Monthly Cookbook Review: June-The Herbal Kitchen

monthly cookbook review banner 300x250 Monthly Cookbook Review: June The Herbal Kitchen

I adore all kinds of books, but especially LOVE to delve deeply into cookbooks of all varieties.  Each month I will bring you a review of a cookbook.  Each book will be different in theme, taste, style and recipes. I hope that by offering you a review of a variety of cookbooks you have a small window or “peek” into their depths and my perspective into the culinary offerings of these books and might venture out of your normal cooking routine to try a new dish or two!

Bon Appetite!

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  theherbalkitchen Monthly Cookbook Review: June The Herbal Kitchen

[easyazon_link asin="0060599766" locale="US" new_window="default" nofollow="default" tag="simplivisim09-20"]The Herbal Kitchen: Cooking with Fragrance and Flavor[/easyazon_link]

The secret to transforming easy dishes into extraordinary meals? Fresh herbs. In The Herbal Kitchen, award-winning cookbook author and acclaimed Herbfarm Restaurant chef Jerry Traunfeld presents simple dishes using herbs straight from the market, windowsill, or garden.

Until recently, the fresh herbs available in supermarkets were limited to parsley and maybe dill, if you were lucky. Today, thyme, rosemary, basil, cilantro, mint, and sage are among the many fresh herbs as close as the produce section or the farmer’s market. Not to mention marjoram, lovage, tarragon, lavender, shiso, and so many others…and just what is shiso anyway??

Jerry shows you how to incorporate these fresh herbs into your everyday home meals. So whether preparing a workday supper for the family, a special dinner for two, or a feast for a special occasion, using fresh herbs in your cooking will result in fresh and vibrant food.

The Herbal Kitchen includes some recipes that are home variations of the innovative dishes Jerry prepares at the Herbfarm, while others are fresh takes on familiar classics such as Herb Garden Lasagna or Shrimp in Garlic-Sage Butter. All are uncomplicated and prep time is minimal — with the emphasis on creativity and the freshness and flavors of fresh herbs.

Start off with Asparagus and Lemon Thyme Soup, Spicy Verbena Meatballs, or Rye-Thyme Cheese Straws before moving on to Cinnamon Basil Chicken, Side of Salmon Slow-Roasted in Dill, and Root Ribbons with Sage. To die for desserts include Warm Lavender Almond Cakes, Rhubarb Mint Cobbler, and a sinful Chocolate Peppermint Tart.

Once you’re hooked on cooking with fresh herbs, you’ll want to grow them yourself (which you already do…right?!!). The Herbal Kitchen is filled with important tips for growing, harvesting, and handling each of the herbs used in the recipes. Valuable information on the varieties of each herb is also highlighted, such as how to tell the difference between Greek oregano and Italian oregano, why you always want to choose bay laurel over California bay, and what type of lavender is best for cooking.

Filled with stunning photos of the herbs, the techniques for handling them, and the finished dishes, Jerry’s definitive guide is sure to be a classic, reached for again and again…translation, just keep this one on your kitchen counter!!

Bonus Recipes:

Green Bean, Basil, and radish salad

Serves 6

Fillet beans, the slender green beans that are sometimes called haricots verts or “French beans,” are perfect for this salad, but you can use other types of fresh beans, like Romano beans or runner beans, if you angle-cut them into bite-sized pieces. Just be sure they’re snappy, tender, and sweet.


¼ cup finely chopped shallots
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 pound fresh fillet green beans
1 bunch radishes, cut into wedges (about 2 cups)
½ cup coarsely chopped basil
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup thin shavings Parmigiano



Stir the shallots and vinegar together in a large mixing bowl and let them sit to mellow the raw bite of the shallots.

Boil the beans in a large pot of heavily salted water until just tender but still have some crunch. Drain the beans and then plunge them into a large bowl of ice water. Drain again and dry on paper towels.

Add the beans to the bowl with the shallots. Toss in the radishes, basil, olive oil, salt, and a few grindings of black pepper. Turn out onto a serving platter and top with the shaved cheese.

Herbal improvisations
In place of the basil, add 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped tarragon and top the salad with crumbled goat cheese instead of Parmesan. Or add ¼ cup coarsely chopped dill and top with crumbled feta.


Steamed Mussels with lovage

2 servings as a main course-4 servings in a multi course meal

The booming celerylike flavor of lovage might seem too strong for seafood, but it really complements most kinds, especially shellfish. I think mussels and lovage are a triumphant combination.

Lovage is an Old Faithful of an herb. You plant it once and early every spring it shoots from the earth and soars 6 or 7 feet in a couple of months — if you let it. The trick is to keep cutting back the flowering stalks so that it continues to produce young leaves, which are the only ones that are good to cook with. As the leaves get older and turn pale green or yellowed they become bitter and unpalatable.


2 pounds mussels, washed and beards removed
½ cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped young lovage leaves
2 cups diced ripe tomatoes, or halved cherry tomatoes
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Generous grinding of black pepper



Put everything but 1 tablespoon of the lovage in a large skillet or saucepan and cover.

Cook over high heat until most of the mussels open up, then shake the pan and continue to cook for another minute. Spoon the mussels and their liquid into large serving bowls, sprinkle with the lovage that was set aside, and serve with crusty bread.


You might also like this book:

herbfarm Monthly Cookbook Review: June The Herbal Kitchen

[easyazon_link asin="0684839768" locale="US" new_window="default" nofollow="default" tag="simplivisim09-20"]The Herbfarm Cookbook[/easyazon_link]

Ornamental Rule Lines in Different Design 2 150x44 Monthly Cookbook Review: June The Herbal Kitchen

This article is hopping around the following Blog Hops:

Homestead Barn HopWildcrafting WednesdayFrom the Farm Fridays, Simple Saturdays Blog Hop, Simple Life Sunday Blog Hop.


This article may be contributed to third-party sites, but it is COPYRIGHTED, and it may not be USED in any form or shared without my written permission.  If you are interested in this article or any of Simply Living Simply articles, please contact Kat Yorba; Author and owner of Simply Living Simply directly for republishing information.


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Medical Disclaimer:

Nothing in this post is to be construed as medical advice, simply a sharing of things that have worked for me & my family. If you have any symptoms of serious illness, taking medication, pregnant or nursing, or have never worked with herbal materials or essential oils before, please consider consulting a medical professional before use. I am unable to offer advise for your particular medical situation; please ask your Doctor, Nurse Practitioner or Naturopath for further guidance.  The statements made here have not been approved by the Food & Drug Administration. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. This notice is required by the Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act.

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About Simply Living Simply

I am a "red-neck country wife" to one wonderfully amazing man, mother to many outrageous children, daughter of the ONE Glorious God. Learning to be more self-reliant & self-sufficient in a semi-homemade, homesteading way!
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