Healthy Herbes de Provence

C’est bon et bon pour vous.
  • 1 T Fennel Seed 
  • 2 T Summer Savory
  • 2 T Thyme
  • 2 T Basil
  • 2 T Marjoram
  • 2 T Parsley
  • 1 T Oregano
  • 2 T Rosemary
  • 5-6 Bay Leaves (or 1 t ground Bay Leaf)
  • 2 T Lavender Flowers
  • 1 T Tarragon*
  • 6 Black Peppercorns
  • YOU CAN USE ALL FRESH or MIX FRESH & DRY HERBS IN THIS BLEND AND FREEZE. Allow 3 times the dry amount for fresh and of course you’ll have to grind your dry herbs, mince your fresh ones & blend. Storage info follows.

To mix, you can use a suribachi (I love this Japanese grinding bowl bowl with a rough unglazed center that I learned about from Alice Waters.); mortar and pestle; or an electric spice grinder. (I have a Cuisinart SG10 which holds all of this mix.) You can also use ANY BOWL and a wooden spoon.

When mixing spices grind the largest ones first…ie. peppercorns and bay leaves. When these are relatively small, add the all the remaining herbs & blend to your preference, coarse to very fine. Try to have consistent particle sizes of all the herbs so you have true blend of flavors for your recipe.

Store AIRTIGHT in a dark/tinted GLASS container for up to 6 months. Beyond that your flavors and nutrients will dim. You can freeze your blend (IN FREEZER PROOF AIR TIGHT GLASS NOT METAL OR PLASTIC) and maybe get 12 months. (PLASTIC is toxic next to any food! It is NOT airtight. I love Ball straight-sided freezer safe jars! Here’s Dr. Weil’s view about SILICONE which might be an option…https://www.drweil.com/diet-nutrition/cooking-cookware/cooking-with-silicone/

I have also mixed my blend with olive oil, plopped teaspoonfuls on a parchment lined tray, frozen and popped out into my BALL jars and returned to freezer. Pre-measured with an extra boost of EVOO. 12 months maximum storage but I use within 6 months.

MAGIC HEALTH

This is just a teeny bit about the health gifts.

As a nutritional chef, I have learned that this blend is loaded with LIFE — phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, etc. Remember more is not necessarily better. Taste your foods as you cook to see what is your spice preference.

  • Fennel – Carminative (antiflatulent), galactagogue (increases breast milk supply), expectorant/antitussive (relieves chronic cough), anti-colic, stomachic (aids digestion), anti-inflammatory (supports overall wellness). I LOVE FENNEL!
  • Savory – Anti-oxidant (see oregano blog https://chamberslife.com/?s=oregano for information about antioxidants), anti-septic, anti-fungal, expectorant, stomachic, aphrodisiac, thirst quencher.
  • Thyme – Antiseptic, antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant, anti fungal, expectorant, anti-candida, vermifuge (expels parasites), carminative, antitussive, antispasmodic, diaphoretic (skin redness increasing blood flow for musculoskeletal/arthritis/rheumatism pain relief).
  • Basil – Antidepressant, detoxicant, headache relief, lung support, digestive.
  • Marjoram – See Oregano.
  • Parsley – Diuretic, blood purifier, digestive, galactagogue, emmenagogue (menstrual flow stimulant), carminative, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, expectorant.
  • Oregano – https://chamberslife.com/?s=oregano
  • Rosemary – Nervine (calms nerves), antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antimicrobial, diaphoretic, analgesic (pain relief), antispasmodic (muscle spasm relief), antioxidant, carminative, liver tonic, astringent, circulatory support. I LOVE ROSEMARY! Here’s a little side note about the magic of Rosemary. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/20/world/what-in-the-world/rosemary-and-time-does-this-italian-hamlet-have-a-recipe-for-long-life.html
  • Bay Leaf – Anti-carcinogen, antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, calmative, antiflatulent, sedative, sodium replacement for taste. DO NOT EAT WHOLE BAY LEAVES AS THEY MAY CAUSE CHOKING/GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS!
  • Lavender Flowers – Antibacterial, digestive, cholagogue (promotes bile flow), carminative, nervine (Lavender is amazing, helping with sleep, depression, fatigue, anxiety, etc.), insect repellent. Suggested lavender varieties include Provence, Melissa, Royal Velvet, Buena Vista and English.
  • Tarragon – Digestive, antiflatulent, cholagogue, nervine, appetite stimulant, metabolism booster. *Tarragon has very distinctive flavor can overpower other herbs, so you may want to start with less to see if your taste buds agree. If your tongue feels a little numb when you eat Tarragon, I am told that’s part of it’s magic.
  • Black Peppercorns – Digestive, enhances bioavailability, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, improves cognition, expectorant, antitussive. EAT ON EVERYTHING!

