Language Translator
    Translate from:

    Translate to:

Help keep this site open

Archive for January, 2013

Using French Tarragon

French tarragon is a frequent addition to every cook’s spice cabinet and it makes its appearance on grocery shelves every year as the holiday season approaches. As well-known as this herb is, its use is often a mystery. What makes this herb so special and distinctive? How can it be used in your kitchen?

From the Garden to the Kitchen

Tarragon is a traditional Eurasian cooking herb that grows native on the European continent and in the temperate regions of Asia. It favors dry soil and sunny days and will return to the garden each year with just a little encouragement. French tarragon is the variety most frequently used in cooking though the less aromatic Russian and wild varieties may also be used but are not recommended.

Along with fresh chives, parsley, and chervil, tarragon is one of the four traditional French cooking herbs; this collection of herbs is often called fines herbes in French recipes. The aromatic, slightly sweet flavor of French tarragon goes well with the moderate to mild flavors of chicken, fish, and egg dishes. The fresh leaves can also be added to green salads. Dried, it is used in broth soups.

French Tarragon Recipes

Fresh Herb Marinade

This tangy marinade pairs the fresh taste of French tarragon with the mild bite of mustard. Stone ground or Dijon mustard works best though regular yellow mustard will work in a pinch. Try the marinade with light cuts of pork, chicken breast, or even generous cuts of tofu. Left over marinade can be added to a garden salad as a dressing.


· 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

· 2 Tbsp fresh French tarragon, chopped

· 2 Tbsp stone ground mustard

· 1 Tbsp lemon juice

· 1 clove garlic, minced

· Salt and fresh pepper to taste


1. Place all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until marinade has gained a smooth, even consistency.

2. Place two or three chicken breasts in a wide bowl or sealable plastic bag. Add marinade to the meat.

3. Let meat sit covered in the refrigerator for approximately six hours.

4. Bake chicken in oven or cook on the grill.

Creamy Herb Salad Dressing

This rich salad dressing is an exciting alternative to ranch. Use it on a tossed salad or as a dip for raw veggies. Because it mixes up so easily, it can be set out for guests to snack on or brought to a party. You’ll want to be sure to pack the chopped herbs into the measuring cups in order to get the required amount. Use fresh herbs throughout this recipe.


· 1 cup mayonnaise

· ½ cup sour cream

· ¼ cup chives, roughly chopped

· ¼ cup parsley, roughly chopped

· ¼ cup French tarragon, roughly chopped

· 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar

· 1 Tbsp lemon juice

· ½ tsp anchovy paste (optional)

· Salt and fresh pepper to taste


1. Place all fresh herbs in a food processor; pulse briefly until herbs are finely chopped.

2. Add white wine vinegar, lemon juice, and anchovy paste to the herb mixture in the food processor; pulse again to blend.

3. Add the mayonnaise, sour cream, and salt and pepper. Blend until the dressing is an even, creamy texture.

4. Dressing can be stored in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Roast Mushrooms with Tarragon

This easy vegetable side pairs well with just about any main dish. The mild taste and absorbent texture of mushrooms makes them perfect for adding bold seasonings to. Serve with dinner or as an easy addition to your brunch menu. The more pronounced flavor of cremini mushrooms is preferred though regular white mushrooms will also work.


· 1 lb. thickly cut mushrooms

· 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (set 2 Tbsp aside)

· 2 Tbsp fresh French tarragon, chopped

· 1 clove garlic, minced

· ½ tsp stone ground mustard

· 1 ½ Tbsp balsamic vinegar

· Salt and fresh pepper to taste


1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees; place a sheet of aluminum foil on a cookie sheet (shiny side down).

2. Place sliced mushrooms in a bowl with 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Toss mushrooms to evenly coat in oil.

3. Transfer mushrooms to cookie sheet; let roast for 12 – 15 minutes, until they start to brown.

4. Place chopped tarragon, garlic, mustard, vinegar, remaining olive oil, salt, and pepper into a food processor. Pulse until all ingredients are creamed together.

5. Remove roast mushrooms from oven and transfer to a bowl. Drizzle in 1 – 2 Tbsp of tarragon sauce and toss to coat. Serve hot.

6. Remaining sauce can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a month.

**In addition to those recipes try chopped French Tarragon sprinkled on eggs and egg based dishes.

Article Source:

Bringing Basil To Your Table

The bright green appearance and spicy fragrance of basil has endeared this herb to cooks for centuries. It brings a pungent, slightly spicy taste to soup, stew, stir fry, salad, and even sandwiches. Once you start cooking with basil, you’ll discover just how versatile this simple plant can be.

