Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pilot Light

A good friend in the kitchen is the oven pilot light. Today I used its delicate warmth to assist my bread rise and to gently dry out my fresh picked herbs.

Herbs with a high resin content love to be dried and used in the beginning of cooking. What are the resin herbs?
Think woody and sticky like rosemary, marjoram, oregano, savory, thyme, and sage. After a big harvest from my herb garden these are the steps I follow to make my fragrant "Herbs de Chef Contos". Use any combination or ratio of herbs mentioned above. Simply fill your kitchen sink halfway with cold water and lay your herbs in the water to float. Any dirt will fall to the bottom of the sink. From here I take out one steam at a time and remove all leaves. I compost the steams and put the wet clean herbs into a large metal colander. I repeat this process until all my herbs in the colander are ready to be placed into the oven.  They will dry slowly in the oven with help of the trusty pilot light. Check them in 12 hours. It may take up to 24 hours until they are completely dried out.

Once the herbs are dried you may either put them into the food processor for a quick pulse or just crush with your hands. Herbs de Chef Contos will keep for six months in a well sealed jar. My favorite uses are sweet potato hash browns, oven roasted vegetables, meats, and omelets. Enjoy!

Friday June 18th:
6:45am Cooking live on WCAX-TV Channel 3
3:30-7:30 Opening Day of Five Corners Farmers Market

Every month you will find one of my recipes on the Vermont Cheese Councils monthly newsletter. Here is a link to June's recipe, strawberry tiramisu.

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