Herb Pairing – Getting the Most Out of Your Food!

Pairing herbs with vegetables is a nutritious way to boost flavor and nutrient profile while adding no additional fat, salt, carbs or calories. Herbs are amazingly versatile and can be used in every coarse from appetizer to dessert. Here are just a few ideas for using herbs in your menu.

Herbs Complementary flavours Complementary proteins Recipe ideas
Basil Raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes, garlic, onion, artichokes, eggplant, mushrooms, olives, capers Chicken, turkey, pork Roast chicken, basil pesto, bruschetta, or pretty much any Italian or Greek dish.
Bay leaf Pears, tomatoes, artichokes, nuts, lentils, mushrooms, potatoes, thyme, parsley, sage Beef, chicken, tuna Slow cooked stocks, soups, bolognaise or creamy sauces, add to the liquid you poach seafood in.
Chives Asparagus, olives, mushrooms, horseradish, paprika, basil, cilantro, dill, fennel, parsley, tarragon Nut & dairy cheese, eggs Creamy sauces, soups, butters, dips.
Coriander Avocados, apples, apricot, berries, tomatoes, cherries, coconut, nectarine, peach, plum, tropical fruit, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, cardamom, clove, cumin, curry, dates, fennel seed, garlic, ginger, turmeric. Beef, chicken, fish, pork Nori or rice paper rolls, noodle soups, Asian dishes.
Dill Cucumber, yoghurt, carrots, cinnamon, ginger, pepper, mustard, clovesanise, basil, cabbage, capers, caraway, carrots, chives, coriander, cucumbers, cumin,  fennel, garlic, ginger, horseradish, mint, mustard, paprika, parsleyoregano, onion, Salmon, chicken Pickles, stews, tzatziki.
Fennel Artichokes, basil, beans, cabbage, cheese, eggplant, fenugreek, figs, garlic, lemon balm, cilantro, cinnamon, cucumber, cumin, dill, pork, thyme, tomatoes White fish, chicken Salads, coleslaws, soups, gratin.
Kaffir leaf Banana, citrus, coconut, lemongrass, tropical fruit, watermelon Chicken, fish, tofu Ice cream, granita, creamy tarts, refreshing drinks, cocktails, Asian style broths.
Lemongrass Cherry, berries, citrus, coconut, ginger, guava, kaffir leaf, coconut, tropical fruit, vanilla Chicken, white fish Thai flavours, broths, soups
Mint Chocolate, potatoes, peas, strawberries, ginger, cayenne, lemon Pork Herbal tea, chocolate cake, smoothies, juices
Oregano Tomato, chilli, fennel, basil, cinnamon, cumin, eggplant, fennel, garlic, marjoram, mushrooms, onion, parsley, thyme, tomatoes Turkey, pork, beef Pizza, roast beef, tomato sauces
Parsley Butter, potatoes, basil, bay leaf, chives, dill, garlic, marjoram, mushrooms, grains, onion, oregano,thyme, tomatoes Fish, chicken, eggs Hearty soups, baked potatoes
Rosemary Mushrooms, cauliflower, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, garlic Beef, turkey Roast meats
Sage Apple, lemon, apples, bay leaf,  capers, caraway, celery, citrus, garlic, ginger, marjoram, onions, paprika, parsley, rosemary, thyme, tomatoes Beef, veal, pork, turkey Roast beef, garlic butter, potato dishes
Thyme Sumac,bananas, basil, bay leaf, beans, carrots, citrus, dill, garlic, mint, mushrooms, onion, oregano, parsley, sage Turkey, pork, beef, fish, eggs Roast beef, grilled fish

 

 

 

 

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What’s The Benefit? Probiotics

This week we are focusing on the health benefits of “Probiotics” and why you might want to incorporate more into your diet.

Why You Might Need Probiotics:
If you have certain digestive disorders, reoccurring infections, eczema, food allergies, certain mental health disorders or just can’t seem to stay well, you may benefit from adding more probiotics to your diet.

How Probiotics Help These Conditions:
I’m sure that you have heard the phrase, “Your health starts in the gut.” It true – many ailments and conditions are connected to imbalance of good and bad bacteria or “poor gut health”. This imbalance can be caused by poor diet, medicines including antibiotics, and more. By adding probiotics to your diet, you help the good bacteria thrive and restore natural balance in the gut.

