Just about everything is celebrated these days. There is Bring Your Children to Work Day and Secretary’s Day (excuse me Administrative Assistants Day). For some causes there is longer fanfare such as for Teacher Appreciation Week or National Nutrition Month. I am not sure how one registers to become a Day or what the holiday hierarchy is to determine the duration. Surely, the Earth is due more than one day….This week is National Herb Week. Herb week was established by the International Herb Association to highlight herbs, herbal uses and herbal businesses (ooh not sure about that last one). I am also unsure why the week of herbs is stipulated to be the week before Mothers Day. Frankly I don’t care much about National Herb Week per se but I do care about herbs.
I was alerted to Herb Week on twitter when someone asked, in honor of herb week, “what’s your favorite herb?” I answered “mint and basil.” Truth is, it’s impossible to pick. Whenever I grocery shop I purchase at least 3 to 4 different herbs. Here are some standouts:
Mint– I love fresh mint. Clients make me jealous when they describe herb gardens full of mint. I don’t have a garden but always have mint in the house. I add mint to smoothies and handfuls to tea. I also like mint with grain pilafs such as quinoa and rice. It just makes everything taste so fresh.
Basil- when you think of basil, what food do you think ok? My mind goes instantly to pesto, one of my favorite creations on the planet. My mother didn’t make pesto growing up but my friend Meredith’s mother did and I remember my first pesto experience clearly. Since them I add pesto to chicken and turkey burgers or “pesto burgers”. I also add a little pesto to salads. And if you haven’t served pesto to your children, do so. You may not think so but kids love pesto. Combine pasta pesto with steamed organic frozen peas and you have a delicious weeknight meal.
Cilantro-I know as I write this that the world is made up of cilantro lovers and cilantro haters. The New York Times explained recently that there’s a biochemical reason some people dislike cilantro. Sorry if you despise it or think it’s soapy, I think it’s amazing. One of my go to easy dinners has 5 ingredients: scallops, garlic, cilantro, lime juice and olive oil. I also love cilantro with beans such as in this black bean and sweet potato salad.
Rosemary– I have to admit when I think of pairings for rosemary I think of bread and meat (2 things I rarely eat). Rosemary pairs fantastically with potatoes; this is an easy and flavorful roasted potato side dish from Eating Well. And I can’t resist, Cat Cora’s lamb chop recipe is fool proof.
Dill– is the 2010 herb of the year! Hold your applause. I love dill with cold salads and also with poached salmon. And I have gushed multiple times about my favorite dill pickles. Here is a great summer salad that combines shrimp, cucumber and dill.
Happy Herb Week and Happy Mother’s Day everyone! I feel as though I let Simon and Garfunkel down not discussing parsley, sage or thyme (next year!).
What is your favorite herb? Favorite use or recipe for that herb? Favorite “Day”? Favorite Simon and Garfunkel song?