Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Herbal Picnic Recipes

Since the holiday weekend is approaching, its got me thinking about picnic foods and recipes. We had some terrific herbal picnic recipes in the May/June issue. Lynn Smythe sent a great article on the subject, and these are just a few of the recipes in that article:

Sage and Tarragon Chicken Salad

This is another terrific sandwich spread to serve on top of the whole wheat herb bread.
One (10 ounce) can chicken breast
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup finely diced celery hearts
2 teaspoons fresh sage - chopped fine
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves - chopped fine
salt & pepper - optional
Drain the liquid from the can of chicken breast. Flake with a fork and add to a medium size bowl. Add the mayonnaise, celery hearts, sage and tarragon and mix well. Add salt and pepper if desired.

Whole Wheat Herb Bread

This bread tastes great served along with the egg salad and chicken salad recipes which are also located in this chapter. Make this bread the day before your picnic. When making this bread choose from among basil, chervil, chives, garlic chives, parsley, thyme, oregano or marjoram or a combination of 2 of these herbs. Be sure to use the milder tasting soft stem herbs. Don’t use woody stemmed herbs such as rosemary or sage for this recipe as they may impart an overly strong flavor to your bread.
1 package active dry yeast
2 1/4 cups warm water
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup fresh herbs - chopped fine
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 teaspoons celery seed
Place the yeast in a small mixing bowl. Add the warm water and stir until the yeast has been dissolved. In a large mixing bowl stir together the flours, sugar and salt. Stir in the herbs. Stir in the yeast and water mixture and mix well. Add a little bit more warm water if necessary to make a sticky dough. Cover the top of the bowl with a small kitchen towel. Place the bowl in a warm place such as on top of the refrigerator and let the dough rise until doubled in bulk - approximately 1 hour. Sprinkle your hands with flour to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands then punch down the dough, divide it in half and place each half into a greased 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Cover the pans with the kitchen towel and let the dough rise until doubled - approximately 30 minutes. Brush the top of each loaf with half of the melted butter and sprinkle with half of the celery seeds. Cook in a preheated 400 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes until the loaves sound hollow when thumped on the bottom. Makes 2 loaves.

Rosemary Shortbread

1 cup unsalted butter - room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped pistachios
3 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves - minced fine
additional confectioners sugar for garnish
In a large bowl cream the sugar into the softened butter using a large mixing spoon. Add the flour 3/4 cup at a time. Add the vanilla extract, pistachios and rosemary and mix until well blended. Roll the dough into large marble sized pieces using 1 level tablespoon of the dough and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 17 to 20 minutes until light brown. After the cookies have been removed from the oven and have cooled off slightly roll each one in confectioners sugar. This recipe makes approximately 30 cookies.
Lynn Smythe
5312 Cleveland Road Delray Beach, FL 33484-4228

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