Sunday, April 28, 2013

Herbs de Provence

My rosemary plant has outgrown its bed, hopping the wooden border and invading my lavender.  Since the new growth really isn't causing any trouble, I'm allowing it to roam freely.

(sage flower)

I cannot make a strong enough argument to own and maintain an herb garden.  Whether indoors or out, having fresh herbs will not only make your meals fabulous, but will inspire you to create new meals.

I made a nice herb-inspired meal from basil and rosemary.  I had to buy the basil, as my plants aren't quite ready yet as the season is still early.  If you don't own an herb garden, don't let that stop you from trying these recipes.  Your local grocer should always carry basil and rosemary.  Don't use dried.  It's not even close and your culinary outcome will be less than wow.

The salad I served with the roasted chicken breasts came from Patricia Wells' "The Provence Cookbook".  The chicken recipe I made up with what I had in the kitchen.  One piece of chicken fed two of us, with loads of chicken left over.  I pulled it from the bone and will have enough to make chicken salad for at least two people.  But first, the salad!  Mine is a slight adaptation...enjoy!


1 lemon
4 tomatoes
1/3 cup capers, drained
4 slices of whole grain French bread, toasted and cut into cubes
1 bunch of basil, chiffonade-style
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. good red wine vinegar
Salt and fresh black pepper to taste

Note - the lemon needs to be sliced with a mandoline, that way they are paper thin and easy to indulge in.  If you do not have one, use a super sharp knife, being very careful.

Slice lemons over a bowl or dish.  Core tomatoes and cut lengthwise.  Place on top of lemons.  Add bread, layering.  Add capers and basil, then drizzle with olive oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper.  Toss well.  Let sit for at least 10 minutes.  Note - I used a flax and bran baguette from my local market and had the clerk slice it for me.  I'll use that kind of baguette again if possible as it held up really well and tasted very nice.

Roasted Split Chicken Breasts with Rosemary and Garlic Oil
Serves 4 healthy portions


3 Split chicken breasts, skin on
1/4 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, sliced
1 sprig rosemary, chopped fine
Salt and fresh black pepper

Preheat oven to 375.  Pour olive oil into microwave safe cup and add garlic.  Heat for 30 seconds.  Place chicken into a roasting pan.  Strain oil, discarding garlic pieces.  Pour oil over chicken, then sprinkle on the rosemary, salt, and pepper.  Roast for 60-75 minutes or until juices run clear and skin is crispy.

Yes, it's really that easy!   The chicken was moist and tender.  Tres magnifique! 

We also had a lovely little dessert that would make a great snack or even breakfast.  This was so simple, maybe get the kiddos to join in and prepare the sweet stuff!

Lemon Greek Yogurt with Blackberries, Walnuts, and Honey
Serves 2


1-6 oz. container zero fat lemon Greek yogurt (like Chobani)
1 half pint blackberries, washed and dried
2 tbsp. walnuts, 1 tbsp. per portion
2 tbsp. honey, 1 tbsp. per portion

Place a dollop of yogurt in the bottom of two parfait or dessert cups.  Layer a few blackberries over, then finish off yogurt into each cup.  Add remaining berries.  Sprinkle 1 tbsp. each walnuts then honey onto each. 
Serve immediately.

These are heart-healthy meals that also won't break your bank.  Take the time to enjoy foods close to their natural form.  Make your meals simple yet flavorful.  Use what you have and explore!  Cooking should be an  adventure, so jump in and have fun!  Bon Appetit!!

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