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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2005 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

simona- I don't care all that much for cilantro either and there was a time a couple years ago here when it was all over or the predominant taste in everything. Thank goodness that's over! But, now that it is, I find I enjoy a bit of it -- just a note of flavor. And I'm growing it just so I have a bit for my tabouleh. Wink
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birgit



Joined: 31 Jan 2005
Posts: 247
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2005 9:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

at the moment it's lemon verbena, especially as a tea in an combination with green tea and sometimes a sprig of mint. for cooking it's rosmary, at least today, and, as a spice I think it'll always be garlic and of course peperoncini (small italian chili peppers) or those tiny fragments of habanero peppers I've bought and dried last year, they are tremendously fiery and aromatic at the same time.

Last edited by birgit on Mon May 09, 2005 6:08 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2005 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DQ, I agree with you about lavender, so good for cooking. I love to use Herbes de Provence, (with extra lavender), on plank roasted salmon and in vinagrette.

My current favorites are my homegrown/home dried/home ground chilies. Now I just need a smoker to turn my jalepenos into chipotles. I am also using quite a bit of thyme lately.
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Dairy_Queen



Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 342
Location: Chicago and other places

PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2005 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Erin wrote:
DQ, I agree with you about lavender, so good for cooking. I love to use Herbes de Provence, (with extra lavender), on plank roasted salmon and in vinagrette.

My current favorites are my homegrown/home dried/home ground chilies. Now I just need a smoker to turn my jalepenos into chipotles. I am also using quite a bit of thyme lately.


I'm so glad to hear that someone else appreciates the wonders of lavender. You'd think by the PESTO thread, that basil
would be my preferred herb, but it's the haunting flavour and scent of lavender that sends me over the moon.

Plus, I can buy lavender flowers year round, for pennies. The same can't be said for basil, which is sadly, just an herb I glut on, in the Summer. Fresh pesto just doesn't compare to frozen; it's probably all in my head, though.
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2005 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Herbes de Provence is a marvel. I generously toss it into soups, stews and casseroles and dredge my steaks in it before grilling.
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Dawna



Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 125
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2005 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure I could pick one favourite herb or spice! I use garlic as a vegetable, so that gives me extra leeway, I think...

I tend to go through a lot of phases or jags when I'm cooking. At the moment, the thing that I'm going through the most of is cumin, in part because I've been doing a lot of Mexican and Indian cooking lately.
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Debbie



Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 861
Location: Paris

PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2005 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, but I shudder every time I think of lavender in food now.

A friend heard about lavender beinused in cooking and so she trimmed some of her lavender from her garden and used it..... not knowing that only certain varieties of lavender should be consumed by humans. Needless to say we were all extremely sick. Turns out the lavender she used had a high camphor content and we consumed enough during the meal (a themed lavender dinner) to adversly affect us.

If the lavender was only in one thing then we probably wouldn't have noticed it, but the buildup over the meal was the problem.

I used to love the smell and flavour of lavender, but now I just can't cope with the thought of it in food or near food.

I do love most herbs and spices though. My cupboard is always full of nutmegs waiting to be grated, home dried rosemary and parsley and other tasty treats. Australian bush spices are also used quite alot in my cooking. I used to work with Aboriginal people in Australia and one o them taught me quite a bit about our native plants and their uses (in the area I was in). They have a different flavour to the usual herbs and spices and can really make a dish special with a tiny pinch added.

A few weeks ago I made kiwi fruit chutney to go with a dinner I was cooking at the British Club. I snuck in some roasted wattle seeds and some lemon myrtle. It totally changed the flavour of the chutney, and everyone raved about it and asked for the recipe.... problem is getting your hands on the spices..... I have a personal stash, but I'm afraid that I won't be sharing as they have to last me the next 5 years! Every grain is precious!

I just put a new window box outside my kitchen today. So far I have radish (the leaves are just as yummy as the bulb) and rosemary. Will add more as I crave it. Thnk mint might be next though as I love the smell of fresh mint even though I don't add it to cooking.
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Dairy_Queen



Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 342
Location: Chicago and other places

PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2005 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Debbie wrote:
Sorry, but I shudder every time I think of lavender in food now.


That's how I am about cinnamon, Debbie. It's so over-used in American cooking that it has to really be important to the recipe for me to use it. Too much of ANY good thing is waaaaay too much!

Debbie wrote:
I just put a new window box outside my kitchen today. So far I have radish (the leaves are just as yummy as the bulb) and rosemary. Will add more as I crave it. Thnk mint might be next though as I love the smell of fresh mint even though I don't add it to cooking.


