Book cover for RECIPES FROM THE HERBALIST'S KITCHEN: Delicious, Nourishing Food for Lifelong Health and Well-Being

RECIPES FROM THE HERBALIST’S KITCHEN: Delicious, Nourishing Food for Lifelong Health and Well-Being

Brittany Wood Nickerson

Storey Publishing
June 27, 2017
ISBN-13: 978-1612126906

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Brittany Wood Nickerson has blended her training in herbal medicine into her personal and professional cooking for more than 10 years. Through her business, Thyme Herbal, she offers herbal apprenticeship programs, private herbal consultations, and classes in herbal cooking. Nickerson is an active guest speaker and teacher at conferences throughout the Northeast. She lives in Conway, Massachusetts.

Connect to the Healing Power of Your Food!

Wholesome, home-cooked food is powerful medicine. Discover how your kitchen can become a place of true awakening for the senses and the spirit, as well as deep sustenance for the body.

Herbalist Brittany Wood Nickerson’s original recipes offer delightful and often unexpected combinations — from Lavender and Dandelion Flower Muffins and Rosemary-Olive Oil Tea Cake to Garlic-Stuffed Roast Pork and Red Grape Chimichurri with Dill and Oregano. Every dish combines generous amounts of culinary herbs with fresh ingredients that accentuate the food’s healing properties.

These scrumptious snacks, entrees, drinks, and desserts are designed to meet the body’s needs for comfort, nourishment, energy, and support through seasonal changes. With Nickerson’s warm guidance and thoughtful insights, you’ll learn how to maximize the health benefits of every meal.

Cilantro Lemonade

Yields: About 3 cups

Cilantro lemonade is hydrating, detoxifying, and invigorating. The combination of cilantro’s cooling and detoxifying properties with the high amounts of vitamin C found in the lemon juice, the enzymes and sugars from the honey, and a little pinch of mineral-rich salt help replenish the body on a hot day. Cilantro lemonade is excellent plain or over ice. You can even use it as a base for fun summer cocktails.

  • 1 bunch cilantro (about 2 cups packed)
  •  ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1–2 lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2  cups water

Combine the cilantro with the lemon juice, honey, salt, and water in a blender and purée for 3 minutes. The drink will be a rich green color with a beautiful white foam on top. I enjoy drinking the lemonade as it is, with the cilantro pulp, but you can strain it through a sieve or tea strainer before serving, if you like. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Cilantro for Gentle Cleansing

You can drink cilantro lemonade on a daily or weekly basis to stay cool in hot weather or to support liver and digestive function and gentle detoxification. It also makes a nice seasonal tonic to help the body transition from colder to warmer weather.

Zhug (Skhug)

Yield: About 1 pint

This is our fermented version of a classic Yemeni chile paste. This paste has a rich flavor, as the cilantro and garlic do not get drowned out by the heat. Zhug (or zhoug, or skhug) traveled from Yemen to Israel and is a common sight on Israeli food carts, where you might spoon it onto shwarma or falafel sandwiches. It is wonderful in hummus, and we have used it for flavoring many spreads and salads. We recommend it on the table as a condiment for almost any type of dish.

  • 12 large serrano peppers (about ½ pound), stemmed and seeded
  • 2 bunches cilantro
  • ½ bunch parsley
  • 12 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Combine the serranos, cilantro, parsley, garlic, black pepper, coriander seed, cumin seed, cardamom, and lemon juice in a food processor and process to a paste consistency. Sprinkle in the salt. The paste will become moist right away and will look juicier than some pastes.

Pack the paste into a jar that is just the right size for your ferment, pressing out any air pockets as you go. Leave about 1 inch of headspace.

Press a piece of plastic (or other cartouche) against the surface of the ferment, being careful not to trap any air beneath it. Screw the lid down tightly.

Set the jar in a corner of the kitchen to ferment, and watch for air pockets forming in the paste. If you see any, open the lid and press the paste back down. If the lid starts to bulge, simply open it for a moment to burp the ferment.

Allow to ferment for at least 5 to 7 days. (We have allowed zhug to ferment for 3 weeks, and it was delicious.) You will know it is ready when the verdant green mixture becomes a dull olive color and the brine layer on top is a cloudy green. It will smell of cilantro and salsa, with a pickled edge. The flavors will have mingled and taken on a strong garlicky pickled-cilantro heat.

  1. When it is ready, place a clean small round of plastic or parchment paper directly on top of the paste. Tighten the lid, then store in the fridge, where it will keep for up to 8 months.

NOTE: When you taste-test a paste, be aware that it will be somewhat saltier than some of the other vegetable ferments, because it’s meant to be a concentrate, like bouillon.

These recipes may be reproduced with the following credit:

Recipes from RECIPES FROM THE HERBALIST’S KITCHEN: Delicious, Nourishing Food for Lifelong Health and Well-Being by Brittany Wood Nickerson (Storey Publishing, June 2017; $24.95/hardcover; ISBN: 978-1612126906).

Contact: Alee Moncy