A Bit About Basil

Basil, sometimes called sweet basil, is a leafy green plant related to mint. It grows in long thin stems that can reach almost two feet in height. During summer, small white flowers appear on the tops of the stems. Bees and other helpful insects are often attracted to basil so gardeners favor these fragrant plants.

There are many species of basil, almost all of which are used in cooking. The oldest species are known to have grown in India; Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries have also used basil in cooking and religious rites for several centuries. Today the herb is cultivated and enjoyed on nearly every continent. Basil requires little care and can be grown indoors and out; even apartment dwellers can enjoy the taste that fresh basil brings to their cooking.

Basil Recipes

Bruschetta: A Simple Italian Appetizer

Simple flavors come together to create a magnificent traditional Italian appetizer. Serve this before your next Italian dinner or just as a snack. Roma tomatoes work best in this dish though feel free to experiment with heirloom varieties for added color and flavor.


· Crusty Italian bread, cut into slices about one inch thick

· Two pounds of tomatoes, thinly sliced

· Four cloves of garlic, finely minced

· 3 Tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped

· 3 – 5 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

· 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

· Salt and fresh ground pepper (to taste)


1. Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, shiny side down.

2. Mix together vinegar, garlic, basil, salt, and pepper; add half the amount of olive oil and mix again. Set aside.

3. Lightly toast bread in a warm oven at 250 degrees.

4. Remove bread when it starts to get a little crisp; brush bread slices with vinegar mixture and top with the chopped tomatoes. Brush any remaining olive oil on top of the tomatoes.

5. Place bread back in the oven until tomatoes get warm (about ten minutes).

6. Serve immediately.

Tomato Basil Pesto Sauce

Pesto is a zesty sauce made with loads of fresh basil. This recipe adds sun-dried tomatoes for an extra burst of flavor. Add to pasta or use as a sandwich spread.


· 6 pieces of sun-dried tomato, softened

· 2 cups fresh basil, roughly chopped

· 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

· 3 Tbsp toasted pine nuts (unsalted, if possible)

· ¼ cup olive olive

· Salt to taste


1. Place sun-dried tomatoes in a bowl of warm water. Set aside.

2. Add softened tomatoes, garlic, basil, and pine nuts into a food processor. Pulse briefly to chop the ingredients into smaller pieces.

3. Add olive oil and salt to food processor. Pulse a few more times until the mixture gains a fine, smooth consistency.

4. Pesto can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Old-Fashioned Minestrone Soup

This popular soup is the perfect way to experiment with different ingredients. Mediterranean herbs such as oregano and basil bring excitement to the dish. Fresh ground pepper deepens the vegetable broth and crushed red pepper adds a little kick. Cannellini beans are traditionally used though any white bean can be used. Use in-season fresh Italian green beans if you can find them. Lightly steam them before adding them to your soup.


· 4 cups vegetable broth

· 1 small can diced tomatoes (14 ounce)

· 1 cup minced yellow onion

· 1 cup chopped zucchini or yellow squash

· ½ cup fresh, frozen, or canned Italian green beans

· 1 stalk of celery, finely chopped

· 2 cups fresh or frozen spinach

· ¼ cup ditalini or other small pasta

· 4 – 5 cloves crushed garlic

· 1 can cannellini beans or other white bean

· 2 Tbsp fresh basil (or ½ tsp dried)

· 1 Tbsp fresh oregano (or 1 tsp dried)

· 1 Tbsp fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)

· 1 tsp salt

· ½ tsp pepper (or to taste)


1. Heat olive oil in soup pot over medium heat.

2. Add onion, garlic, spinach, celery, and green beans. Add spices as ingredients begin to soften. Lightly sauté until spinach is wilted and the onions turn translucent.

3. Add broth, canned tomatoes, zucchini, cannellini beans, and pasta.

4. Bring mixture to a bubble then reduce heat to low; simmer for approximately 20 minutes or until pasta is cooked.

5. Serve immediately. Soup can be frozen or stored in the refrigerator for around ten days.

Article Source:


Learn just how easy Hydroponic Gardening can be. Click on image above for Immediate Download.

Don't miss out! Get The Definitive Guide To Natural Herbs Here! herbs_cover_s Learn how to plant, grow and cook with natural herbs. Click image above for Immediate Download.
Get our FREE eBook

Get your copy of our FREE Herbal Secrets eBook here!

We hate Spam too! We will not share your information with anyone.

January 2013