Cooking with Dill – How to Prepare and Use Dill in the Kitchen

dillJust about everyone has heard of dill pickles, but how many of us have experimented with using dill in other ways in the kitchen? If you haven’t tried cooking with dill, you’re selling yourself – and your cooking – short. Here are some tips for getting started with this fresh and flexible herb.

What Is Dill?

Dill is one of the oldest herbs that people have been known to use in cooking. Sprigs of herbs have been found in the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs and even in Neolithic settlements. This relative of parsley grows naturally in central Asia and around the Mediterranean Sea, but it can be cultivated anywhere where the summers are hot and it can get plenty of direct sunlight.

Dill can be used in cooking in four different forms: fresh dill leaves, dried dill leaves, dill flowers, and the dill seeds. The fresh leaves have the strongest and most pronounced flavor. The seeds taste similar to caraway and are often used in breads and other baked goods. Both the seeds and the flowers are used to make dill pickles.

How Does Dill Taste?

Dill leaves have a gentle, subtle flavor that can be described as tangy and fresh, but with a musky overtone. Dill leaves compliment other herbs well, making it a great addition to many meals.

Dill seeds have a stronger flavor and a crispy crunch. They have been compared with caraway seeds, and have a citrus tang and a slightly bitter taste.

Does Dill Have Any Health Benefits?

Dill is an excellent source of calcium, and can help to prevent bone deterioration with age. It also relieves stomach aches and is naturally soothing, helping to ease people to sleep. Like garlic, dill is an anti-bacterial spice, and it acts as an antioxidant.

Finally, dill seed makes a good substitute for salt. People with low-sodium diets can benefit from a healthy dose of dill in their foods.

Which Dishes Work Best When Flavored with Dill?

Dill Seeds:
Dill Seeds
are often added to potato and egg salads, and are used to make a delicious devilled egg. They can be added to the water while boiling potatoes for mashing to add tang to the dish. Dill seeds can be substituted for caraway seeds to make caraway bread. Dill seeds are also an important ingredient for making dill pickles.

Dill Leaves:
Blend dill with softened butter to create a delicious dip for breads or for seafood. Add fronds of dill to yogurt and serve with raw vegetables for a healthy snack. Dill leaves make a delicious substitute for parsley as a garnish for sandwiches. Toss some fresh leaves shortly before your fish is done cooking for delicious added flavor. Dill fronds also make a savory addition to hamburger meat.

Dried Dill:
Dried dill can be substituted for fresh dill, but be aware that quite a lot of the herb will be necessary, since it loses a lot of flavor in the drying process.

Dill Flowers:
Dill flowers can be harvested and used as an ingredient for dill pickles.

How Should Dill Be Used in Cooking?
Exposure to heat tends to destroy the delicious flavor of fresh dill leaves. To retain their taste, add them shortly before the end of the cooking process, or chop the leaves and use them fresh in salads.

Dill seeds, on the other hand, can withstand higher temperatures and longer cooking without losing flavor. They can be added to boiling water for flavoring potatoes or tossed into a potato salad to add both crunch and flavor.

In Summary
Dill is a harmonious herb that, like salt, enhances the flavor of the meals you prepare. Unlike salt, however, dill has a variety of beneficial properties. For people whose health conditions restrict them to a low-sodium diet or who simply want to improve their overall diet, dill is an excellent addition to their cooking abilities.

 

Welsh Rarebit Recipe

welsh-rarebit-1.JPGTonight the cook in the house made Welsh Rarebit. Now I must admit that I have never tried it before and for some reason I had always thought that it was a type of meat dish. That was until I found a recipe of it on the net.

So for those like me who don’t know what it is, basically it is melted cheese on toast albeit a lot more fancier than that as it incorporates a number of other ingredients to make a beautiful tasting cheese sauce.

So anyway,  when I found the recipe on the net I printed it out and subtly mentioned it to the cook in the house hoping he would make. Well tonight he did and it was a definite welsh-rarebit-4.JPGsuccess.

There are a lot of different ways to make Welsh Rarebit so you will see a lot of different recipes for it. Since this is the first one I’ve tried I can’t really comment on the others.

I did notice during my research for this blog post, that some recipes don’t include the ale. All I can say is that I really enjoyed this so I was happy with the inclusion of the ale and it is not something that dominates the taste anyway. In fact, if I didn’t know what the ingredients were to begin with then I would never have even welsh-rarebit-6.JPGrealized that there was beer in it.

