My outlook is... "Plant little herbs…reap BIG flavors!"
It’s herb-planting time at my house. I just returned from my favorite place to buy herbs and flowers: West Valley Nursery in Tarzana.
Owner Jon Tsuchiyama is the best – he knows everything there is to know about gardening and is so nice and helpful. It’s easy to get carried away when you’re shopping for herbs there – they are beautiful, healthy – and importantly – NON-GMO.
I have learned to limit my herb garden to just a few that I use on a regular basis: First of all – LOTS of Genovese basil. I bought a whole flat and will plant in in the ground in my small garden area.
Lots of Italian flat leaf parsley. So much more flavor than the curly stuff. I put it both in pots and in the ground. Same goes for English thyme. And I do like onion chives (not garlic chives, ick!)
These are going in my chicken planters -- a thoughtful gift from my mother-in-law.
And here is my sweet bay tree and one of my rosemary plants.
Fresh herbs brighten up every dish. I use rosemary and thyme in brines for chicken; chives, parsley and thyme are delicious additions to vinaigrettes; whole basil leaves and whole parsley leaves are a bright surprise when mixed with other greens for salads; and chopped parsley and chives are nice garnishes to really give a finished appearance to your dishes.
On the cover of Salad Joy I left the chives long and draped them over the chicken. Snipped chives are also in the buttermilk dressing.
The uses for herbs are virtually limitless. I like to stuff a little herb butter of rosemary and thyme under the skin of bone-in chicken breasts before roasting.
A fresh herb bouquet garni gives a fresher flavor to soups and stocks. Homemade pesto is my number one reason for buying a flat of basil.
I have a simple pesto recipe in Salad Joy. It’s great as a spread on crostini and of course amazing with pasta, either hot or cold as pasta salad.
You don’t need a garden to plant herbs. Just a few pots that can even live in your kitchen as long as they get lots of sunshine.
I love fresh herbs and use them in many of my Salad Joy recipes. I’d love to know what herbs you’re planting and creative ways you use them!
Be sure to pick them up at West Valley Nursery if you're in the greater Los Angeles area. Or call them at (818) 342-2623