SOURCES & REFERENCES, ETC.

www.katolenyardley.com The Good Living Guide to Natural and Herbal Remedies by Katolen Yardley

www.thymeherbal.com Recipes from the Herbalist’s Kitchen by Brittany Wood Nickerson

Dr. William Li https://drwilliamli.com author — Eat to Beat Disease

Rebecca Katz – AMAZING RECIPES! She so gets the flavor thing — MAKE — www.rebeccakatz.com/recipe-box/triple-triple-brittle

And last but not least — I love this podcast because Dr. Gundry has a plethora of health professionals as guests whether he agrees with their views or not. So if you are a sponge for health info this is your go to… …https://drgundry.com/the-dr-gundry-podcast/

Kimchi Yumi

Ancient, created thousands of years ago in Korea, kimchi is the perfect gut flora food. Fun to make, it’s really delicious, even if it does smell a bit farty as it cures.

Market List: Napa Cabbage, Daikon, Bok Choy, Carrots, (Pea pods, snow peas, peas, seaweeds, – choose your own added vegetables.) Ginger, Garlic, Onions (green/yellow/white), Leeks, and/or shallots, red hot peppers (fresh dried or in a sauce just be sure no preservatives). Preservative free Fish Sauce (Naum Plum) if  you like. Have FUN!

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Be sure all utensils are are clean. CLEAN means washed, rinsed, then rinsed again with boiling water. PREPARE VEGES: NAPA CABBAGE chopped 12 cups  BOK CHOY chopped 3 cups CARROTS 1 cup sliced DAIKON RADISH cubed 4 cups SEA SALT 8 tablespoons FILTERED WATER 8 cups  Place the vegetables in a large clean ceramic or glass container (never metal or plastic). Dissolve the sea salt in the water to make the brine and pour over the vegetables. Add a plate weighted with a jar of water to keep the vegetables submerged. Cover with a clean cloth  Let cure at least 8 hours, up to 12 hours. Drain the brine and reserve.

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Prepare the spices: GINGER 3 to 5 Tablespoons, grated. ONIONS 1 large WHITE or YELLOW one cut in crescents or chunks; add maybe 5 GREEN onions, diced if you like. LEEK green and white parts sliced in thin rounds, about a cup. GARLIC 5 to 8 large cloves minced. HOT RED CHILIS: 1 ONE 1  Hey – I make my own kimchi because I am not a fiery spice girl. Add what you like but remember, you can’t “de-fire” it.  Taste the veggies and insure they aren’t too salty. If they are too salty, just dilute the brine LATER. Add the alliums and spice mix to the vegetables and blend well with clean hands. You can transfer the entire mixture to a clean (boiled clean) crock at this point or leave in the ceramic bowl. If the vegetables were too salty dilute the brine. Remember, the salt is what helps to safely cure the kimchi so don’t desalinize them. Add brine until your kimchi is fully submerged with about an inch of liquid over it.
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Add a clean plate that covers the vegetables and weight it with a clean large bottle of water. Cover completely with a clean cloth. (Notice the “clean” repeated.) Place in a dust free area for it to nap and ferment. Check daily and press under the brine. Is there yucky stuff? White mold? Just remove it. Other weird stuff, don’t risk eating it. My kimchi ferments for 7 days at 70°F. Then I pack it into clean (sterilized) Ball jars and press it firmly down to insure covered with brine. Seal with clean Ball enamel lined lids. Don’t use metal utensils to scoop your kimchi out of its jar – only wood, ceramic (like Asian soup spoons) or silicone ones. I  drink the leftover brine – no kidding. Kimchi will continue to ferment in the refrigerator, just more slowly. Heat destroys the healthy bacteria, so add Kimchi to maximum 115°F broths. Delicious in miso and you get 2 gut goodies! Always refer to the real expert —Wild Fermentation 

 

Sauerkraut – Delight your gut bugs!

