Tag Archives: herbs

Herb Salt

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Herb Salt

It’s spring in Southern Oregon.  The perennial herbs and plants have pushed through the soil and the chives are ready to bloom.  Lately, I’ve been experimenting with making my own flavored salts.  Last week it was a Serrano salt made with some leftover Serrano peppers that I had sitting in the fridge.  I liked the flavor but it did not have as much heat as I had hoped.  I will try again.  Next time with triple the amount of Serrano peppers.  I like heat and lots of it.  So, I look at it this way.  What is the point of Serrano salt if it does not set your taste buds on fire?

Early yesterday afternoon as I was tending to my pots of herbs on the back patio, I was inspired to make my own Herb Salt.  Buying pre-made flavored or herb salts can be ridiculously expensive and there was is no reason that I could not make it myself.  So I did just that.  I made my own Herb Salt.  My Herb Salt is a simple mixture of fresh picked sage, oregano, rosemary and kosher salt.  That’s it…

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Purple Sage

I just love the color of this sage.  Any variety of sage will do in the recipe for Herb Salt.  Just be sure to pick only the leaves and rinse and dry the leaves well.

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Rosemary

I use lots of rosemary in my kitchen.  It’s readily available for I have a large bush growing on the side of my home.  I pick fresh rosemary all year long and I use it many Mediterranean inspired dishes.   The needles of the Rosemary plant went into the salt mixture…

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Oregano

And finally, oregano…  I have plenty of fresh oregano growing in one of the big pots on my patio.  It’s now starting to take over and beginning to compete with the other herbs in the pot.  It may be time to start transplanting it or even giving some away to friends and neighbors.  Fresh picked oregano tastes fabulous in marinara sauces and other Italian dishes.  It also lends a nice flavor to my Herb Salt.

My Herb Salt is easy to make and can easliy adapted using other types of herbs.  I chose to use rosemary, sage and oregano this time.  I also have parsley, basil, thyme and tarragon that needs to be experimented with.  That’s for another day…

Sprinkle Herb Salt instead of plain sea salt on pork tenderloin, lamb chops or chicken before tossing on the barbecue or grill for a delicious flavor.  It can also be used in soups, stews and sauces.  So the next time you have some fresh herbs that need to to be snipped, be sure to make some Herb Salt.  Enjoy!  Tessa

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup kosher salt (coarse)
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed rosemary
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed oregano
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed sage leaves

Note:  You can use more or less herbs if you choose.  You can also change up the types and ratios if you want.

Begin by washing and drying the rosemary, oregano and sage.  Be sure to use only the leaves and not the stems.  Add salt and herbs to a food processor.  Pulse and then spread onto a small cookie sheet.  Bake in a 225 degree oven for about 35 minutes or until the herbs are dry.  Stir occasionally. Remove herb salt from oven and let cool.  Add herb and salt mixture back to food processor and pulse lightly until desired consistency.  I kept my herb salt a little coarse rather than fine. Store Herb Salt in tightly covered container in a dry place.  Makes about 1 cup of herb salt.

And a final note.  Be sure to save your leftover spice jars.  They can be washed, reused and filled again.  Just peel off the label, wash and dry well, fill with your new spice blend creation, and add a new label!

Grilled Herb Stuffed Wild Trout

Grilled Herb Stuffed Wild Trout

There are few dishes that I can think of that tastes better than fresh Oregon caught Grilled Herb Stuffed Wild Trout. Somehow, trout tastes better when you catch it yourself just like I did over the weekend.  Simply delicious!

Early morning in the Sky Lakes Wilderness.  The air was cold, crisp and clean. We were the only people on the lake that day. Do you see the first snow of the season on the mountain?  There was one snow patch on the gravel road on the way up to the lake.  Once we saw the snow, we all knew that it was the last day of trout fishing for the year.  Within weeks or even days, access to this beautiful high mountain lake will be non existent due to snow covered roads.

Once we got out on the lake, the water looked like glass.  It was so cool to see the reflections of the clouds on the surface of the water.

A view of Mount McLoughlin from the north.  Mount McLoughlin is located in Southern Oregon in the Cascade Mountain Range.  It is a volcanic mountain peak nearly 9,500 feet in elevation.  I’ve never been to the top but, from what I have heard from others is that the view on a clear day is spectacular.  If there was anyone on the top of the mountain that day, they would not have been disappointed.

Fishing poles, check.  Fish finder, check.  Down rigger, check.  Beverages, check…  What a perfect day to go fishing!

