Tag: #foodie

Herb It Up With Tarragon

Herb Tarragon

Tarragon is a popular and versatile herb with a name that sounds like a character from the popular TV series, Game Of Thrones! It’s soft, lance-shaped, gray-green leaves with a distinctive anise or licorice flavor.

Tarragon is excellent with seafood, fruits, poultry, eggs and most vegetables especially leeks, artichokes, peas and asparagus and salad leaves, particularly béarnaise sauce the most romantic, delicate and fragrant sauce in French cuisine. It enliven mustard sauces as well as salad dressings or in a potato mustard salad and makes a fragrant herb butter to serve along with seafood or even a great roast or steak. It is also a great addition to cream cheese for a simple toasted sandwich meal. It pairs well with stone fruits like cherries, peaches, and plums as well.

Tarragon herb
Image credit- Flickr

Tarragon, due to its anise flavor, can be very dominating and can easily overpower other flavors, as a result infinite care and a restrained hand should be used when cooking with this herb. As always, the fresh herb is better to use as the dried herb can be quite weak.

French or German tarragon is sweet and aromatic, reminiscent of fennel, anise, and licorice, whereas Russian tarragon has coarser, paler leaves and is not a fragrant and has a slightly bitter taste. Tarragon is mostly available all year around in most supermarkets or vegetable vendors who sell herbs here and well-dried varieties are also available easily.

It is also known as estragon (French dried variety) and fresh lightly bruised sprigs of tarragon are steeped in vinegar to produce tarragon vinegar. You can make your own tarragon vinegar at home too, use some distilled white vinegar and put in a few sprigs of tarragon and leave it to steep for a few days. Use it to make vinaigrette dressings for your salads.

#Benefits of #Tarragon #Herb

The herb is a very rich source of vitamins such as Vitamin-C and Vitamin-A, as well as the B-Complex group of vitamins such as folate, pyridoxine, niacin and riboflavin, that function as antioxidants.

Tarragon is also notably an excellent source of minerals such as calcium, manganese, iron, magnesium, copper, potassium  and zinc.  These are in itself reason enough to make tarragon a part of your daily diet.

Tarragon is also used medicinally as a traditional remedy for stimulating appetite and to alleviate anorexic symptoms.  Whether used as a seasoning herb in cooking or consumed raw as a garnish, it may help people who have poor appetites due to age or illness.

Throughout history, tarragon has been widely used as an aid for toothaches. The ancient Greeks chewed it because of its ability to numb the mouth. This pain relieving effect is due to the high levels of eugenol found in the plant. This is the same pain relieving compound contained in clove oil.  It also has been proven that tarragon can also help decrease the sore gums that often occur along with toothaches.

The essential oil, eugenol found in the herb has been in therapeutic use in dentistry as a local anesthetic and antiseptic for toothache remedy.

Scientific studies suggest that ploy-phenolic compounds in the herb help lower blood sugar levels. Tarragon has also long been used as a digestive tonic because it adds in the production of bile by the liver. Not only can it improve natural digestion,  but it also has been found to relieve common digestive problems like an upset stomach and irritable bowels.

Laboratory studies on tarragon extract show certain compounds in them inhibit platelet activation, platelet aggregation and adhesion to the blood vessel wall. It, thus, helps prevent clot formation inside the tiny blood vessels of the heart and brain protecting from heart attacks and strokes.

Buying and storing

Try to buy fresh leaves wherever possible for better flavor and nutritional benefits. Look for the herb that is rich in fragrance. Avoid those that are shriveled and discolored.

Tarragon herb
Dried Tarragon

Wash the leaves in clean running water and pat dry with kitchen paper and store in the vegetable compartment for use within a day or two. Dried tarragon, however, should be stored in an airtight container and stored in a cool and dark place where it will stay for almost six months. Generally, the herb is added at the final moment to the recipes in small amounts in order to retain flavor and taste as heat diminishes its flavor and taste.

And as a general rule if substituting fresh tarragon in a recipe with dried tarragon, remember, 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon = 1 tablespoon dried tarragon.  This rule generally applies to both herbs.

Now, go and buy some tarragon and start cooking!

 You may like to read 3 Tarragon Recipes

I discovered this cake when Joe and I first moved in together and got access to his cookbooks. He also made an amazing seared Ahi dish for me on our third date from this same cookbook, so I was very curious to try more recipes from it. Well, I have been waiting 8 years to make this cake for any special occasion but never got the chance or was always picking the wrong season to try to find Quince (which is what the original recipe calls for). Well, I finally got the chance this September just before our 8-year anniversary to make this cake and truly enjoyed and cherished every moment of it.


