Culinary Fresh Herbs

To celebrate the coming of Spring, we’ve included various seed packets in our Snack-from-Home boxes to grow your own culinary herbs. We know the seeds will take time to grow, so if you’re impatiently waiting, grab some fresh herbs and ingredients from the store and get cooking!

How to Use Arugula 

Arugula is predominantly used in fresh green salads. It has a peppery, mustard-like flavor, although the pale, younger leaves are often milder. It makes a tasty addition to other salad greens. The ancient Romans were said to combine it with romaine, chicory, mallow, lavender, and cheese. Consider combining it with fruits, such as pears, or cheeses like Gorgonzola. It goes well on sandwiches, in chicken and tuna salads, egg dishes, pasta and tomato dishes, and in sautéed vegetables. You can also sauté it with your choice of other herbs and spices—it can stand in as a side dish on its own. Arugula is commonly featured in Clean Monday meals at the beginning of the Lenten period.

Here are two delicious culinary recipes using some of the herbs, from garten’s chef Jonathan Tom:

Basil Tomato Bread Soup

Tomato bread soup is a classic rustic recipe that demonstrates our culinary resourcefulness. It’s traditionally made with stale bread and tomatoes so ripe they’re splitting. The day old bread absorbs the moisture while retaining some of it’s texture.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Spanish onion, small diced
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 5 super ripe beefsteak tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 10 large basil leaves, half whole and half chiffonade
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 ½ cup large cubes day old rustic bread (crust removed)
  • Kosher salt as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper as needed
  • ¼ cup olive oil for serving
  • Fresh grated parmesan cheese (optional)

Heat a medium-heavy soup pot over medium heat. Pour in the olive oil, make sure it coats the whole pan heating the oil until it is shimmering and almost smoking. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon until the onions are softened but not brown, roughly 4 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, whole basil leaves and stock and bring to a light boil then immediately lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Stir the bread and raise the heat to return the soup to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper, lower the heat and simmer until the tomatoes are broken down and the soup is thick and porridge like, about 20 minutes. 

Stir in extra virgin olive oil and sliced basil and ladle into soup bowls. Drizzle with more extra virgin olive oil and (optional) parmesan.

Oregano Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

This is a classic recipe and one of my favorites as my mentor, Gary Boyer, taught me how to make it. He always took it upon himself to make soups for service and as I later found out he did it because he made the best soups and didn’t trust anyone. You can use poached chicken breasts or a shredded rotisserie chicken. Perfect early spring or fall/winter soup.

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
  • 3/4 cup finely small diced carrots
  • 3/4  cup finely small diced celery
  • 3/4  cup finely small diced onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 8 cups of chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup rice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cooked boneless chicken breast pieces, shredded or cubed
  • ½ cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano

In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat 1 tbsp olive oil on medium-high. Add the carrots, celery and onions and saute for two minutes, add garlic and continue cooking until vegetables are translucent but not browned, add b. 

Add the chicken stock then raise the heat to high. Once the liquid has come to a rolling boil, add the rice, salt and pepper. Turn the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes or until the rice is tender. Now stir in the cooked chicken.

To prepare the egg-lemon sauce, in a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and egg yolks. While whisking add 2 ladles-full of the broth from the cooking pot (this helps temper the eggs). Once fully combined, add the sauce to the chicken soup and stir. Remove from the heat immediately.