Tag Archives: herbs

Buttermilk Herb Dip w/ Fresh Vegetable Crudite

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Sometimes it is the easiest dishes that are the best.  This is often the case when it comes to appetizers. Don’t get me wrong, I love to eat and make fancy bite-sized treats as much as the next person.  There is something special about a treat that you know took a lot of work and tastes great to boot.  But other times, simple is the way to go.  I think this is especially true as we move into warmer weather and want to put lighter, fresher, and yes, less time-consuming food on our tables.  And perhaps the easiest solution of all is good old-fashioned dip with vegetables.

But we’re not talking your grandmother’s rich dip laden with heavy sour cream and dried French onion soup mix.  Thanks to a combination of Greek yogurt and low-fat sour cream my dip, adapted from a Fine Cooking recipe, is lighter and filled with plenty of fresh herbs.  I used parsley, dill, and thyme but feel free to put together any combination that appeals to you.  The dip should sit for at least half an hour before serving but that will give you plenty of time to cut up the fresh veggies that you need for dipping.  Your results will be tasty with no stove required.

BUTTERMILK HERB DIP w/FRESH VEGETABLE CRUDITE

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 cup low-fat sour cream

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup buttermilk

3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

3 cloves minced garlic

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Crudite vegetables of your choice for dipping

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and stir until well mixed.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour before serving.

Yields:  3 cups

 

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Chicken w/ White Wine & Herbs

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Sometimes the simplest dishes taste the best and this chicken and white wine dish adapted from Simply Delicious is one such example. It has become one of my pantry staples since between my pantry, freezer and herb garden I always have the ingredients on hand. The recipe is also quite flexible; experiment with the combination of herbs or use whatever fresh herbs you have on hand. My favorite combination is rosemary, sage and thyme. Serve this chicken alongside a green vegetable and roasted potatoes and dinner is served. Yum!
CHICKEN WITH WHITE WINE & HERBS
8 bone-in chicken thighs, skin optional
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
6 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
1 1/4 cups dry white wine (I like to use an unoaked Pinot Grigio)
1/4 cup fresh herbs, chopped (I used rosemary, sage and thyme)
1/8 cup heavy cream
Salt & pepper to taste
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Heat the olive oil and butter in a large oven proof skillet set over medium-high heat.
  • Season the chicken with salt and pepper and fry the chicken in the skillet, turning occasionally until it is golden brown on all sides.
  • Remove the chicken from the pan and add the garlic to the oil. Saute for a few minutes then add in the wine, herbs and cream. Stir well.
  • Return the chicken to the pan, turning to coat with the sauce.
  • Place the skillet in the oven and roast for 15-20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear when pierced with a fork.
Serves 4

Green Goddess Dip

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Packed with fresh herbs, green goddess dip is the perfect accompaniment to a crudite platter. Many green goddess dips are heavy with mayonnaise and sour cream but I prefer to use Greek yogurt as the base for my dip. It is naturally tangy and so much lighter than the alternatives. When it comes to the fresh herbs, make sure you use the freshest ones you can find. By using a variety adds complexity to an otherwise simple dip. If any of the following aren’t to your liking you can easily substitute them for other herbs or use more of another. Do stay away from heavier herbs such as rosemary though. Its strong flavor would overwhelm this dip.

Tender asparagus tips, cherry tomatoes, radishes and sugar snap peas are some of my favorite “dipping” vegetables but feel free to use whatever fresh vegetables you prefer.

Green Goddess Dip

2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, minced

2 tablespoons chives, minced

2 tablespoons basil, minced

1 tablespoon tarragon, minced

1 tablespoon dill, minced

1 tablespoon mint, minced

1 shallot, finely diced

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3/4 cup Greek yogurt

1/4 cup mayonnaise (I like to use Miracle Whip)

Salt & Pepper to taste

  • Place the herbs, shallot, lemon juice, Greek yogurt and mayonnaise in a medium-sized bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Using a stick blender, process until smooth, approximately 1 minute.
  • Transfer to a small bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap.
  • Refrigerate at least 30 minute or up to 3 days.
  • Stir well and adjust the seasonings again before serving if needed.

