Richmond Times-Dispatch : 2020-06-10

FOOD : 26 : C2

FOOD

C2 RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH Ideas for using a bounty of herbs Kenyan Coconut Chicken Be careful not to overcook the garlic, ginger and ground coriander in the beginning or they will lose their oomph at the end. Makes 4 servings. chopped 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely grated 2 teaspoons ground coriander 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes ½ cup coconut milk, water 2 tablespoon­s lemon juice 1 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro, chopped 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed, halved and patted dry Kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper 2 tablespoon­s neutral oil 4 medium garlic cloves, chopped 2 jalapeños, stemmed, seeded and finely BY BECKY KRYSTAL The Washington Post ♦ Make pesto, or other herb-heavy sauces and condiments. Basil reigns at the top of the list for pesto, but cilantro, mint, dill and parsley are all fair game. Mix and match based on your supplies or taste. It’s easy to adapt pesto on the fly, tasting in between additions in your food processor. Other options on the saucy spectrum: South American chimichurr­i and Indian chutney. Even a standard vinaigrett­e can be punched up with herbs. Preserve them for the long-term. I find that pesto freezes extraordin­arily well (I leave out the cheese and typically use pecans or walnuts instead of pine nuts). Drying herbs is another possibilit­y. Tie them together in small bunches with twine or string, and hang them in a dry spot with good air circulatio­n. You want to check them daily, according to “Cooking With Herbs” by Susan Belsinger and Carolyn Dille, and you’ll know when they’re ready if they crackle and crumble when rubbed between your fingers. You can extract further moisture by drying them on a baking sheet in a 200-degree oven for 3 to 5 minutes. Then you can store them — off the stem but still as whole leaves — in a clean jar with a tightfitti­ng lid. Treat them more like other greens, using them in higher quantities instead of as accents. And you can use the choppedup stems of many soft herbs. Steep them. Herbs can be used to flavor a variety of liquids, for enjoyment now or later. One of the most straightfo­rward is an herbal tea (or ptisan), whether you decide to steep fresh or dried herbs. Feel free to mix and match to come up with your own custom blend. Another option is to make an aromatic simple syrup, the standard 1-to-1 mix of sugar and water. There’s always ice cream. Steep fresh herbs in your cooled, or cooling, ice cream base. Mint naturally goes with chocolate chunks, though you can expand your horizons and think about pairing thyme with lemon and/or honey and basil with blueberry. EACH: Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper. In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add half the chicken and brown without disturbing for 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with remaining chicken. To the skillet, add garlic, jalapeño chiles, ginger and ground coriander. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Stir in tomatoes with juices, scraping up any browned bits. Then stir in coconut milk and water. Add chicken and any juices and cook uncovered, stirring and flipping occasional­ly, until a skewer inserted into the largest piece meets no resistance, 20 to 25 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in lemon juice and fresh cilantro. Taste and season with salt and pepper. ♦ — Adapted from Christophe­r Kimball’s Milk Street Magazine (January-February 2020) ♦ ♦ OOO ♦

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