Monday, August 10, 2009

Spice University - Thyme

A Little Spice of Life
From the Colonel

Thymus vulgaris

One of the more popular herbs in the American cuisine is thyme. There are many varieties of thyme. The most common are garden thyme and wild thyme. Garden thyme is sometimes referred to as English thyme or common thyme. Wild thyme is preferred in French cuisine, where it is a widely used herb. Another variety, lemon thyme, is an exquisite blend of the earthiness of thyme and the pure freshness of lemon. Lemon thyme is achieved by crossing common thyme with wild thyme.

There are very few poultry, meat, or vegetable dishes that can't be improved with the use of thyme. Thyme is also used for soups, fish, and eggs. Thyme is one of the ingredients in Bouquet Garni (typically parsley, thyme, and bay). It is also one of the ingredients in Herbs de Provence (usually chervil, tarragon, savory, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, lavender and sometimes fennel). The only caution in using thyme is that, in general, you should use less than you think will be needed. Remember, it is much easier to add more should the flavor be too flat.

Thyme’s popularity is nearly global. It is a common herb in Britain second only to mint in popularity. In addition to the myriad uses in American cuisine, thyme is also used in Cajun and Creole cooking. Thyme is a key herb in several Asian cuisines, as well as, being found in Jamaican dishes and Central American foods.

When you can't find thyme (no pun intended), you could try young sage leaves and flowers.

This months guest chef is Marilyn Harris.


French Chicken in Red Wine
Pasta Salad w/Broccoli & Artichokes
Simple Savory Roasted Chicken
Italian Sausage Soup

Colonel De Stewart

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