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Get Cooking With Herbs

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1Get Cooking With Herbs Empty Get Cooking With Herbs on 23rd December 2009, 2:14 pm

Get Cooking With Herbs

As you’re following the South Beach Diet, you’re most likely cooking more meals at home. If you want to add flavor without adding fat to some of your family favorites, try seasoning basic dishes with a variety of dried or fresh herbs. Use fresh or dried herbs for cooked fish, chicken, and meat dishes and for pasta dishes and salad dressings. You can also add fresh herbs to salads themselves and garnish cooked dishes with them.

Dried vs. Fresh Herbs

Dried herbs (store-bought or home-dried) should be kept in a cool, dry place and used within six months of purchase. After this time, they will rapidly begin to lose flavor and pungency.

Fresh herbs must be wrapped in damp paper towels and placed in a resealable plastic bag and refrigerated for three to seven days. Some varieties of fresh herbs, such as thyme and rosemary, last longer than others, such as basil and dill.

If you want to be a little more enterprising, try growing one or two herbs in small pots on a sunny windowsill. As long as you keep them trimmed and well watered, the fresh leaves will be there any time you need them.

Here’s how to incorporate some popular herbs and herb blends into your favorite meals:

Basil: Fresh basil is used whole, torn, or chopped in salads, egg dishes, and pastas. Dried basil is perfect for baked chicken or fish and in soups.
Chives: A relative of onions and leeks, chives have a mild onion-like flavor. Snip them with scissors or gently chop with a sharp knife, then try them in chicken salad or scrambled eggs.

Cilantro: This lively tasting herb is popular is Asia, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Latin America. Use it to make salsas, toss it into salads, or sprinkle it over baked chicken or fish.

Dill: Available both fresh and dried, dill is a great addition to salads and sauces, as well as to fish, chicken, meat, and vegetable dishes.
Herbs de Provence: Typically a mix of dried basil, fennel seed, lavender, marjoram, summer savory, rosemary, and thyme, this herb blend is found in the spice section of most supermarkets.

Marjoram: A member of the mint family, marjoram has a sweet, oregano-like flavor. It can be found dried in the spice section of the supermarket.
Mint: Most people think of mint as an herb used in desserts, but it is also terrific in soups and salads.

Oregano: A relative of mint, oregano is an aromatic herb commonly used in tomato-based soups and sauces, and for seasoning poultry, lamb, shrimp, or vegetable dishes.

Parsley: Fresh parsley makes a great garnish for cooked meats, chicken, and fish and is tasty in beans, pasta, and rice dishes. You’ll find it dried in Italian seasoning and other packaged herb mixes.

Rosemary: There’s nothing quite like the piney flavor of this wonderful herb, which is often used to flavor meats, fish, soups, stews, vegetables, sauces, and dressings.

Sage: This Mediterranean herb has a strong earthy flavor that is perfect for chicken, pork, ham, bean, and vegetable dishes.

Tarragon: Distinguished by its anise-like flavor, tarragon is a great addition to fish and vegetable dishes and sauces.

Thyme: Popular in French dishes, thyme has an assertive flavor that goes well with many foods, including tomato dishes and vegetable soups, as well as meats, poultry, and fish.

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