Joseph Motisi‘s Blog

In his nine years of teaching, Joseph Motisi has educated a number of alternative and special education students

Joseph S. Motisi on Incorporating Fresh Herbs in Your Dishes

An avid gardener and cook, Joseph S. Motisi took home first prize in the Best Salsa contest at the L.A. County Fair. One of the best ways to permeate your food with deep, rich flavor without spending hours in the kitchen or splurging on expensive ingredients involves the use of fresh herbs and spices. You can purchase inexpensive herbs at the store, but maintaining your own garden will save you even more money and give you even fresher herbs. Dried herbs that have been on the shelf for years impart little, if any, zest to cuisine.

Take something as simple as black pepper; pre-ground pepper is the consistency of dust and packs little kick, while fresh cracked pepper produces visible chunks and serves as a palpable addition to soups, salads, and other dishes. This same theory also holds true for herbs such as rosemary, parsley, and tarragon. Herbs and spices may not be the stars of the culinary world, but there are myriad ways to incorporate them into your dishes. The traditional method calls for the simple addition of them to your favorite recipe; rosemary can add a new dimension to red meat, while mint adds a crisp, clean taste to lighter dishes. Another option is so-called compound butters, which food publications have featured heavily in recent years.

To create one of these concoctions, bring some butter to room temperature, then fold and blend in your favorite combination of herbs and spices. Once you have achieved even distribution, reform the butter into a stick and let it set in the refrigerator. This compound butter can now be used as a spread or in your favorite dishes. Some popular ingredients to use include sage, thyme, rosemary, and chives. The same philosophy can be applied to olive oil; simply heat some oil on the stove with your favorite herbs to infuse it with their essence.

By Joseph Motisi

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