YUMMY sauerkraut is so easy to make. Besides just scooping it out and eating it, I add it to my salads, as a garnish for soups, and as an extra in my wraps. All you need is cabbage, sea salt, a crock or a glass jar, something to weight the cabbage under the brine and a cloth to cover it. I like about 1 part red cabbage to 3 parts green because it is just so brilliantly pink when it’s done. My KRAUT GURU’s book WILD FERMENTATION (Sandor Ellix Katz) is the best bedtime read. Next up, I’m trying – MISO and Summer Half Sour Pickles.

The other book that keeps me up nights digesting it (LOL) is THE GOOD GUT by          Justin & Erica Sonnenburg, PhDs.

LEEKS VINAIGRETTE NESTS

FullSizeRender-3Photo – Merci, Kathy Thompson!

ORGANIC INGREDIENTS, PLEASE.
Serves 12

LEEKS
2 large 1.5″ diameter leeks
Cut off roots and trim leaves leaving 3″ of dark green.
Halve them lengthwise and wash thoroughly.
Cut into ribbons about 1/2″ wide.
Leeks are banked with earth as they grow to create the
delicate white root ends. You can plant the trimmed root and it will grow a new leek. Save the tops for a soup or a stir fry.

You can prepare the vinaigrette as the leeks cook.

Bring 1 quart of water to a boil.
Add 1/2 t. sea salt.
Add leeks and simmer for 15 minutes until they are just translucent and tender. You’ll need to tend these as they cook. If you overcook they will be mush. If you overcook them then save them for something other than Leeks Vinaigrette. Maybe a leek puree topped with tiny carrots.

Have a bowl of ice and water ready to chill the leeks once they are done. Drain the tender leeks reserving the liquid to drink now or later. It’s delicious hot and cold! Place the drained leeks into the ice water and let chill thoroughly. Drain but leave them moist as the water helps to dilute the vinaigrette a bit.

VINAIGRETTE
Vinegary things’ sourness is influenced by the vinegar type and is a personal preference so before you add the leeks to the vinaigrette, taste it.

In a bowl large enough to hold the leeks, mix together:
1/4 c. olive oil
2 T. champagne or white wine vinegar
1/4 t. garlic salt or a tiny clove of fresh garlic and a dash of salt
1 dash of freshly ground or FRESH white pepper (or more to your taste – it’s powerful if it’s fresh)

OPTIONAL
1/2 t. Dijon mustard – I do not add as I think it masks the delicate leek flavor.

Add the drained leeks and toss gently. Place in a GLASS or CERAMIC covered dish and refrigerate for at least four hours and up to 8 hours. No metals or plastics please as they influence the flavors. A Ball jar with an enamel lid works too.

QUAIL EGGS
Place eggs in saucepan and cover with cold water. Add 1 T vinegar. Bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 45 seconds then plunge into cold water to stop the cooking. These are tricky to keep a gooey yellow so you might just let them cool to room temperature and be happy with whatever the yolk decides to do. The shells are so beautiful – so I just clip off the top of the egg and set it into the nest.

THE FUN PART – ASSEMBLY

Select lovely little dishes. I like square dark dishes for the contrast. <$2 at World Market. In each dish swirl a nest of leeks, top with a clipped quail egg, a few capers, a bit of sunflower seeds for crunch.

I think they’d be delightful in petit cupcake liners and then placed in one of those ceramic egg cartons. I will try to get a photo of that next time!

Let rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to an hour before serving.

Bon Appétit