Summer Fest: Virtual Herb Garden

by Jennifer Iannolo

Given that we like to run amok with herbs, I’m a little giddy about this week’s Summer Fest topic. If you’ve been hanging around here a while, you know we love to get lost in the scents and flavors of fresh herbs, myself in particular, as I can’t seem to keep an herb plant alive. It fosters a constant state of longing.

One of the hidden gems of the Gilded Fork, which will be given much more prominence in our upcoming site redesign, is our set of test kitchen dossiers. We try to give you a quick-yet-substantial overview of the ingredient in question, its origins and etymology, flavor profiles, uses in the kitchen, and recipes we’ve come up with over the years. There are a whole lot of them on our Ingredients page if you want to take a peek. I’ll wait.

For this week’s particular theme, we’ve created a virtual herb garden for you. (Don’t worry, these are safe from my black thumb.) We encourage you to sniff, chiffonade, infuse, finely chop and nibble your way to ecstasy with these herbaceous delights. Then you can start to build flavor combinations like the ones in our featured recipes this week, which are two of the most popular on our site. Oh my, yes.

Featured recipes:

Lavender Pound Cake with Lemon Glaze
Rosemary & Honey-Roasted Pears

Featured dossiers:

Fabulous Fennel
Cilantro: Herb with an Attitude
Sweet Blooming Lavender
Lemongrass: Perfumed Allure
Rosemary: The Scent of Inspiration
Sensually Satisfying Sage
Tarragon: The Sweet Taste of Spring
Basil Primer

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Here’s what our other Summer Fest cohorts are doing this week with herbs, as well as with beans and other greens. You can also follow along on Twitter with the hashtag #summerfood.

Margaret Roach: Away to Garden
Storing a year of herbs & one-pot Farinata: a polenta dish with greens

Michelle Buffardi: Cooking Channel’s Devour/The Blog (Scripps)
The Best Bean Salads
A French Take on Greens, Beans and Herbs
@mbuffardi

Alison Sickelka: Food2 blog (Scripps)
Leftover Herb Solution (Pesto!)
@ali_s

FN Dish: Food Network
The “Other” Summer Greens

Healthy Eats: Food Network
Top 6 Herbs

Cate O’Malley: Sweetnicks.com
Fresh Green Bean Salad with Herb Vinaigrette
@cateomalley

Paige Smith Orloff: The Sister Project
Aloha, Pesto
@paigeorloff

Diane and Todd: White on Rice Couple
Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
@whiteonrice

Kelly Senyei: Just a Taste
Fresh Herb Ricotta
@justataste

Caroline Wright: The Wright Recipes
Wax and Butter Bean Herbed Salad
@chefcaroline

Caron Golden: San Diego Foodstuff
Kale & Feta Empanadas and Roasted Romano Beans
@carondg

Tigress in a Jam
Preserving–book giveaway, and ways to put up greens, beans, herbs
@tigressjampickl

Alana Chernila: Eating from the Ground Up
Shirred eggs with fresh herbs: the affinity between eggs and herbs
@edability

Judy: Divina Cucina
Tuscan Butcher’s Blend of Herbs
@divinacucina

Shauna Ahern: Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef
What to do with fava beans
@glutenfreegirl

Tara: Tea & Cookies
Clean Out the Fridge Summer Frittata

Nicole: Pinch My Salt
Green Beans with Balsamic Browned Butter
@pinchmysalt

Food Network UK
On the edge with beans and greens

HOW YOU CAN JOIN IN SUMMER FEST:
Each Wednesday for the rest of the summer (and probably longer), a group of blogging friends including those above will swap our recipes and tips about the following harvest-fresh ingredients. Here’s the schedule:

7/28: Cukes ‘n Zukes
8/4: Corn
8/11: Herbs, Greens and Beans
8/18: Stone Fruit
8/25 Tomatoes

We each post something and then link to one another, so that you can travel around the combined effort, gathering the goodies. Sharing makes the experience even better, so if you have a recipe or tip that fits any of our weekly themes, you can do either of the following:

  • Leave a comment on participating blogs with a link to your recipe/tip
  • Publish a post of your own, and grab the juicy Summer Fest 2010 tomato badge (illustrated by Matt Armendariz of Mattbites)

We hope to see you in the kitchen!

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