The cook in the house did mention that he didn’t use the recommended porter beer which was in the original recipe but instead opted for a pale ale. His reasoning was that a porter beer would have a stronger taste and overpower the sauce.

The recipe below is the recipe we used so if you want to use the original then just substitute the pale ale with a porter beer.

Now for some reason I didn’t take note of the site that I found the recipe on so I can’t give credit here. welsh-rarebit-2.JPGIf anyone knows leave a comment and I will link to the site. Mind you, the recipe below is slightly modified using the ingredients we had around the house. (UPDATE: A reader has found the recipe – you can find the original here.)

The most important thing to remember with this recipe is to keep the heat low as it can easily burn and it will ruin the sauce.

So here it is:

Welsh Rarebit

  • 2 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup pale ale beer
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups grated cheese
  • 2 drops Tabasco sauce (or to taste)
  • 4 slices of your favorite bread (choose a nice crusty loaf)

Method

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat and whisk in the flour.
  2. Keep whisking constantly for 2 to 3 minutes. Keep the heat low so you don’t brown the flour.
  3. Whisk in the mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper until smooth.
  4. Whisk in the beer.
  5. Pour in the cream and whisk until smooth.
  6. Gradually add the cheese, stirring constantly until the cheese melts and the sauce is smooth. (Approximately 4-5 minutes).
  7. Toast your bread and pour the hot cheese sauce over the toast.
  8. Top with the a few drops of the Tabasco sauce or add to taste.

ENJOY!

Paula Deen 12-pc. Nonstick Porcelain Cookware Set

paula-deen-12-pce-nonstick-porcelain-cookware-setPaula Deen has designed a range of non-stick porcelain cookware that is durable, functional and attractive.

The set comes in speckled green, charcoal and red so there is a color to suit your kitchen.

The set is made from aluminum with a porcelain enamel exterior. The non stick cooking surface lets your food slide easliy from the pan to the plate.

The rubberised color co-ordinated handles are dual riveted and give a nice comfortable and secure grip.

The Paula Deen 12-pc. nonstick signature porcelain cookware set is oven safe to 350° F so you can start cooking on the stove top and finish the dish off in the oven.

There are copper plated rings attached so that you can conveniently hang the pots from your pot rack.

Where Can Buy the Paula Deen Porcelain Cookware Set?
Cooking.com

Zojirushi Gourmet Sizzler Electric Griddle

zojirushi-gourmet-sizzler-electric-griddleZojirushi products look great, I just love the space age look of their Gourmet sizzler electric griddle.

The 13.7 inch non stick surface is ideal for cooking pancakes and eggs but you can just as easily cook bacon, steak or any other type of meat and vegetables.

The Zojirushi gourmet sizzler electric griddle has a dual circular titanium ceramic heating surface which gives you an efficient cooking area, and it has heat settings of 280° to 480° plus there is a keep warm function.

I like the idea of the tempered glass lid which retains the flavor of the food by keeping in the heat and moisture, it also helps to reduce food splatters. The lid has a stay cool knob.

The Zojirushi gourmet sizzler electric griddle stores easily when not in use.

Where Can I Buy the Zojirushi Gourmet Sizzler Electric Griddle?

Cooking.com

Presto Electric Potato Peeler – Peel a Meal Peeler

presto-electric-potato-peelerWe all know the frustration of having to peel lots of potatoes with one of those dinky little peelers. They are great for when you only have a couple of potatoes to peel, but if you are preparing home made chips or a large quantity of mashed potatoes then you want something a little more robust and that will peel bigger quantities at a time.

Well this is where the  Presto 02905 Peel-A-Meal Electric Peeler  comes in handy. This is a much faster and easier way to peel up to two pounds of potatoes in only one to four minutes. Talk about labor saving.

But the beauty of the Presto peel a meal peeler is that you can also peel apples when you are making a delicious apple pie for dessert.

The cover is see through so you can keep a check to see when the food is peeled.

This handy kitchen accessory can also be used to dry lettuce and spinach, well any leafy vegetable because there is a bonus salad spinner attachment included with the peeler.  So you can also dry off those gourmet lettuce leaves for that interesting side salad.

Features of the Presto Peel a Meal Electric Peeler:

*  The bowl and peeling disc can be easily cleaned in the dishwasher
*  You can peel up to two pounds in only 1 – 4 minutes
*  The cord stores neatly in the base when you are not using the peeler.

Where Can I Buy Presto Peel a Meal Electric Peeler?
Unbeatable Sale
Amazon.com