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Add A Pinch Of Flavor To Your Summer Cooking

on August 10, 2014

Summer herbs

Summer is the perfect time to pick fresh herbs from your garden or purchase from the local market to add amazing flavor to any dish.  Herbs contain phytochemicals that provide disease-preventing qualities and also help lower inflammation. They are also very low in calories and add HUGE flavor to any dish!  Instead of adding salt and pepper, fresh herbs can help change a dish dramatically and limiting your sodium intake can help manage high blood pressure.

 

Here are some quick facts about which herbs best accompany common meals:

Rosemary

  • Perfect adding to a marinade for meat such as pork chops, poultry and fish or vegetables such as potatoes
  • Flavorful in soups and sauces
  • Important to remove the needles from the branch and chop before cooking (unless the recipe calls otherwise.)

 

Mint

  • Refreshing flavor
  • Great for cold salads and salads
  • Stimulating addition in summer drinks such as a sun brewed iced tea or fruit infused water
  • Works with both savory and sweet flavors

 

There are so many variations of infused waters to try, but to start out try this refreshing orange mint recipe

 

Orange Mint Water

Recipe adapted from Mary Gormandy White

Ingredients

3 large oranges, sliced

10 mint leaves

1/2 gallon of water

Directions:

  1. Place mint and orange slices in a pitcher.
  2. Add water.
  3. Infuse for two hours in the refrigerator.
  4. Pour over ice.

Serve garnished with an orange slice and a sprig of mint.

 

Basil

  • Easy to grow in a small space and has so many uses
  • Is suggested to be added at the end of cooking so the flavor is not destroyed
  • Coincides well with simple tomato and basil salad
  • Emphasized in dishes from Italy
  • Also is a great addition to strawberries and balsamic vinegar side dish

 

Dill

  • Has a huge punch of flavor
  • Is high in antioxidants
  • Perfect to be added to fish such as salmon, chicken, potatoes, salads, pasta dishes and dips
  • There is a pronounced flavor with the addition to cold salads

 

Oregano

  • Very high in antioxidants
  • Has a hint of sweetness and spiciness
  • Suggest sprinkling in a dressing, pizza seasonings or adding to a sandwich

 

Thyme

  • Added to soups, stews or braised meats for winter meals
  • Is a major French flavoring
  • For summer meals thyme is perfect for adding flavor to meat and vegetables

 

Here is a suggestion for a thyme salmon recipe!

 

Napa Valley Glazed Salmon

Recipe adapted from Mary Hess from eatingright.org

Ingredients

2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon dried thyme

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon white pepper

1¼ pounds salmon, cut into 4 pieces

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Combine the honey, thyme, mustard, lemon zest, and pepper in a small bowl. Arrange the salmon in a shallow roasting pan lined with cooking foil. Using the back of a spoon, spread the honey mixture to coat the top of each fillet.
  3. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until the salmon flakes with a fork.

 

Cooking Tip:

Serving Suggestion: Slice leftover salmon and place on top of a bed of mixed greens and chopped tomatoes for an easy lunch or dinner.

Variation: Substitute your favorite dried or fresh herb for the thyme — or combine several.

Tip: To store fresh fish a day or two after purchase, rinse and place in a bag with ice. Pour off melted ice and replace with more ice chunks.

 

Cilantro

  • Pungent flavor
  • Best served fresh just before a dish is added
  • Probably have seen it added in guacamole but can also be added to salsa and other summer other dishes such as sprinkled on fruit salad or vegetables

 

Sources-

http://www.eatright.org/public/slideshow.aspx?id=6442470269 – 11

http://www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/seasonalcooking/farmtotable/visualguidefreshherbs

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