It was early afternoon and the wind started to pick up.  Between the three of us, we had not caught a thing.  No bites, no bumps, no nothing.  I was starting to get a bit discouraged because I am used to catching fish.  What was so interesting, is that we observed numerous fish on the fish finder but the problem was that we had difficulty getting them to bite.  We trolled flashers, we bait fished, we tossed out a variety of lures, and we worked the surface of the lake.  We hit all depths and we threw everything that we had in our tackle boxes at them.  The fish simply were not interested.  I’m thinking it is because it was very late in the season and the water was really cold.  When the water is cold, the fish tend to slow down, they are not as hungry as they are in the summer months and in the winter, they descend into depths of the lake.  In the summer, different story.  You can catch the fish from the bank and at times have better luck than those who fish from a boat.

Finally… It happened.  It was a late bite.  By late afternoon, I was the first one to land a fish.  Woo-hoo!  By the end of the day the score was:  John – 2, Tessa – 1 and Matt – 0.  I felt bad for Matt, for he had a brand new fishing pole that he got for his birthday the day before.  Today was a perfect example of why fishing is called “fishing” and fishing is not called “catching”.

My catch of the day!  I am so glad that I did not get “skunked” and have to return home empty handed.  I probably would not have heard the end of it…

My Grilled Herb Stuffed Wild Trout is prepared with fresh caught trout, fresh picked herbs from my garden, and is brightly flavored with orange and lemon zest.  It’s easy to make, fresh tasting, quick to prepare, and most of all delicious!  Most importantly, Bruce loved it too!  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound trout (cleaned, scaled, head and fins removed)
  • 1/4 cup chopped herbs (I used mostly parsley, then, chives and thyme)
  • 1 Tbs each lemon and orange zest
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lemon wedges
  • fresh chopped herbs for garnish

Prepare trout for grilling.  Wash and pat dry.  Set aside.  Mix together herbs, lemon zest, orange zest and olive oil.  Fill cavity of fish with the herb mixture and on the exterior of the fish.  Add salt and pepper.  Place fish on plastic wrap, tightly cover and refrigerate for an hour.  Remove fish from plastic wrap and place directly on a medium high grill or barbecue.  Cook 6 minutes on each side or until done.  Don’t overcook!  Gently remove from grill, place on serving platter.  Garnish with herbs and serve with lemon wedges.  Serves 2.

Herb Rolls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Herb Rolls

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays of the year.  It is without a doubt the perfect excuse to spend quality time with family and friends.  This year were invited to spend the Thanksgiving holiday at my brother in law’s parents home.  We always love going to Jim and Kathy’s house.  It seems like nearly everyone in the house is an amazing cook and it’s always fun to see what dishes others have to contribute.  This year we had both turkey and ham, stuffing, potatoes, yams, ginger carrots, green beans, gravy, cranberry sauce, chicken livers, bruschetta, pumpkin pies, apple pie, cookies, whipped cream, cheeses, and so much more.  Their house is noisy with dishes clanking, champagne bottles popping, people laughing and the sound of football on the TV.  There was so much food that I think I gained 5 pounds yesterday…

One of my contributions to this year’s  great feast was my fresh baked herb rolls.  I’ve been making these savory little herb rolls for nearly 25 years.  I’ve baked them for countless holiday dinners and it’s to the point that no dinner is quite complete without them.  What makes these rolls so special is that I like to use fresh herbs snipped directly from my garden.  I have planted rosemary, parsley and chives next to the back door specifically for this purpose.  I would love to take complete credit for this fabulous recipe but I can’t.   This recipe was originally adapted from my Good Housekeeping Illustrated cookbook.

Ingredients

4 1/2 cups flour
1/3 c. baking sugar
2 packages quick rise yeast
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. nonfat milk
1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup)
2 eggs
1/4 c. finely chopped mixed herbs  (parsley, rosemary and chives)

1 egg beaten with 1 Tbls. nonfat milk for the glaze

In a Kitchen Aid mixing bowl, add your sugar, yeast, salt and 1 1/2 c. flour.  Put the milk and butter in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave about 1 minute until milk is very warm and butter is melted.   Add the milk and butter to mixing bowl.  Using a dough hook on your mixer, slowly mix for about 3 minutes, meanwhile scraping the side of the bowl.  Add another 1/2 c. of flour and the eggs.  Keep mixing for about 2 more minutes.  Add the remaining flour.  Mix for another 8 minutes or until the dough is mixed well and elastic.

On a lightly floured surface add the dough from the bowl.   Flatten dough with your hands and knead the fresh herbs into the dough for about 2 more minutes.  Turn the dough into a greased bowl, cover with a cloth and let rise in a warm place for about an hour.  Punch down the dough and let rest for about 10 – 15 minutes.  Separate dough into 24 even sized pieces (1 1/2 ounces each).  Roll into balls.  Place on silpat lined or greased cookie sheet and cover with a cloth.  Let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Uncover the rolls and brush with the egg glaze.  Bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until golden.  When the herb rolls are done, pull from oven and let cool for a bit on wire racks.  Serve warm with fresh cream butter.  Makes about 24 herb gems.