Some of the most medicinally potent herbs and spices sit within arm’s reach—on your kitchen spice rack. There’s growing scientific evidence for the medicinal value of herbs and this, in turn, is bringing herbal remedies into mainstream consciousness. Home cooks will discover how fresh herbs not only fill the flavor gap but also provide many healing and holistic benefits. They will learn to prepare food that provides vitality, is seasonal and is indigenous to our environment.
Below are two recipes from The Healing Herbs Cookbook that reflect the vibrant taste only fresh culinary herbs can give.
Chilled Calendula-Strawberry Gazpacho + Calendula Pesto
- 2 cups (500 mL) chopped peeled tomatoes
- 4 cups (1 L) sliced strawberries
- 3/4 cup (175 mL) diced peeled seeded cucumber
- 1/4 cup (50 mL) shredded fresh basil
- 3 tbsp (45 mL) chopped fresh chives
- 1 cup (250 mL) apple juice
- 1 cup (250 mL) stock
- 1/4 cup (50 mL) raspberry vinegar
- 3 tbsp (45 mL) Calendula Pesto (see recipe, below)
1. In a large bowl or soup tureen, combine all ingredients and mix well. In a food processor or blender, purée 3 cups (750 mL) of mixture. Combine with remaining mixture in bowl.
2. Cover bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to chill and blend fflavors Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Serve cold, garnished with whole strawberries or calendula flowers.
Serves 4 to 6
This is meant to be a chunky soup but may be completely puréed, if desired.
With its large, thin leaves, basil is easy to shred: remove stem and stack 3 or 4 fresh basil leaves; roll up from the wide end and slice into thin ribbons for garnish, salads, omelets or soups.
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 ginger squares in syrup
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) unblanched almonds
- 1 cup (250 mL) fresh calendula petals
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh thyme leaves
- 3/4 cup (175 mL) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 3/4 cup (175 mL) olive oil
1. In a food processor or blender, mince garlic and ginger for 1 minute. Add nuts; process until coarsely chopped. Add calendula, basil, thyme and cheese; process until minced. With motor running, add olive oil in a steady stream. Process or blend until well mixed. Season to taste with salt and pepper if desired.
2. Transfer mixture to a jar or storage container. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 1 month.
Makes 1 1/2 cups (375 mL)
Asparagus Three-Cheese Burritos with Tomato Sauce
- Preheat oven to 375° F (190° C)
- Baking sheet, lightly oiled
- 1 lb (500 g) asparagus, washed and trimmed
- 1 cup (250 mL) ricotta cheese
- 1 cup (250 mL) shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup (50 mL) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 tbsp (45 mL) fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tsp (5 mL) sesame oil
- 4 large burrito-size flour tortillas
- 2 tbsp (25 mL) olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can (19-oz [540 mL]) stewed tomatoes
- 5 sun-dried tomato halves, oil-packed, drained
- 1 cup (250 mL) packed fresh chopped spinach leaves
1. In a large pot over high heat, bring 6 cups (1.5 L) water to boil. Add asparagus and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until tender. Drain; allow to cool.
2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, thyme and sesame oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper if desired.
3. Spoon about 1/2 cup (125 mL) cheese mixture into centre of each burrito. Divide asparagus into 4 portions; lay each portion in centre of each burrito. Fold in bottom and sides of burritos and roll, allowing tips of asparagus to extend out top of roll.
4. Place burritos seam-side down on prepared baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes.
Makes 4 burritos
Leftover cooked vegetables work well in place of asparagus in these tasty wraps.
|Excerpted from The Healing Herbs Cookbook by Pat Crocker © 2013 Robert Rose Inc.www.robertrose.ca. Reprinted with publisher permission. Buy the book>>Pat Crocker is a culinary herbalist and professional home economist who has written, given demonstrations and lectured about herbs and health issues for more than 25 years. She is also the author of The Juicing Bible, The Smoothies Bible and The Vegan Cook’s Bible. Pat resides in Ontario, Canada.|
image: Yannis (Creative Commons BY-NC-SA)