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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Herbalicious: Cooking with Sherry

When I had the opportunity to take another class with food writer turned chef, Sherry Belotti, I jumped at the chance. Sherry taught the macaron-making class I took earlier this spring at the local adult continuing ed program, and I had such a great time that taking a second class made perfect sense. 

As you can probably guess, Herbalicious focused on using fresh herbs in sweet and savory foods. 

Sherry began the evening with an overview of various herbs and their common uses, as well as samples of some of the treats we would be making in class that night, like lemon herbed water, an herbed quiche, an herbed quick bread, an herbed compound butter with fresh French bread, and for dessert, a strawberry-basil galette.  

Many of the students in class had herb gardens, but were unsure as to how best to use them before the herbs spoiled. Others had questions about other uses for herbs, such as in household applications like pest repellents. 

Sherry taught us how to buy, clean and store fresh herbs and offered various ways to use them, including how they differ from dried herbs. Then we got cooking. 

First, we made a compound butter, which is easy to freeze and adds a rich dimension to grilled meats and fish, as well as a fabulous spread for toasted or grilled bread. TIP: Mixing olive oil into the butter keeps it spreadable.

Then, we began a quiche, which when baked that night, came out a little darker than we'd hoped, but was delicious nonetheless. 

Next was an herbed quick bread, which was ready in minutes. The herbs and cheese created a savory profile which would be a great compliment to a soup or chili or as part of a simple breakfast or late night snack. 

Last was a sweet treat: a strawberry-basil galette, using a recipe taken from The Beekman Boys at Beekman 1802. Ready for the oven in eight minutes, this rustic pie-tart hybrid is perfect for when you have fruit and herbs to use. 

The chiffonade of basil (rolled and chopped to create julienne-like strips) provided a hint of basil flavor that heightened the essence of the strawberries. Try it for yourself. You will love it (The link to the recipe is provided above).

Prior to cooking, the pièce de résistance

These simple dishes were enough to encourage the budding gardener in anyone. Kitchen herb gardens are easy to maintain and fresh herbs enhance any meal, from meats to vegetables to soups to desserts. 

I can't wait to see what classes Sherry offers in the fall. 

Do you have an herb garden? How do you use fresh herbs. 


  1. How lovely! You can't beat fresh herbs in cooking!

  2. What fun Kelly! Now you know I have a huge herb garden and use some sort of herb in almost every dish I prepare- even canned tuna!

  3. It was a great class. She's fabulous! And the galette was delicious. And so easy!

  4. They're easy and add such a rich dimension of flavor to any dish.

  5. It was so much fun, Peggy; she's fabulous! Herbs add such a rich dimension of flavor to any dish...even tuna. :-)

  6. I REMEMBER when you made those macarons and they looked yummy. Sherry is becoming my fav chef...send her to me!

  7. Too bad we live so far away from each other I would have loved to join you!

  8. The galette looks to tempting. Perfect way to infuse some herbs. The quick bread looks interesting.