I purchased a large portions of fresh herbs—lemon thyme and French tarragon—from Coon Rock Farms a couple of weeks ago. To my delight they have stayed perky, fragrant and fresh in a bag in the fridge. My history with store-bought herbs in the plastic boxes is disappointing and wasteful. They wilt long before I can use them up! My mom has a ROCKIN’ herb garden at home, mingled in with shrubs and flowers in our front yard planters. There are a couple of massive basil bushes, the scent of which is pleasantly overwhelming when walking up the front sidewalk. She’s also got rosemary, thyme, chives, sage and lavender available for quick picking. Fresh herbs pack a lot of punch, instantly boosting flavor in simple dishes. So that’s what I did.
First I prepared some veggies for roasting: two medium sized yellow onions, a lot of peeled garlic cloves—probably 10, large bag of baby carrots and the biggest sweet potato I’ve ever seen, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces. Toss everything with a coating of olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and throw in bunches of fresh herbs. I went with the lemon thyme here. If I’d had rosemary on hand, I would have added that for sure. The great thing I’ve learned about roasting veggies from my mom is that it’s easy, there’s no recipe and it doesn’t have to be pretty! Going with all root vegetables cut at about the same size means that everything will be tender at the same time. I set the oven at 350, roasted for about 20 min., gave the veggies a toss, and roasted for another 20-30 min. The outcome was great. I’m planning on tossing the warm veggies into a cold spinach salad. Should be delectable.
My second item was Citrus Herb Vinaigrette. The lemon thyme truly smells like lemon, so I knew this combination would work (confirmed by a quick search on foodnetwork). I adapted my recipe from one by the dreamy Dave Lieberman. Having oranges on hand, rather that lemons, I juiced and zested them both, plus added some OJ from the fridge. Threw in some Dijon honey mustard (about 2 T), salt, pepper and chopped fresh thyme leaves and French tarragon (probably 15 sprigs thyme and 10 tarragon). Eyeball olive oil as you whisk. This made a store-bought sized bottle of salad dressing. Great to have on hand.
Here’s a nerdy link on the chemical properties that explain how to make a vinaigrette that emulsifies and doesn’t separate.