Saturday, June 16, 2007
Weekend Herb Blogging #87
My first WHB post! WHB is a weekly event sponsored by Kalyn's Kitchen. This week, however, the even is being hosted by Rachel's Bite. Never heard of WHB? Check out this post for an explanation.
I started blogging about 1 1/2 years ago and since that time, I've not grown any herbs of my own because of our moving around. I suppose I could blog even if I weren't growing my own herbs, but it means a lot more to blog about herbs plucked straight from my own garden, or in this case, containers.
As I indicated on this thread, I'm sticking to just a few small containers for gardening this year while I build a proper plot. I put in 4 basil plants, 2 parsley plants and 2 chive plants. They are all doing quite nicely although temps dropped into the 40s one night and I don't think the basil liked it very much because a few of the leaves turned a bit brown. Still, the stems look healthy and they continue to grow, so I think they'll be just fine as long as temps stay up.
I planted about 3 weeks ago and things seem to be going well:
After the lasagna, garlic bread (made with lots of butter), and the ultra-decadent chocolate-peanut butter cake, it was definitely time for a healthful meal. The weather has been gorgeous lately - more grill weather than lasagna weather, really - so we pulled out the grill to create a grilled chicken salad. This tends to be our go-to meal in the summer since we almost always have chicken breasts in the freezer and salad fixings in the refrigerator. And unlike the lasagna or the cake, this kind of dish requires few if any pots and pans. A welcome break!
What excited me about this salad was not necessarily the salad ingredients (grilled chicken, spinach, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, shredded carrot and red bell pepper), but the dressing. I've started relying pretty heavily on bottled organic salad dressings for convenience, but really, nothing beats a homemade dressing. In the past, I've grown herbs but haven't taken advantage of them enough, so I'm really trying to be mindful of using them on a regular basis.
Anyway, I decided to whip up a quick dressing using some of my herbs and here's what I did:
Lemon Basil Vinaigrette
~3 tablespoons-1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
juice and zest of 1 lemon
freshly ground black pepper to taste (with the lemon and dijon, it really didn't need salt)
~2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (I used chives and basil)
1 garlic clove, minced
The Dijon acts as an emulsifier and holds the dressing together very well. The dressing was tart, tangy and refreshing. It made enough to dress 4 large salads.
We kept the chicken simple and just rubbed it with olive oil and then sprinkled it with Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper and a bit of dried rosemary.
I served the salad with garlic bread leftover from our big birthday dinner to round out the meal. We heated it up on the grill which made it nice and crusty and gave it a few aesthetically pleasing grill marks to boot. The garlic bread featured a garlic-butter sauce that made use of some of our fresh parsley.
I can't wait for later in the summer when our dinner might be featuring our fresh herbs along with maybe some tomatoes and green beans........mmmmm..........