Fast flavor with fresh herbs


It’s summer and the herbs are fragrant and flourishing. So snip off some parsley, cilantro, mint and basil, and get in the kitchen. There’s nothing like cooking with herbs from your garden.

Parsley Potato Salad                                         

7     cups cooked russet potatoes

1/2   cup extra virgin olive oil

2      tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1      cup parsley

2      teaspoons salt

1      tablespoon white wine vinegar

1      stalk celery, cut into 6 pieces

1       large garlic clove

1       teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4    teaspoon dried rosemary

1/3    cup minced red onion or chives

Rinse 7-8 small- to medium-size russet potatoes. Place the unpeeled potatoes in a pot of lightly salted boiling water and boil 15 minutes, or until fork tender. Drain and set aside.

While the potatoes cool, make the dressing for the salad. In a food processor, place extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, 1 cup of parsley leaves and stems, salt, white wine vinegar, a stalk of celery cut into pieces, large garlic clove, Dijon mustard and dried rosemary. Pulse for 30 seconds.

When potatoes have cooled, slice them. I leave the skins on, but you can peel them if you prefer. Add the potatoes to a large bowl, add the minced onion or chives, and toss. Then pour the sauce over the salad and stir to combine. Adjust salt and pepper as needed. This salad can be served at room temperature, but I prefer it chilled.  It’s a great alternative to the classic mayonnaise-laden potato salad.  Serves 6-8.

Cheesy Garlic Herb Bread                          

1 loaf of French or Italian bread

2 garlic cloves

2 tablespoons minced parsley

2 green onions, chopped

¼ teaspoon dried rosemary

½ cup butter, softened

3 tablespoons sliced basil leaves

1 cup Italian cheese blend

½ cup shredded cheddar or Colby jack

Heat oven to 400. Take a serrated knife and slice the loaf in half, horizontally, trying to make sure each side has equal thickness.

Mince the garlic, parsley and onions, and slice the basil. Keep half the basil aside. Stir the garlic, parsley, onion, half the basil and dried rosemary into the butter. It’s important the butter is softened so it doesn’t tear the bread. Spread half of the butter over each loaf. Then sprinkle half the cheese over each loaf. Top with remaining basil.

Bake 10-12 minutes, until crisp on the bottom and the cheese has melted. Allow to cool 4 minutes before slicing.

Tip: for a more intense flavor, you can make the garlic herb butter a few hours in advance. You can also make a double batch and spread the rest on bread the following day, or add some to a hot baked potato.

Serves 6-8.

Corn Salad                                             

4 cups corn (fresh or canned)

3 green onions

2 stalks celery

Half a red bell pepper

Half a green bell pepper

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 ½ tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, plus 1 teaspoon

1/3 cup chopped cilantro

¼ teaspoon cumin seed (optional)

If you want this corn salad to have more of a Mexican flavor, add cumin seed. This dish is great with barbecue, grilled meats or tacos. You can either cut 4 cups of cooked corn off the cob or use canned corn (which requires 2 cans of corn).

Place corn in a large bowl. Chop the onion, celery, red bell pepper and green bell pepper, and add the vegetables to the corn.

In a small bowl, whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, canola oil, sugar and apple cider vinegar until combined. Pour over the salad and toss. Add in chopped cilantro and cumin seed. Toss again. This dish can be served immediately or refrigerated for later. It will last 4-5 days in the refrigerator.

Serves 6.

Quick Watermelon Gazpacho                   

3 1/2 cups watermelon

6 strawberries

Half a cucumber, peeled

2 ½ inch chunk of red onion

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1 tablespoon chopped mint

2 tablespoons chopped basil

Dash of garlic salt

Gazpacho is traditionally a chilled Spanish soup made with tomatoes, cucumber and bell peppers. It is also traditionally very labor intensive. I use a food processor and whip this up in 10 minutes. Instead of tomatoes, I use summer watermelon for a slightly sweeter, milder version. This chilled soup is light and incredibly refreshing on a hot day.

Slice off chunks of watermelon until you have 3 1/2 cups. Rinse and hull strawberries. Peel the cucumber and slice half the cucumber into six chunks. Slice off a 2 1/2-inch chunk of red onion. Place all these ingredients in the food processor together (you will likely have to do this in two or three batches). Pulse the first batch until smooth. Pulse the next one or two just until chunky. Place them in a bowl and stir in balsamic vinegar. Chop the herbs and add to the soup. Add a dash of garlic salt, and salt and pepper to taste. This is best chilled for 2 hours before serving.

Serves 4.

Juliana Goodwin is a food columnist, cookbook author and avid traveler. She loves to create food, share recipes and encourage entertaining. If you have a question, email