Friday, March 28, 2014

Herb Series–Chervil

This delicate, mild-flavored herb, “anthriscus cerefolium”, is an annual and related to parsley. It has curly, 3 “prong” leaves and a mild lemon-anise flavor that works well with mild foods such as fish, eggs and salads. Chervil is one of the four herbs that make up Fines Herbes, along with chives, parsley and tarragon. The plants grow approximately 12-24” high and 6-12” wide and have small white blossoms.

Romans spread the herb across Europe, and it is now used widely. It is an important ingredient in French cooking, where they use it in sauces and other mild-flavored foods.

Medical:

There isn’t a lot of medical information about chervil, probably because treatments using herbs with much stronger properties were preferred. However, it was sometimes used to aid digestion and to lower blood pressure.

Caution:

The leaves of chervil closely resemble a distant relative – hemlock. Of course, hemlock is highly poisonous, so one must be extremely careful of harvesting chervil in the wild.

Cultivation:

Chervil grows best in cool, moist locations, so the best time to grow it is in early spring or late fall. It can also be grown in a greenhouse over winter. If growing from seed, sow the seeds where you want the plants to stay as they don’t transplant well. After cutting, chervil will only last a day or two. It does not keep well, so is best used fresh. Dried chervil tends to have very little flavor. Keep harvested so it doesn’t go to seed, also known as “bolting”.

Always add chervil at the end of the cooking process or use it as a garnish or in salads due to its delicate flavor.

If a recipe calls for chervil and you don’t have it, parsley can be substituted.
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On to another topic – baking! I just took a lovely Sugar-Free Pound Cake out of the oven, and it’s cooling for tonight’s dessert. The recipe was posted here at From Grammie’s Kitchen on October 12, 2012. It’s archived here on the left side of the page, so you should be able to find it easily; however, if you have trouble locating it, just let me know and I’ll be glad to email the recipe to you.
This cake is delicious alone, with a powdered sugar glaze, with fruit such as strawberries. Or with this delicious recipe:

FRUIT FOSTER

3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packet
1 stick butter
1 (29 oz.) can pear halves, drained
1 (29 oz.) can peach halves, drained
1 (20 oz.) can pineapple slices, drained
1 (11 oz.) can mandarin oranges, drained
1 (6 oz.) jar maraschino cherries, drained

Mix brown sugar and butter over medium heat and stir until butter is melted and mixture is smooth. Place all fruit in 9 x 13” baking dish and pour butter mixture over. Bake at 325 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Serve immediately.

I have an old hand-written copy of this recipe, but I also just found it at several websites and at http://www.mrfood.com. This recipe makes a lot, but as a topping for ice cream or cake I might revise it as follows:

6 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 stick butter
1 (16 oz.) can pear slices, drained
1 (16 oz.) can peach slices, drained
1/2 of a 20 oz. can pineapple chunks, drained (or an 8 oz. can)
1/2 of an 11 oz. can mandarin oranges, drained
1/2 of a 6 oz. jar maraschino cherries, drained

Bake as directed above.

So, if you’re eating sugar-free cake under all this deliciousness, no problem! Right??
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“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
(Dr. Seuss)
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Coming next week:

1) Holidays and observances for April

2) A new series to get me back into new recipe mode – Husband’s Choice. Check back Monday for details!

3) Another in the Herb Series.

4) A little of this and a little of that.

Have a great weekend!
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Your comments and suggestions are always welcome. Thanks for reading!







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