my mint patch, which helps, although the mint does try to escape into the garden and I try to keep up with it!

  28. A fabulous selection Kalyn. Our recently appointed apartment building manager was previously a chef and has planted a herb garden for the residents.

  29. Barbara, how wonderful to have a herb garden for everyone in the building to share! Great idea.

  30. Kalyn--if you have no room for summer savory in your herb beds, tuck it in with your beans, if you grow them--they grow wonderfully together.

    I chose to grow summer savory simply because I had read in a companion planting book that it grew well with beans (and seasoned them well too, lol).

  31. Susan, thanks for the idea, and I do have beans planted!

  32. Excuse me for commenting so late....

    Thank you for the reminder to plant marjoram. I cannot believe that I forgot - we love it with ricotta cheese stuffing for ravioli.

    I wonder what lemon thyme would be like in lemon ice cream....


  33. Hi Kalyn, I've been inspired to grow some herbs by visiting this site. I've planted them all in containers which I have in the house since I don't have any garden space. I've got 2 kinds of basil (sweet and the other one is just called basil on the tag, it has very small leaves), 2 kinds of parsley (curley and flat, rosemary and sage. They are all getting quite tall. My question is: Should I cut them all back to keep the leaves coming? If so, how can I save the herbs to use later? Freezing or drying? Any help you can give me would be much appreciated.

  34. Carla, I'm happy that I've inspired you to grow herbs, and you should definitely trim the herbs to keep them producing. I haven't dried herbs, but I've written a lot of posts about freezing herbs, like this one about How to Freeze Fresh Basil. You can use the search box to see if I've written about any other types of herbs you're thinking about freezing.

  35. I can't find the right post now, but I wanted to let you know that in spite of gross neglect on my part, I still have one rooted basil plant from last summer on my window sill! I hope it makes it to the spring and will plant it outside again!

  36. Leah, that is so cool! Your house must not get that cold during the night? Here is the post about Preserving fresh basil. (I found it using the search bar.)

  37. What a great resource!


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