Debbie: have you tried Pineapple Mint??? I was turned on to it over 20 years ago when I was interning at a nursery. A very old, Southern Belle came into the nursery, looking for it. I had never, ever heard of it and she told me this wonderful story of how her Grandmother used to send the kids down to the stream to pick it, and would make a wonderful pineapple mint iced tea. I ordered it for her, that day, and some for me. I've had it as a staple in my gardens ever since. It's amazing with berries, too.
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birgit



Joined: 31 Jan 2005
Posts: 247
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2005 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dairy_Queen, Pineapple Mint reminds me of two mint varieties I had about 2 years ago: Black Currant mint and watermelon mint. One of these had beautiful dark red flowers, too. I think it's really amazing that there are about 70 mint varieties. At the moment it's still cold outside here, but there is lots of apple mint in the garden Very Happy Very Happy
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Dairy_Queen



Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 342
Location: Chicago and other places

PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2005 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

birgit wrote:
Dairy_Queen, Pineapple Mint reminds me of two mint varieties I had about 2 years ago: Black Currant mint and watermelon mint. One of these had beautiful dark red flowers, too. I think it's really amazing that there are about 70 mint varieties. At the moment it's still cold outside here, but there is lots of apple mint in the garden Very Happy Very Happy


I think I might have to change my "one" herb...maybe...to the Mint Family! The more we talk about it, the more I think of all the wonderful varieties out there, plus the Mint Family( Lamiaceae) has given us many herbs used in cooking and perfumery; Rosemary, French Lavender, Thyme, Majoram, Sage, and the garden mints are just a few. Members of this family are usually aromatic, but not necessarily minty; some can be outright repulsive in their odor. So, I guess I'm good to go by including my beloved lavender in the Mint Family passion.
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2005 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Debbie wrote:
Sorry, but I shudder every time I think of lavender in food now.


I have a lot of lavender in my landscape and I'm intrigued by the idea of including it in food. But I have the same misgiving without having already had the adverse experience.

I have no idea what the variety is and I don't know if it's edible. I guess I could pick up an plant an edible variety. But anyone know how to ID if an unknown variety would have that camphor. Ewwwww! Just thinking of eating that makes my stomach do a flip!
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Dairy_Queen



Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 342
Location: Chicago and other places

PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2005 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rainey: It's the FLOWERS that you make things with, never the leaves! That may have been part of the problem with the lavender overdose that Debbie mentioned.

If you raise your own lavender and have an organic garden, than you can harvest the flowers, dry them, and use them in any recipe. I buy mine at Whole Foods (which are certified organic) because I don't grow lavender, oddly enough. It's just plain, old lavender that you use, French Lavender is what it's usually sold as.

And start with a light hand first. If you want a really, really CHEAP recipe to try, add some crushed lavender flowers to whipped cream, and try it on a dish of berries. That way, your out a couple of bucks and a couple of minutes. If you like it in that, than you'll know that you'll like it in other dishes.

I make a lavender tea cookie that is awesome and is whisked off the plate whenever I make them. I usually don't tell the unadventuresome; they ask about the flavouring after they've devoured a couple.
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
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Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2005 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This isn't quite herb, (or mabbee it is...) but have any of you ever tried purslane? It's better known as a weed but I saw someone on the FoodNetwork once recommend it as an edible. Low and behold! some was growing in my garden so I gave it a try.

It's lovely! It has a crunchy texture from it's fleshy succulent-type leaves and a very fresh, vaguely sweet flavor that's somewhat akin to the seeds of a summer squash. Since then, I've seen vendors selling it at local farmers' markets. I don't know what other uses there are, but I put some in a salad or just munch it when I'm in the garden foraging.

After that successful taste test, I put some in a pot and kept it growing where it couldn't spread. It died back over the winter but when it got warm the pot sprang back to life.

If you see some and you're feeling brave, give it a try! ...after you make SURE it hasn't been sprayed with anything!
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Dawna



Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 125
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2005 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My mother's best friend (also my piano teacher) was particularly taken with the wildcrafting, and it was a point of pride with her that none of her green salads featured lettuce. As a child, this just seemed bizarre to me! Everyone knows that lettuce is the foundation upon which green salads are built, right?

Fortunately for me, a whole education on greens ensued. I should probably note that she did grow greens for her salads, but they were always less-common ones. Arugula, chickweed (which we fed to the budgies!), purslane, chard leaves, mustard greens, dandelion greens, wild sorrel... oh, so many things! I quickly grew to delight in the peppery flavours of some of these greens, and to this day, find myself a little disappointed in a straight-lettuce salad.
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Debbie



Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 861
Location: Paris

PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2005 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, the flowers have a high concentration of camphor as well in some varieties of lavender....... thiswas learnt, of course, after we ate it......

If you go to a nursery or lavender farm they can tell you which ones in Australia you can eat. I cannot remember off the top of my head which ones were the toxic ones.

One thing we did learn is that the stronger the perfume the more camphor it can contain. The variety of lavender that is used in lavender water for laundry use is very high in camphor - which is why it is good with your wash. No moths or other bugs want to come near your freshly laundered and pretty smelling sheets and towels.

After "the incident" I went to a lavender grower and asked a million and one questions about lavender and which ones could be used safely. I am sure you could find the info on the internet though. If I had not just arrived home after teaching all night I would look it up for you, at present though my brain is mush... sorry
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