My Favorite Herb

My Favorite Herb

A Book Review By Brenda Hyde

My Favorite Herb

How North America's Great Chefs Savor the Flavor of Herbs

Author Laurel Keser

Published by Callawind Publications

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In My Favorite Herb, Laurel Kiser allows us a peek into the culinary world of chefs where we discover which herbs they consider their favorite and why. The chefs share recipes they have created, often specifically to use the herb they love. I was delighted to find herbs that I did not expect to be featured such as anise hyssop, epazote, Mexican mint marigold and stinging nettle. Each herb has 2 or more recipes from one or more chefs plus tips for cooking with that herb. You'll also find recipes for lemon basil, parsley, lemon grass, dill, rosemary, lovage, tarragon and more. 51 chefs from all over the country contributed to this unique cookbook. Some have enjoyed herbs since childhood, others discovered them during their culinary career.

The recipes are diverse, as are the chefs. You'll find elegant dishes, comfort food, and adventurous fare. The beginning of My favorite Herb includes a primer for those just starting down the herbal path, as well as a glossary and resources at the end of the book. In the "Down to Basics" chapter, recipes are given for beef, fish, vegetable, veal and chicken stock, plus other basics such as roasting garlic and peppers.

My Favorite Herb is a great resource for those who love herbs, but it's also a great read for the traveler and restaurant fan. Cooks of all levels can learn much from the 51 chefs featured and enjoy reading of their inspirations.

Chive Mashed Potatoes

"I grew up in the Midwest, and my mother’s wonderful, light mashed potatoes were often a part of our dinners. At Arrows, the addition of sweet European butter, heavy cream, and fresh chives brings home cooking to a new level of indulgence. These rich mashed potato.”

— Chef Mark Gaier, Arrows, Ogunquit, Maine

3 pounds Yukon gold or other large white potatoes (about 12 medium), peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes

2 tablespoons coarse salt

4 tablespoons softened Plugrá butter

1 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup finely snipped chives

Cover the potato with cold water. Add the salt, and cook until the potato is very soft. Drain the potato, and immediately transfer to a mixer with a whip attachment. Whip the potato, gradually adding the butter a tablespoon at a time, the cream, and finally the chives. Season with salt to taste.

Yield: 6 servings

Note: Plugrá is the brand name of a high-quality European butter with a high fat content, a product available in some supermarkets and specialty stores. If Plugrá butter is unavailable, substitute any high-quality butter. Mashed potato may be kept warm in a covered stainless steel pan for 60 minutes or so.

Reprinted from My Favorite Herb: How North AmericaÂ’s Great Chefs Savor the Flavor of Herbs, Copyright Callawind Publications Inc, 1999.

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Powell's online bookshop carries copies of the My Favorite Herb. HERE or you can order from Ecookbooks HERE


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