Birds tweeting, bees buzzing, flowers erupting, and most gardeners jump at the chance to get their hands dirty by planting in their yards. What a person plants for the eventual harvest is always a personal decision. However, The Herb Garden Gourmet by Tim Haas and Jan Beane takes the guesswork out of that determination.
Great herbal recipes embrace the core of this easy to read book utilizing many home-grown herbs from basil to oregano. In these tough economic times, there are simply delicious dishes which will require little cost for store bought ingredients. The majority of flavor adding will come from your garden, be it in a window box, or in the ground. Specific instructions on planting your garden are covered in a chapter entitled “Good Neighbors”, where those vegetables and herbs which blend well are described. “Potatoes and their vines, have lots of friends, but also a number of adversaries. Potato vines and cucumber vines do not make good neighbors, as their close proximity to each other will lead to potato blight.”
One of the outstanding features of this gardening-cooking manual is the attention paid to each herb. Each aspect of nurturing the plant to maturity is covered; then, several recipes discuss how that herb should be incorporated into the dish. Note-taking pages are provided so that you can describe factors which are important to your preparation of both garden and recipe on separate pages.
Several herbs require care which is definitely beyond the scope of ‘Do-It-Yourselfers’ and Tim and Jan in recognition of these limitations say dried herbs are perfect substitutes, even though fresh might be better. Certain herbs require trees (Bay Leaf) and even though you may have space outdoors, if your climate has harsh winters, you have to bring the tree inside. Not having a sunny room where it can thrive may force you to buy the leaf from your store’s spice section and that is a perfect substitute.
The only short-coming in this book is the choice of some recipes which involve wild game. We may all be able to grow herbs or vegetables, but the use of Venison as a main dish is not in the realm of possibilities for most folks. These recipes could have been for other meat items that are readily available in the grocery store.
This is a five-star book. Gardeners top your list for gift-giving on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and most of all for that Grand Gourmet Day in your family by making it a ‘tasty day’ for all.
The Herb Garden Gourmet
Grow Herbs, Eat Well, and be Green
Author: Tim Haas and Jan Beane
Date: May 2009
Cookbook Published by SourceBooks, Inc.