Posts Tagged Flavorful Foods

Theme Herb Gardening for Your Kitchen

I collect cookbooks and love to experiment with interesting dinners from other culture like a Mexican mole. How about you? Like me, you cultivate a lot of the ingredients if you begin your own themed kitchen herb garden.

You can raise the major herb plants in your own garden and have the freshest ingredients to add to your recipes, or experiment on your own.

You don’t need a special place for your themed kitchen herb garden. You can raise them in pots or in your usual garden bed.

These are some recommendations on raising your own themed kitchen garden:

  • Asian: There are so many different cultures and folks in Asia, including Thai, Chinese, Indian and Vietnamese, so how could the food be boring? Try growing lemongrass, cayenne pepper, cardamom and anise in your Asian kitchen herb garden. The licorice taste of anise adds a warm sweetness to baked goods, soups and Indian dinners. You can also use it in tea and in baking a savory-sweet cookie. Although it was once pretty popular in American cuisine, it kind of died out, but in the last few years has made a resurgence in the kitchen.
  • Mexican: Not a week goes by when I don’t chow down on a Mexican meal. Some spicy beans and rice or nachos will fast hit the spot. Can you even make a real Mexican meal without Cayenne pepper, Cilantro and Garlic?
  • Italian: Just about everybody I know has their favorite Italian meal. My favorite is lasagna, of course. Among my favorite herbs to try in your Italian dinners are basil, fennel, parsley, garlic, marjoram, oregano, rosemary and thyme. The oniony taste of garlic makes it a perfect addition to most Italian meals. Put a little of it on your roasted chicken or add it to your soups and stews. You can even put some chopped garlic in your mashed potatoes. Be warned, the longer you cook garlic, the milder the flavor becomes so do not overcook it!
  • Middle East: If you have not tried any of the exciting and flavorful foods from the Middle East and Northern Africa, you are missing some fantastic meals. The flavors are so varied and the recipe items are so out of the norm for most of what I usually have in my recipes, including chick peas, figs and couscous. Try these herbs to spice up your Middle Eastern dishes: cardamom, garlic, parsley, rosemary and saffron.
  • German: You can have your own Oktoberfest any time you like if you have got all the right German herb plants. For authentic German meals, try these herb plants: chives, dill, horseradish, sage and thyme. As a member of the mustard family, horseradish is a condiment herb that you can use for extra taste. It can also clear up your sinuses! Horseradish is a fabulous addition to your meals. Use it in mayonnaise and potato salad. It will also go well in cream cheese spreads or meat loaf.

Unless you use too much of your plant in cooking, your plant can keep growing and provide you with ingredients for other dinners. When you remove a few leaves from your sage plant, it can grow back. Most herb plants appreciate being cut back from time to time and will likely grow bigger and fuller as a result.

Good luck with your herb gardening. Be sure to let me know how your herb garden grows.

Here is more information on Fresh Herb Gardening. Here is a website with a free mini-course dedicated to Herb Gardens.

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