Say Hello to Herbs
August 20th, 2018 by Jennifer Brown

Healthy, hearty herbs provide the perfect pizazz to many foods and beverages

Pesto Roasted Chicken

  • 3- to 4-pound whole chicken
  • 2 tablespoons pesto
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat oven to 450 F. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Salt and pepper cavity of chicken generously. Stuff with lemon halves and rosemary sprigs, and truss.

Place chicken, breast side up, in a cast-iron skillet. Rub sides and top with African blue basil and lavender pesto (see recipe on page 17) or use jarred pesto.

Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 400 F and continue baking until thickest parts of the chicken (breast and thigh) register 165 F on meat thermometer and juices run clear. Remove from oven and let stand before carving.

Tip: Tent the chicken with foil if it browns too quickly.

Recipe and photo by Marcy Chapman


African-Blue Basil and Lavender Pesto

  • 2 cups fresh African blue basil leaves and flowers, coarsely chopped and lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup raw, unsalted almonds
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1-2 teaspoons dried lavender buds
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
  • 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Combine all ingredients except cheese in the bowl of a food processor. Process, adding liquid, until desired consistency is reached. Stir in cheese.

Use immediately or store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. The pesto also can be frozen in ice cube trays.

Option: Toast the almonds in a hot, dry pan over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes, until slightly browned and fragrant.

Recipe by Marcy Chapman


Zesty Zucchini Fritters

  • 2 medium zucchini, grated
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh herbs (suggested mix: oregano, dill and mint)
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese (or mix with Parmesan)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Light olive oil
  • Sour cream

Stir together flour, salt, pepper and egg in a bowl. Add zucchini, herbs, cheese and garlic. Mix all ingredients well.

Add olive oil to a skillet preheated on medium heat. Drop zucchini batter by heaping tablespoons into the skillet. Press down to flatten into pancakes.

Fry until the edges turn very brown, then flip and fry until well-browned on the second side. Drain on paper towels.

Top with dabs of sour cream. Serve as an appetizer or side dish.

Recipe by Marcy Chapman


Fresh Floral Salad With Honey Mustard Dressing

  • 1 head romaine lettuce, roughly chopped
  • 1 big handful arugula (or another salad green of choice)
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1 medium beet, grated
  • 1 handful fresh herbs (such as cilantro, fennel tops, parsley, basil or dill), finely chopped
  • Fresh edible flowers (such as Spanish needle, nasturtiums, spiderwort, borage, pansy, snapdragons, cilantro flowers, basil flowers)

Layer all ingredients in order in a large salad bowl. Top with the flowers.

Honey Mustard Dressing

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup prepared mustard
  • 1/4 cup local raw honey
  • 1/4 cup herb-infused apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons miso

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. It will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.

Remove dressing from the refrigerator half an hour before mealtime to allow the oil in the dressing to warm to room temperature, making it easier to pour.

Recipes by Caitlin McMullen


Herb-Infused Vinegar

  • Pasteurized apple cider vinegar
  • Various herbs and spices

Fill a glass jar 1/3 to 1/2 full of dried herbs and spices—or 2/3 full if using fresh. Add vinegar over the herbs to fill the jar. Cover with a plastic lid. If using a metal lid, place a layer of wax paper between the jar and the lid. Shake the jar vigorously daily or at least every few days.

Wait at least 2 weeks—or up to 6 weeks—before straining the herbs through a fine-mesh metal strainer, muslin or a double layer of cheesecloth.

Any herbs and spices can be used. Options include Herbes de Provence; basil and garlic; rosemary and thyme; and garlic and chili peppers. Fresh herbs are more flavorful than dried.

Recipe by Caitlin McMullen


Homemade Iced Mint  and Ginger Green Tea

  • 6 cups filtered water
  • 4 matcha green tea sachets
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves, packed, with extra sprigs for garnish
  • 1/4 cup fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup honey, to taste
  • 1 thick slice of lime
  • Lemongrass stalks, peeled

Bring water to a boil and remove from heat. Add tea bags and mint; steep for 15 minutes. Strain brew. Cool to room temperature. Serve iced, garnished with mint and lemongrass.

Recipe by Marcy Chapman


Green Rice

  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 2 tablespoons light extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dill
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Cook rice according to package directions. While it is still hot, stir in salt, pepper, oil, vinegar, herbs and lemon juice.

Serve with pesto roasted chicken (recipe on page 16). It can also be served cold with cold meats or seafood.

Recipe by Marcy Chapman