DILL – Anethum graveolens
Herb of the Year 2010
In ancient Athens and Rome, dill held a permanent spot. Dill garlands crowned war heroes on their return home and wreaths made with the yellow flowers hung in Roman banquet hall. Dill grows 3 to 4 feet tall, is an annual but seeds itself readily. I have not had to reseed dill since the first year I planted it. Our plants are randomly scattered throughout the garden and harvested at different stages. The seeds are best if sown right in the place where you want them to grow. Dill likes well- drained soil and full sun. Dill has a feathery foliage which can be used to snip on potatoes, pork chops or in salads, then grows with a thick stem to support a large head of tiny greenish-yellow flowers. Leaves, flowers and seeds are all edible. The leaves and flowers are similar in flavor (kind of buttery) but the seeds have their own distinct flavor. When harvesting the seeds, wait until they are brown and stick the head of the flower into a paper bag before cutting so all the seeds can be collected in the bag. Instead of chopping dill with a knife, snip it with a scissors right into the dish you are preparing. Dill is great with any fish (tuna salad), potatoes (potato salad), pork chops on the grill, bean soup, any vegetable salads and is a must in pickling things like cucumbers and green beans. I use dill in all of the above ways as well as making dill vinegar, which I use in making refrigerator pickles, marinated cucumbers and pickled beets, in bread, muffins, in omelets, and herbed butter. The seeds are used in bread and pickling spices.
CHILLED CUCUMBER DILL SOUP
2 Tablespoon vegetable oil
10 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
4 sweet onions, coarsely chopped (Vidalia are best)
5 garlic cloves
5 cups rich chicken stock
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
2 cups heavy cream
Freshly ground white pepper to taste
additional dill, for garnish
In a large saucepan, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat and sauté the cucumbers, onions and garlic until the onions are transparent, about 5 minutes. Add chicken stock and simmer until the cucumber is soft, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer the soup to a food processor, in batches if necessary. Blend until smooth. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve. While the mixture is still warm, stir in the chopped dill and season with pepper, then chill. Stir in the cream just before serving. Garnish with dill sprigs.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh dill leaves
3 teaspoons salt, divided
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup cold water (might need a little more)
4 quarts water
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
In a bowl, combine flour, dill or basil and 1 tsp. salt. Stir in eggs and cold water; mix until dough is smooth. In a large kettle, bring water and remaining salt to a boil; reduce heat. With a rubber scraper, press dough through a colander into simmering water. Simmer for 2 – 3 minutes, stirring gently so the spaetzle do not stick together. Drain; toss with butter. 6 to 8 servings.
DILLED NEW POTATOES
24 tiny new potatoes
8 Tablespoons butter
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill
Scrub potatoes and dry. Melt butter in a heavy flameproof casserole with a tight-fitting cover. Add potatoes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Coat with butter. Cover and cook over low heat for 30 to 45 minutes. Shake casserole occasionally. Potatoes are done when they can be pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Toss with dill and serve at once.
OR you can boil potatoes until done, drain well and toss with melted butter and chopped dill. Serve with grilled pork chops and a salad.
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup rice
2 Tablespoons finely minced garlic
4 teaspoons finely minced lemon zest
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons finely minced fresh dill
4 scallions, finely minced, green part only
In a saucepan, bring the chicken broth, rice, garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.
Remove from the heat, season with pepper, stir in the dill and scallions and fluff with a fork. Serve immediately.
DILLY CASSEROLE BREAD (My mom’s recipe)
1 package yeast
1 Tablespoon instant onion bits
1/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup cottage cheese (warmed to 110° F.)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon dill seed
1 egg (room temperature)
2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups flour
Put yeast and water in a large bowl and stir with a fork. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Then add flour 1/2 cup at a time. Cover with plastic and let rise 1 hour. Stir down with 20 strokes. Turn into greased 7″ casserole. Let rise 45 minutes until doubled in size. Bake at 350° F. for 40 – 45 minutes. Remove from oven and put 1/2 teaspoon butter on top and sprinkle with onion powder. Cool 10 minutes, then remove from casserole and place on cooling rack.
EGG ROLL PASTA USING HERBS and FLOWERS
Wonton or egg roll skins
3 teaspoon cornstarch
3 Tablespoons cold water
Fresh edible flowers (nasturtiums, pansies, sage blossoms, etc.)
Fresh herb leaves (sage leaves, salad burnet, Italian parsley, cilantro, etc.)
Combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl. This will be your “glue”. Use a pastry brush to brush a coat of the cornstarch mixture onto one wonton skin. Carefully place a few leaves and/or flower petals onto the skin. Brush another skin with the cornstarch mixture and place it on top of the first skin. Use a rolling pin to remove air bubbles. Trim the edges with a pastry wheel, a cookie cutter or a sharp knife.
Set finished pasta squares onto a cookie sheet and place waxed paper between layers. Chill up to 24 hours before cooking (may be frozen at this point for up to one week before cooking, defrost in the refrigerator for 3 hours before cooking). To cook: Drop pasta into a large pot of boiling water and stir gently. Simmer for 2 – 3 minutes or until pasta is al dente which is still firm but cooked through.
To serve hot: Strain pasta and toss with an herb butter and serve.
To serve cold: Remove pasta from water and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process. Toss with oil to prevent sticking. Add to chicken salad and toss with an herbal vinaigrette.
3/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup butter
3/4 teaspoon dill seed
1 teaspoon dill weed
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 cup flour
3 or 4 cup diced tomatoes
3 cups chicken stock 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1/2 teaspoon white pepper 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley 1/4 cup honey 1 cup cream 1/2 cup half and half (I often use milk instead of cream and half and half) Sauté onions with butter, dill seed, dill weed and oregano. Add flour, stir for 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and chicken stock gradually. Add salt and pepper. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add parsley, honey, cream and half and half. Heat through. Serves 5-6