Say YES to a Kitchen Herb Garden

You don’t have to live in a big house to create a wonderful herb garden. Any space that is light and airy is the perfect place to grow aromatic herbs. Even if you live in a tiny apartment, there is always room for a kitchen herb garden. Not only will you save time and money, but you will also benefit from the medicinal properties of fresh herbs from your kitchen.

Try to ensure that your herbs get 8 hours of sunlight. If they aren’t getting the photo nutrients that they need you may as well buy them from your grocer. Air quality is another issue. During the winter, the air is much drier because of furnaces and fireplaces. Add a layer of pebbles to the bottom of your pots. Although the water in the tray evaporates, it adds humidity around the herbs. You will be amazed just how often you will have to refill that pebble tray.

Try adding deliciously fresh herbs from your garden like thyme, basil, tarragon, and oregano to your favorite spaghetti sauce recipe. Skip the pre-packaged dips and make your own. Fresh dill combined with sour cream and a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper is all you need to add zest to your vegetable platter. Make your own guacamole with cilantro, or cut up some mint and try that julep that you have been promising yourself. Any recipe is better with freshly grown herbs.

If you are trying to watch what you eat, a kitchen garden is a necessity. Just walk down the aisle at your local supermarket and start reading labels. Even bottled herbs have some sort of preservative added.

Start planning your kitchen herb garden today. You will be surprised at just how quickly you will be making delicious meals with your own fresh organic herbs.

Creamy Pesto Dip
Yield: 6 – 8 servings
2 cups basil
1 clove garlic, cracked away from skin
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 cup grated Parmigianino cheese
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup Mascarpone Cheese
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (optional)
Salt and coarse black pepper
In a food processor, add the basil, garlic, pine nuts and Parmigiano cheese. Process the ingredients and add in the oil in a slow and steady stream. Remove the pesto to a large serving bowl and stir in the Mascarpone cheese and lemon juice.  Season the dip with salt and pepper.

Fresh Herb & Garlic Marinade
Yield: Makes 3/4 cup
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil or Grapeseed oil
1/2 cup mixed fresh herbs, such as oregano, thyme, savory, sage, parsley, and rosemary, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Whisk together ingredients in a nonreactive dish.
Toss or brush on Chicken, Fish and vegetables and let marinate for at least an hour before grilling, baking or roasting.
Glaze finish product with Herb Garlic marinade (only use marinade that has not been use to marinate products )before serving.

photo credit: Earthworm via photopin ccLiving in Monrovia via photopin cc