Herb Recipes

Cilantro Dipping Sauce 

1 cup cilantro 
½ cup parsley 
1/3 cup finely chopped almonds
1 serrano chili pepper (without seeds)
1/8 to 1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
4 tablespoons lime juice
4 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 tablespoons water

Combine cilantro, parsley, almonds, chili pepper, black pepper and salt in a food processor.
Chop so the mixture still has some texture but all ingredients are well mixed and are uniform in size.  
Add lime juice and olive oil and mix.  Scrape the sides of the mixer and mix again.  
Remove sauce from mixer and add a little water to thin if you want to be able to dip into the sauce.  
You can also leave the water out and use it as a paste.

Basil Pesto 

3 cups (packed) fresh basil leaves
3 to 4 cloves garlic
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
Optional: 1/3 cup pine nuts or chopped walnuts
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the basil leaves and garlic in a blender or food processor and mince well. 
Add nuts, if desired, and continue to blend until the nuts are ground. 
Drizzle in the olive oil, as you keep the machine running. 
When you have a smooth paste, transfer to a bowl, and stir in the parmesan. 
Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
To serve, place room-temperature pesto in a warmed bowl. 
Add pasta and toss thoroughly. 
Allow 2 to 3 tablespoons pesto per serving.

Curried Winter Squash Soup

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup chopped scallions (about 6 scallions)
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded, finely chopped (about 1 tablespoon) 
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
2 pounds butternut squash (about 1/2 large squash), peeled, seeded, cubed 
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 can (14 ounces) whole tomatoes, chopped, or 2 cups peeled, chopped fresh tomatoes
12 whole fresh curry leaves (optional) 
½ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground mace
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons curry powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
Add the scallions; sauté until soft and wilted, about 3 minutes.
Stir in the parsley, jalapeño, and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
Add the squash and toss to coat it with the scallion mixture.
Add the stock, tomatoes, curry leaves, allspice, mace, and nutmeg.
Bring to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the squash is very tender, about 45 minutes. Let cool slightly.
Transfer the soup in batches to a blender or food processor; purée.
Transfer the soup back to the pot.
Stir in the curry powder and add salt and pepper to taste.
Return the soup to a simmer to heat through.
Garnish with parsley just before serving.
Serves 6 to 8.

Golden Celebration Pie of Winter Vegetables

All the orphans of the vegetable world turn into stars in this party pie. Rutabaga, celeriac, parsnip, Brussels sprouts and turnips could each or all go into the pan, just remember to balance earthy tastes with sweet and rich ones like onion, potato, yam, or carrot. Cut harder vegetables into smaller pieces for even cooking. Roast the vegetables a day or two ahead. Warm them before baking with the crust. The pie is good hot from the oven or just warm.

3 medium onions, cut into six chunks each
4 small unpeeled red-skin potatoes, halved
1 medium rutabaga or large turnip, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch thick pieces
1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved
½ small cabbage, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch thick pieces
4 branches fresh thyme
20 fresh sage leaves
20 fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (optional)
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 cloves garlic, halved

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
In a large bowl, toss together the vegetables, herbs, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil (enough to lightly coat them) and salt and pepper.
Spread the vegetables on two large, shallow roasting pans.
Roast about an hour, turning several times during cooking for even browning.
Add garlic to the pans halfway through cooking.
Vegetables are done when they are browned and easily pierced with a knife.
Cool, wrap and refrigerate until ready to make the pie.

1 ½ cups (7.5 ounces) all-purpose unbleached flour
Generous ¼ teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 stick (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 large egg, beaten
2 to 3 tablespoons cold water

Combine dry ingredients in a food processor or large bowl.
Cut in butter until it is the size of peas. 
Add the first egg and 2 tablespoons of water.
Pulse just until dough gathers into clumps, or toss with a fork until moistened.
If dry, work in another ½ to 1 tablespoon water.
Turn dough out on a floured board and let rest a few minutes.
Select a shallow baking dish large enough to hold the vegetables in a mound.
Measure the dish then roll out the dough so it is no more than 1/8-inch thick and at least 5 inches larger than the dish.
Put it on a foil-covered pizza pan or cookie sheet and refrigerate 30 minutes to 24 hours.

½ cup vegetable broth or water
2 egg yolks, beaten in a small bowl

About 50 minutes before serving, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Butter the inside and rim of the baking dish.
Warm the vegetables in the oven.
Pour the broth or water into the baking dish then pile in the vegetables.
Turn the chilled dough over onto the vegetables, gently peeling back its foil.
Fold up and crimp the overhang of pastry to make a raised border atop the rim of the baking dish (extra pastry could be cut into decorative pieces and applied to the crust with beaten egg).
Brush the crust with beaten egg and cut a few vent holes.
Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.
Serve hot or warm.
Serves 8.