Yields: 1 1/2 cups

 

Tuscan Style Roast Pork Tenderloin

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It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

I tend to think of roast meats as being slow cooked meals reserved for lazy Sunday dinners but this doesn’t have to be the case.  Pork tenderloin is tender, flavorful, and a one pound piece of meat cooks in less than half an hour making it a perfect weeknight dinner option.  This recipe is adapted from Williams Sonoma and uses quick cooking tenderloin instead of a full fledge roast.  The lively combination of fresh herbs, crushed fennel and pungent garlic ensure that each bite will be bursting with flavor.  The simple white wine sauce adds a sweetness that only enhances the meat.  Serve the roasted meat alongside a starchy vegetable–crispy smashed roasted potatoes or butter braised radishes and a leafy salad.  The result?  Fast perfection.

TUSCAN STYLE ROAST PORK TENDERLOIN

1 1-lb pork tenderloin, trimmed (If you are serving a crowd, use 2 tenderloins rather than 1 larger one)

4 large garlic cloves, crushed and minced

2 tablespoons fresh minced rosemary

2 tablespoons fresh minced sage

2 teaspoons crushed fennel seeds

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large red onion, thinly sliced

1 cup dry white wine

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Combine the garlic, rosemary, sage, and fennel seeds in a small bowl.  Season generously with salt and pepper.
  • Cut small slits along the surface of the tenderloin.  Using your fingers insert the herb mixture into the slits then rub the remainder of the herb mixture along the surface of the meat.
  • Transfer the tenderloin to a large rimmed roasting pan and place the sliced onion around the perimeter of the meat.
  • Drizzle the meat and onions with the olive oil.
  • Roast approximately 20 to 25 minutes or until the internal temperature of the tenderloin reaches 155 degrees.
  • Remove the tenderloin from the oven and move to a serving platter.  Tent the meat with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  • While the meat is resting, place the roasting pan on the stove top and turn the burner(s) to high heat.
  • Add the white wine to the pan and scraping the bottom of the pan, bring to a boil.
  • Allow the mixture to boil for 2 to 3 minutes or until the liquid is reduced and slightly syrupy.
  • Slice the meat into 1 inch thick pieces and serve topped with the wine sauce.

Serves 4

Herbed Lemon Butter Cheese Crepes

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I love crepes. They are essentially a thin pancake and here in Belgium are sold everywhere from sidewalk food vendors to high end restaurants. Crepes are incredibly versatile and can go from sweet to savory with just a few ingredients. Classic orange flavored crepe suzettes are probably the most well known dessert version but filled with fresh fruit they are a healthy breakfast or you can treat yourself to a decadent snack by adding a smear of Nutella (and perhaps some banana slices). And then you have savory crepes. Fillings can range from meats to cheeses and vegetables. The options are truly endless.

Cooking the perfect crepe takes practice and skill but once you’ve mastered the technique you will be able to cook up batches of perfectly thin crepes in no time. I’ve found that the trick is to have a hot, well oiled crepe pan and use a scant 1/4 cup of batter for each crepe. Any  more and the pancakes will be too thick. Once you have ladled the batter in the pan, quickly swirl it around to for a thin layer over the entire surface. When the outer edges curl a bit and turn crisp the crepe is ready to flip. The technique can be perfected with just one or two crepes.

These savory crepes from the Washington Post Food Section bring the filling right to the batter. With the grated cheese and fresh herbs mixed right into the batter, these crepes don’t need any filling. Of course, the lemon herbed butter sauce is a nice addition but if you are counting calories, you can omit the sauce. I used a combination of fresh parsley, thyme, and chives but feel free to substitute a combination of fresh herbs. Served alongside fresh steamed asparagus, these crepes make a perfect light dinner or brunch entree. Voila! Dinner is served.

