Herb-an Studies: Experiments with Rosemary and Thyme

Herb-an Studies: Experiments with Rosemary and Thyme

Rosemary & ThymeI recently bought fresh rosemary and thyme to season some vegetables I was roasting. Typically I just settle for the dry variety since these are “second-tier” herbs for me. Needless to say, I had plenty to spare once the dish was done.

One of my nasty habits is buying things I only need for one dish and then forgetting about them until they’ve gone bad and I have to throw them away. Determined not to let the leftover herbs go to waste, I decided to experiment with a series of recipes that would use them up (or at least make a dent) while they remained fresh. To up the ante, I vowed to accomplish this using only ingredients I already had in hand.

Here’s what I came up with.


Roasted summer vegetables

Roasted VegetablesThis was the dish that started it all. I diced a fresh Lebanese White Bush Marrow Squash that my generous neighbors gave me from their garden, along with 2 large carrots, a small zucchini and 2 red bell peppers. I used about 1/3-1/2 of a small red onion sliced thin and halved to form small strips. And I cut about 20 grape tomatoes in half. I tossed it all into a large bowl and massaged light olive oil (about 2 tablespoons) to coat everything, then spread it all out on two baking sheets. I combined rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper and ground it all up with my mortar and pestle. (I didn’t measure here but guessing I went through about 4-5 tablespoons between the two sheets.) I then grated parmesan across both sheets and roasted one sheet at a time for 12 minutes at 400°.

RESULT: The variety of vegetables gave a lot of great textures and the taste was nicely complemented by wild rice. Overall, the meal was filling, but light.

Herbed bread

Herbed BreadI found a great recipe online that pretty much nailed it, down to disliking the shape bread bakes into using a bread machine pan. I used the machine to mix the dough: pouring 1 1/4 cups warm water in first, then 3 cups bread flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, 2 tablespoons dry milk, 1 tbsp each of rosemary and thyme chopped really fine, 2 cloves of garlic, and finally 2 1/4 tsp. dried yeast. I totally spaced it and forgot the 1 tbsp butter and 1 tsp salt. So after the dough was mixed and rose, I just coated my hands in the butter to transfer it to the pan. Ghetto, I know… Also the dough was sooooo very sticky, I also added a little bread flour just to make it manageable as I transferred it to the bread pan. I brushed some more butter on top just to be sure, then I set the oven to 375° and baked for 30 minutes (until golden brown).

RESULT: A tasty bread, especially with (even more) butter spread over it. Not a sweet snack bread, per se, but great as part of a meal. My choice was angel hair pasta with chunky red sauce.


QuinoaI heated 2 tbsp olive oil and sautéd 1 cup diced onion and 2 cloves minced garlic in sauce pan over medium heat until translucent and just starting to brown. I then stirred in 3/4 cup quinoa and toasted for a few minutes. I poured in 1 1/2 cup vegetable stock and increased the heat to bring to a boil, then reduced the heat and simmered until stock was absorbed (about 20 min.). After a quick stir, I added 1/2 cup or so frozen peas, 1 tbsp each of chopped fresh rosemary and thyme, 1/2 tsp red pepper and 1 tsp kosher salt. I gave it a quick cook uncovered on low for another 2 minutes, then served.

RESULT: Those red pepper flakes really put some kick into this (and guarantee that Taran won’t touch it). A lot of quinoa recipes I’ve tried have been somewhat bland, but this one really had character and filled me right up at lunch.

Salted Rosemary Chocolate Cookies

Chocolate CookiesFor this one, I followed — to the letter — a recipe I found on a blog called The Fresh Sheet. Mine spread a little more than the ones pictured on that blog, but they taste wonderful. Per the recipe, I whisked together in one bowl 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup cocoa powder (I used Ghirardelli), 1 tsp baking soda, and 1/2 tsp salt. Then setting my standup mixer to medium, I creamed 1 cup butter (I brought it to room temp, then cut it into cubes first), 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 3/4 cup brown sugar (I used dark), and 2 tbsp finely chopped rosemary. Once the mix was nice and creamy, I set the mixer down to low speed and added one egg, and then the other when the first was completely blended. Next I added 2 tsp vanilla, then 1 cup dark chocolate chips (I used Nestle). I lined a baking sheet with parchment paper and then the recipe says to roll 1 inch balls, but I found the mixture too goopy, so I carefully spooned instead. Dipping a glass in the cocoa, I flattened each ball, then used McCormick’s sea salt grinder set to course to sprinkle on the top. I baked on 375° for 10 minutes and yielded 45 cookies.

RESULT: This is a weird cookie! It’s a little chewy, but with crunchy bits from the salt, making the texture one I’m not used to. I don’t typically go for all chocolate cookies (though I’m obsessed with chocolate, and dark chocolate in particular). This is definitely a sum of its parts kind of cookie. The tanginess of the rosemary is subtle and the super-chocolate is toned down by the refreshing sea salt hitting the tongue. Very rich, it’s not  the kind of cookie I’ll binge on, which is a good thing!

Honey and Thyme Roasted Carrots

CarrotsFor a sweet side dish, I slightly adapted this member recipe from Jamie Oliver’s site. I cut 5 medium carrots (left over from the summer vegetables recipe) into 1 1/2″-2″ pieces (quartered) and spread them out in an 8×8 baking pan, I poured 1 tbsp olive oil and massaged it into all the carrots. Then I heated 1 tbsp honey for 30 seconds in the microwave to make it runny (probably could have gone for less time as it was bubbling by the time it beeped), then I added the juice from 2 small lemons to cool it down and stirred them together. I poured the lemon honey evenly over all the carrots, then sprinkled about 10 sprigs of thyme and finally used my salt and pepper grinders to spritz over the top. I cooked for 20 minutes at 400°, and upon tasting realized WHEW! a little too much lemon. So I sprinkled 1 tbsp dark brown sugar over everything, stirred things up, and put it back in for 10 minutes.

RESULT: Perfect! The extra time made the carrots a little more tender. The brown sugar undid the extra lemon juice. This is gonna be a tasty accompanying dish for veggie burgers or Taran’s meat entrees.

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