Guava and Goat Cheese cake recipe
Guava and Goat Cheesecake

Guava and Goat Cheese Layer Cake

Adapted from “The Basque Kitchen” By Gerald Hirigoyen


Ingredients for guava and goat cheese layer cake

Method for Guava and goat cheese layer cake-recipe 1

Method for Guava and goat cheese layer cake-recipe

guava and goat cheese layer cake method to make
guava and goat cheese layer cake
*/Dilnaz Todiwala is my cousin who stays in California, USA with her husband Joe. She is found of cooking and travelling. /*

Continuing my earlier post on A taste of Cyprus -Halloumi Cheese, following are 3 delicious recipes with Halloumi Cheese

Beetroot and Lentil Salad with Halloumi

Ingredients for beetroot and lentil salad with Halloumi cheese recipes
Method for Beetroot and Lentil- Halloumi cheese recipes


Carrot, Zucchini and Halloumi Salad with ginger and Sesame

Halloumi, Carrot and Courgette Salad
Image credit
carrot, zucchini and Halloumi salad- Halloumi Cheese recipes
Method to prepare carrot, zucchini and Halloumi Salad - Halloumi Cheese recipes


Mediterranean Vegetable and Halloumi Bake

Roasted Vegetable, Lentil and Halloumi Bake- Halloumi cheese recipes
Roasted Vegetable, Lentil and Halloumi Bake- Image credit
Ingredients for Mediterranean Vegetables and Halloumi cheese recipes
Method for Mediterranean vegetable and Halloumi cheese recipes
Image credit- ... Bon appetit | by Iain Farrell - Halloumi Cheese

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A Taste of Cyprus -Halloumi

Cyprus, Kapparis, Cove, Rocks, Sea, Turquoise, Seascape

Cyprus is an island in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, off the coasts of Syria and Turkey. Cypriot cuisine is closely related to Greek and Turkish cuisine and is highly influenced by Byzantine, French, Italian, Catalan and Middle Eastern cuisines. Halloumi cheese- has been around for many centuries and the name Halloumi is automatically associated with Cyprus.

Grilled Halloumi cheese- Cyprus
Grilled Halloumi cheese

Halloumi cheese originated in Cyprus and was initially made during the medieval Byzantine period. Halloumi is commonly served sliced, fresh or grilled, as an appetizer. Halloumi is the national cheese of Cyprus a semi-hard unripened brined cheese (similar in texture to mozzarella) made from a mixture of goat’s and sheep’s milk and sometimes also cow’s milk or a combination. It is also popular in Greece, the Middle East and is now made all over the world.

 The cheese is set with rennet and is very unusual in that no acid or acid-producing bacteria are used in its preparation. Thus Halloumi is also unique in having a high melting point and so can easily be fried or grilled.

Cypriots like eating Halloumi with watermelon in the warm months and also with slices of smoked pork or lamb sausages. Halloumi is served with meze. In Israel it is sometimes fried in olive oil and served for breakfast as well as with meze and as well as with fish. Mint is a very important herb in Cypriot cuisine as it grows abundantly and the locals use it for everything. Halloumi is often garnished with mint in Cyprus to add to the taste. Traditionally the mint in Cyprus was used as a preservative. This practice came about when it was considered that Halloumi kept better and was fresher and more flavourful when wrapped with mint leaves. In accordance with this tradition, many packages of Halloumi contain fragments of mint leaves on the surface of the cheese.

Although Halloumi is made worldwide and is of rather disputed origin due to the mixed cultures in the Levant and East Mediterranean, Halloumi is currently registered as a protected Cypriot product within the US but not in the EU. The delay in registering the name Halloumi with the EU has been largely due to a conflict between dairy producers and sheep and goat farmers as to whether registered Halloumi will contain cow’s milk or not and if so, at what ratios of sheep to goat’s milk.

Traditional artisanal Halloumi is made from unpasteurized sheep and goat’s milk. Many Cypriots also enjoy Halloumi, which has been aged or matured; it is much drier, much stronger and much saltier. It is easy to find this traditional product in Greek, Cypriot, or Turkish shops in most countries outside of Cyprus. It is preserved in its own brine and this traditional Halloumi is very different from the milder Halloumi that most Western chefs use as well as what is available here in our gourmet supermarkets. But like most aged cheeses, this too is an acquired taste and regular packaged Halloumi off the supermarket shelves is good for using in salads or grilling with kebabs and as an appetizer.

You may also like to read  3 Delicious Recipes with Halloumi Cheese

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