An Ode to Herbs for Spring

11 Apr

basil-74219_640[1]This time of year, I get especially excited about planting a variety of herbs. There’s nothing like cooking with fresh herbs from your garden!

Last year I enjoyed fresh sweet mint, basil, and rosemary throughout the summer and fall. This year, I am thinking about adding cilantro, parsley, and thyme to my herb family.

I remember one late summer day last year when I picked an entire large bowl full of basil, my absolute favorite fresh herb. Heavenly.

I especially enjoy turning fresh basil into pesto. The following is a great recipe from my friend Jan Secrest. She and her husband have a little greenhouse in their backyard where they grow a variety of plants and herbs.

Garlic Pesto

5 oz. fresh basil

6 cloves of garlic

1 c. fresh parsley sprigs

2/3 c. grated parmesan cheese

1/2 c. finely chopped pine nuts or walnuts

2 T. anchovy paste

1 T. dried tarragon

1/2 t. salt

1/2 t. pepper

1/3-1/2 c. olive oil

Put all the ingredients except the olive oil into a food processor and chop. Add the oil and puree the mixture. Mix into 1 lb. cooked thin spaghetti and enjoy.

Or, you can take the pesto up another level by using it in my all-time favorite fresh-basil recipe ever. This delightful combination comes from my friend Anmerie. She was the chef at a mission base where I served in South Africa. Every time she made this dish, people absolutely RAVED about it (and clamored for the recipe)!

Also, my roommate is getting married next month and just requested this recipe before she moves out – it’s that good!

Chicken Pesto Pasta

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into strips

Large bunch of fresh spinach

Butter

Salt and pepper to taste

3/4-1 c. cream

1 package of basil pesto (store-bought, or homemade, above!)

1 c. feta cheese

1 pkg. (10 oz.) of spinach noodles or other pasta

1. Cook the chicken in a few tablespoons of oil ’til cooked through. Set aside.

2. Cook noodles per directions ’til done. Drain, rinse, and set aside.

3. Boil a pot of water with salt. Blanch the spinach (boil for 5 seconds, drain, and rinse with cold water). Using your hands, squeeze the spinach until it is extremely dry and chop into pieces.

4. In original frying pan, melt a few tablespoons of butter. Add spinach, cream, pesto, feta, and chicken. Cook ’til hot and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over noodles.

For some fun herb information and tips, and a short how-to on starting your own little herb garden, check out the following: [View the story “An Ode to Herbs” on Storify]. Happy herbing!

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One Response to “An Ode to Herbs for Spring”

  1. atwostoreyhome April 11, 2013 at 4:05 pm #

    Mmm, fresh herbs are the best! That garlic pesto recipe sounds awesome!

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