How Can I Get More Probiotics in My Diet?
The most common way to get probiotics is by eating yogurt with live bacteria. You can also get probiotics from kombucha (look on the BBO store for new varieties!), pickled vegetables, miso, kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut (homemade recipe on back – perfect addition to your backyard BBQ meals!).

White Cabbage Kraut Recipe (Dry-Salt Method) – Recipe Courtesy of thejennifermac.com
-1 head of cabbage (4-5 lb.)
-1 large carrot
-1 tsp – 1 Tbsp. Sea Salt (optional, to taste)

Directions: With a food processor or by hand, thinly slice the cabbage and carrot. In a large bowl, add the vegetable shreds in with the salt and toss the contents so the salt is spread out evenly. With clean hands, massage and squeeze the contents to release the juices. Stuff the vegetables into a glass bowl or jar with a weight on top, ensuring the liquid rises above the vegetables. A little water may need to be added. Cover with a breathable towel and let sit at room temperature and out of direct sunlight for at least five days. Some ferment much longer, up to two weeks. Lid and refrigerate for two months. Fills a half gallon jar.

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What’s The Benefit? Organic vs. Conventional

What’s the Benefit? This week we are touching on “Organic vs Conventional”. We will look at the difference in farming practices, environmental impact, and overall health benefits.

Organic Farming vs Conventional Farming:
The essential difference between organic and conventional farming is that conventional farming relies on chemical intervention to fight pests and weeds and provide plant nutrition. That means synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. Organic farming relies on natural principles like biodiversity and composting instead to produce healthy, abundant food. Source

Environmental Impact:
Conventional and organic farming methods have different consequences on the environment and people. Conventional agriculture causes increased greenhouse gas emissions, soil erosion, water pollution, and threatens human health. Organic farming has a smaller carbon footprint, conserves and builds soil health, replenishes natural ecosystems for cleaner water and air, all without toxic pesticide residues. (Rodale Institute)

Reduced Exposure to Herbicides & Pesticides in Organic Farming:
The commonly used herbicide Roundup has been classified as a “probable human carcinogen,” and the insecticide chlorpyrifos has been associated with developmental delays in infants. Studies have also suggested that pesticide residues—at levels commonly found in the urine of kids in the U.S.—may contribute to ADHD prevalence; they’ve also been linked to reduced fertility in men.

Reduced Exposure to Heavy Metals:
Because of differences in fertilization techniques, organic crops are 48% less likely to test positive for cadmium, a toxic heavy metal that accumulates in the liver and kidneys. (Source)

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Quinoa Spring Risotto

spring quinioa risotto.jpg

Risotto is a delicious favorite comfort foods. It makes a delicious main dish and also is a wonderful side dish. We have served it with balsamic roasted pork tenderloin, grilled chicken, salmon or butter and garlic sautéed shrimp.

My favorite versions or risotto all include springtime vegetables. As much as I love traditional risotto made with Arborio style rice replacing rice with quinoa is just as flavorful and has five times the protein as well as other beneficial nutrients.  Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups organic chicken broth
  • 3 Tablespoon butter or coconut oil
  • 1 large fenel, sliced (optional)
  • 2 leeks, diced (or one medium onion)
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 -4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 lb. asparagus, trimmed and chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 2/3 cup frozen green peas
  • ½ cup shredded parmesan
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Directions: In a medium sauce pan bring broth to simmer. Meanwhile in another large pan melt butter. Add optional fennel, leeks, celery and garlic. Stir for about one minute. Add the quinoa and stir until quinoa is coated, about one minute. Add vinegar to deglaze pan. Add the broth and cover pan. Simmer, checking often and adding more broth as needed. Usual cooking time is about fifteen minutes depending on type of heat. When quinoa is cooked stir in asparagus, peas, parmesan and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Tips: If you prefer your asparagus to be more cooked you might parboil for a few minutes before adding to risotto.

To boost nutrition try stirring in or topping with your risotto. like spinach, kale or arugula.

 

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