Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tuesday at the {herbal} Table

My little herb snippers have been put to good use this week, as I've tried a wide assortment of herbal recipes, and I think I can honestly say I'd make them all again! I didn't get pics of them all, but that doesn't mean they weren't more than tasty!

This first one is a refreshing summer beverage I've actually made many times - and which is why we have lemon balm growing in our yard! The recipe is originally from The Herbfarm, a really unique and exclusive restaurant near us that is known for using herbs in every dish. (And unfortunately, no I haven't been there, but I do make switchel every summer!)

Haymaker Switchel
¼ cup sugar
½ cup water
½ cup finely chopped mint leaves
½ cup finely chopped lemon balm leaves
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup orange juice
Ginger Ale

Combine sugar and water in saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring often to dissolve the sugar. Add chopped mint and lemon balm and boil for 30 seconds. Turn off heat; cover and let stand for 1 hour. Strain into a clean container and add citrus juices. We use about 2 Tb. of the mix in an ice-filled glass and then top off with ginger ale. I bet you could sub lemon mint or all mint, if you don't have lemon balm.

I took a cue from Susan/The History Quilter's link-up and made some flavored water instead of serving 'just' plain water to guests last weekend. I found a blog via Pinterest - NancyCreative - with lots of flavor combo ideas. I combined lemon slices, cucumber slices, and sprigs of mint. Nice.

Having all the ingredients already in my fridge and herb garden, I also tried Becky/Solar Thread's linked-up recipe for Greek Eggs. It made a really nice Sunday supper!

After chatting with Lynne/pieceful about the pesto recipe I shared from The Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook, I made the "marinated tomato, brie and BASIL salad on page 152" at her suggestion. Oh my! It was like dessert! I"d never had brie served anything like this. And as Lynne told me - "don't forget the bread".

Marinated Tomato, Brie and Basil Salad
4 ripe large tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/2" cubes (I used little pear tomatoes.)
1# brie, rind removed, cheese cut into irregular pieces
1 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into strips
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large serving bowl. Let stand covered at room temp for at least 2 hours. Serve with crusty bread.

Lastly, I needed an herbal recipe for the pork loin I planned to serve to guests last weekend. My old friend epicurious provided just what I was looking for - Marinated Pork with Cilantro and Garlic - which was easy and delish.

Oh! I almost forgot to report on the marinated olives I made last week! Keeper! I shared some with my mom, who added them to leftover chicken and pasta for a tasty lunch, nibbled on a few myself of course, and used the rest to make olive-topped focaccia. Since I wasn't overly thrilled with the recipe I used for the focaccia, let me just say this - make your favorite recipe, and before baking, push indentations all over the dough with your finger. Brush the entire surface with oil from those olives, then pop an olive into each indentation and sprinkle with chopped thyme. Bake as usual. And enjoy.

So that's pleeeenty of herbal goodness from me this week! What about you? Time to share so link up here!


  1. The salad looks yummy! Great for hot days. Now I am wondering what the yellow/orange part is. Are those also tomatoes?

  2. That all sounds rather lovely, especially the salad!

  3. Oooh, a mint idea! I'm going to weed-whack my way to the garden now!

  4. That salad looks so refreshing. Your little mat is pretty cute too : )

  5. that drink sounds great! another recipe to try! ;)

  6. All those dishes sound great! I'm definitely going to have to try that drink as I've got a massive pot of mint right outside the front door. Sounds fabulous!