They are every bit as important as the vegetables we’re growing in our garden. If not more so. For they not only add nutrients to our food, building the flavor of the vegetables we’ve labored so hard to cultivate, but they also double as our medicine.
Really, it’s a field of study that could last a lifetime with all the facets of cultivation, harvesting, preserving, preparation, and incorporating into your life. For that reason I was thrilled to receive a review copy of The New American Herbal.
From modern garden master Stephen Orr comes a new, definitive book on herbs to finally replace the dusty and outdated classics. Here are entries on hundreds of plants that are extraordinarily useful in cooking, homeopathy, and more; dozens of recipes and DIY projects; and beautifully styled photographs so you know just what you’re growing.
With more than 900 entries, each accompanied by brand new photography and helpful growing advice, The New American Herbal takes the study of herbs to an exciting new level. Orr covers the entire spectrum of herbaceous plants, from culinary to ornamental to aromatic and medicinal, presenting them in an easy to use A to Z format packed with recipes, DIY projects, and stunning examples of garden design highlighting herbal plantings. Learn about the herbs you’ve always wanted to grow (chervil, chamomile, and lovage), exotic herbs (such as Artemisia, the bitter herb used in Absinthe, or the anti-inflammatory Meadowsweet), and ornamental varieties (Monkshood and Perilla). For cooks there is indispensable guidance on planting and maintaining a bountiful kitchen garden and crafters will delight in dozens of exciting new uses for fresh, dried, and distilled herbs. Here, too, are 40 delicious recipes such as Ragu Bolognese with Fennel and Lemon Semolina Cake with Lavender, as well easy steps for projects such as a hanging herb garden and instructions on how to plant, dry, and preserve your garden’s bounty.
Meticulously researched and exhaustive in its scope, The New American Herbal is an irresistible invitation to explore the versatility of herbs in all their beauty and variety.– Source
It’s a welcome addition to my library. It is full of history, cultivation, and the properties of an enormous host of herbs, however I must make mention that if you’re interesting in preparations or recipes, there are very, very few to be had. What ones are there are mostly culinary. If you’re looking to supplement this resource with further information about how to prepare herbs for medicinal use, might I suggest Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs. There’s more than enough information in that wonderful book to get you started treating your family with herbs!
One of the recipes in The New American Herbal most definitely caught my attention. For while I’m not the biggest fan of pork chops, I am a fan of my meat cooked with a wine sauce! Talk about flavor! And since my chief complaint about chops is that they’re kind of bland, cooking them with peppercorns, bay leaves, and then the white wine sauce, I knew we were going to encounter some serious pork chop flavor that night!
And I wasn’t disappointed!
I made sure to cook some brown rice on the side to soak up any extra sauce. I could have licked my plate.
And might have. You’ll never know for sure.
Pork Chops with Wine Sauce and Bay Leaves
- 2 1/2 pounds pork chops
- 2 cloves garlic
- salt & pepper
- 1/2 cup flour
- 4-6 bay leaves
- 1 Tablespoon peppercorns (if brined, rinsed first)
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 1 Tablespoon flour
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Heat your cast iron skillet over high heat while you prepare your chops.
- Mince & smash the garlic cloves and then rub them all over the pork. Season them with salt and pepper.
- Dump out about 1/2 a cup of flour on a plate and then dredge each side in the flour.
- Scatter the bay leaves in the hot skillet and then place each chop on top of a leaf, browning on each side for about 3-5 minutes.
- Add the peppercorns to the pan and transfer it to the hot oven until the meat is cooked through, about 5-7 minutes.
- Meanwhile, rub a tablespoon of butter along with a tablespoon of flour together with your fingertips until it's fully incorporated.
- When the pork chops are done, transfer them to a plate and return the skillet to the stove.
- Once again on high heat, deglaze the skillet with the white wine and allow it to simmer for a minute.
- Whisk in the butter/flour mixture until it begins to thicken up and get saucy. Season with a little bit of salt.
- Spoon over the chops and serve. (Preferably with something, such as rice or noodles, that will help you pick up every last drop of that sauce!)