How is it pronounced?
In the USA we skip the “H” and say Erbs. In the UK it is pronounced herbs with the h-sound. How is it pronounced where you are?
Herbs are Vital for Cooking
What would dining be like if we didn’t have herbs? Before the first humans decided to throw some rosemary or sage on their venison, I am sure it was mighty bland. The addition of herbs can be a powerful tool in cooking that can really make or break a dish. So, how to use them?
Cooking with Herbs can make all the Difference in a Dish
Some truly delicious meals are made when a combination of herbs are added at different times in the same dish. For instance,
a truly divine posole (a New Mexican stew – Recipe at bottom of the post) may have dried coriander added to the pot at the beginning of it’s simmering time, then finished off with some glorious fresh cilantro after you’ve added a good-sized ladle to your bowl. (Did you know that cilantro and coriander are the same plant? In the US we refer to the plant as cilantro and its seeds as coriander. In Europe it is all called coriander.) Another option is to let someone else (like Art of Cookery) do all the hard work, then add your own pizzazz at home. Give us a call and we will reserve our yummy meals for you (see this week’s menu below), then you can pick it up and discover that we use a
lot of herbs to brighten it up a bit. Could there be anything better?
Rules of Thumb
A general rule of thumb is that dried herbs are added at the beginning of cooking to help them soften and release their flavors, and fresh herbs should be added at or near the end to bring out their fresh and delicate flavor in the finished dish.
Another thing to keep in mind is that dried herbs typically have a more intense flavor than fresh herbs. So keep this in mind when making substitutions, or when you feel like winging it and not following a recipe. A good ratio to use is 3:1 fresh to dried (1 TBSP fresh is 1 tsp dried). Say you’re using a recipe for a marinara that calls for a teaspoon dried basil, but you happen to have found a gorgeous bunch of fresh basil on your trip to the store. No problem! Just omit the basil when the directions say to add it at the beginning, then stir in 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh basil into the pasta right before serving.
Save a little of it to sprinkle over your plated pasta for a feast for the eyes as well as the palate.
Here at Art of Cookery we love to create artful and delicious food, and to show you how to do so as well, so be sure to scroll through more of our blog for lots of ideas and recipes that you can make your own. Also check out our classes and register for some to really up your food game. See you soon!
Menu for this Week
Please order ahead if you can, it helps so much with planning. I do try to make more than what is ordered and keep it in ‘fridge at the front of Art of Cookery for quick grabs (pay via Venmo or Cash). My venmo address is on the front of the refrigerator.
New Mexican Posole
- 1 Dutch Oven Or, an electric pressure cooker
- 1 wooden spoon to stir
- 1 mesh strainer
- 1 blender
- 1 rubber spatula to press the chilies through the strainer
- 2 tbsp oil divided
- 5 guajillo chilis stems removed and cut into three large pieces
- 2 roma tomatoes quartered
- 2.5 c boiling water
- 2 lb boneless pork roast cut into 1" chunks
- 3 tsp coriander seed
- 1 1/2 lg onion chopped
- 8 garlic cloves minced
- 4 tbsp corn starch optional, only if you want it thick
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 1/2 tbsp Mexican oregano
- 4 15 oz cans white hominy or garbanzo beans drained and rinsed, a blend of half and half is nice.
- 5 c chicken broth
- 1 1/2 tsp salt Or to taste
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 4 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp sugar optional
- 1/2 c chopped cilantro plus extra for garnish
- Garnish Suggestions: radish, avocado, red onion, lime wedges, tortilla chips, cherry tomatoes, basil
- In a Dutch oven, sauté chilies in 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat until heated through, don't brown. Transfer chilies to a bowl; add boiling water. Soak them while you do the next step.
- In the Dutch oven, brown pork in remaining oil in batches, sauteing coriander seed, onion, and garlic with the last batch of pork. Return all pork to pan and add broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until meat is tender, 30 minutes.
- Transfer chilies and their liquid and Roma tomatoes to a blender; cover and process until smooth. Press through a mesh strainer, reserving pulp and discarding skins/seeds. Add pulp to pork mixture. Stir in the hominy (or garbanzo), bay leaves, oregano and salt. Cover and simmer, 30 minutes.
- Stir in lime juice and cilantro.
- To serve, ladle into bowls. Optional: to garnish, spread a row of radishes around the curve of the bowl. Sprinkle red onions and cilantro on top. Place lime or lemon wedges and tortilla on plate next to the bowl.
Using an Electric Pressure Cooker
- Place oil in cooker and press saute. Add the peppers and sauté 2 minutes.
- Pour 2.5 c hot water over peppers and bring to a simmer. Press Cancel. Put on cover.
- Pressure cook at high for 2 minutes. Quick Release. (At this point you can skip the release and turn it off and just let it sit overnight and you can proceed the next day.) Pour contents into a blender, add tomatoes and puree. Pour into a mesh strainer set over a container. Push with rubber spatula until only skin/seeds remain in strainer.
- Meanwhile, in cooker, add more oil and cook pork in batches over a high temp sauté. When the last batch is no longer pink, add the coriander, onions and garlic. Cook 2 minutes.
- Add cornstarch and stir to coat everything. Add all other ingredients, EXCEPT the lime juice and cilantro. Stir, cover, and pressure cook at high for 5 minutes. Natural release for 15 minutes.
- Open and stir in lime juice and cilantro. Garnish and serve.