HERBED LEMON BUTTER CHEESE CREPES

For the crepes:

3 large eggs

1 1/4 cups low fat milk

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 cup flour

1/2 cup grated cheese (I used French Gruyere)

1 tablespoon fresh minced chives

1 tablespoon fresh minced thyme

1 tablespoon fresh minced parsley

For the Lemon-Herb Butter

4 tablespoons salted butter

1 tablespoon fresh minced chives

1 tablespoon fresh minced thyme

1 tablespoon fresh minced parsley

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

Freshly ground black pepper

For the crepes:

  • Whisk the eggs in a large mixing bowl until well blended.
  • Add the milk and the melted butter.
  • Sift the flour into the batter and stir well until incorporated.
  • Add the cheese and the minced herbs and stir until a smooth batter forms.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
  • Stir the batter well to reincorporate the ingredients before cooking.
  • When ready to make the crepes, heat an 8 inch crepe pan over medium heat.
  • Lightly coat the pan with non-stick cooking spray then add a scant 1/4 cup of batter to the center of the pan.
  • Immediately swirl it around the pan to create a thin coating over the entire bottom of the skillet.
  • Cook for 60 to 90 seconds then use a thin metal spatula to loosen the crepe around the edges.
  • Flip the crepe over and cook for an additional minute or two, until the crepe just begins to turn a pale golden brown.
  • Slide the crepe to a plate and repeat until all of the batter has been used. You may want to keep the crepes hot in a 200 degree oven.
  • Serve the crepes loosely folded over and drizzled with the lemon-herb butter.

For the Lemon-Herb Butter

  • Melt the butter in a small pan set over low heat.
  • Add the herbs, lemons zest and a light sprinkling of black pepper; cook for two minutes.

Makes 12 crepes

 

Buttermilk Herb Dip w/ Fresh Vegetable Crudite

photo 1-77

Sometimes it is the easiest dishes that are the best.  This is often the case when it comes to appetizers. Don’t get me wrong, I love to eat and make fancy bite-sized treats as much as the next person.  There is something special about a treat that you know took a lot of work and tastes great to boot.  But other times, simple is the way to go.  I think this is especially true as we move into warmer weather and want to put lighter, fresher, and yes, less time-consuming food on our tables.  And perhaps the easiest solution of all is good old-fashioned dip with vegetables.

But we’re not talking your grandmother’s rich dip laden with heavy sour cream and dried French onion soup mix.  Thanks to a combination of Greek yogurt and low-fat sour cream my dip, adapted from a Fine Cooking recipe, is lighter and filled with plenty of fresh herbs.  I used parsley, dill, and thyme but feel free to put together any combination that appeals to you.  The dip should sit for at least half an hour before serving but that will give you plenty of time to cut up the fresh veggies that you need for dipping.  Your results will be tasty with no stove required.

BUTTERMILK HERB DIP w/FRESH VEGETABLE CRUDITE

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 cup low-fat sour cream

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup buttermilk

3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

3 cloves minced garlic

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Crudite vegetables of your choice for dipping

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and stir until well mixed.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour before serving.

Yields:  3 cups

Marinated Bocconcini

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Fresh mozzarella and tomatoes are natural partners but when you throw in a few olives and some capers you have Mediterranean extravaganza in a bowl.  This salad, from The Cheese Course by Janet Fletcher is super easy and tasty too.  Fresh oregano is a departure from the typical basil that is usually paired with this cheese and vegetable combination.  The oregano give the dish an earthy touch but you could easily use an equal amount of basil if you wish.  I’ve served this dish as both a salad as well as an appetizer; allow guests to spear their cheese and tomatoes with toothpicks and everyone will be happy. Enjoy!

MARINATED BOCCONCINI

1/2 cup olive oil

1 large clove garlic, minced

2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 pound bocconcini, well drained

1 tablespoon capers, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley

Sea salt to taste

1/2 cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup black oil cured olives

  • In a small saucepan heat the oil, garlic, oregano, and pepper flakes over medium heat until the garlic sizzles and just begins to color, 1-2 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and cool to room temperature.
  • Place the bocconcini in a bowl and cover with the seasoned oil.  Add the capers and parsley, stirring to coat.
  • Cover and let stand for several hours, stirring occasionally.  Just before serving season to taste with salt.
  • Arrange the bocconcini on a serving platter alongside the tomatoes and olives.

Services 6 to 8

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