The holidays always have a funny way of sneaking up on me, and this year, with our second baby due right around Christmas, I’m starting my prep — from buying gifts to meal planning — extra early.
This also includes utilizing my Gardyn to its fullest potential by strategically growing the herbs I plan to use on repeat over the next few months. From sparkling cocktails (mocktails, in my case) and full-bodied appetizers to savory meat courses, hearty vegetables, and decadent desserts, any classic holiday dish is instantly elevated with the addition of fresh herbs.
More than anything, gathering in the kitchen with your loved ones and connecting through the act of both preparing and sharing a meal is truly what the holidays are about. From elegant multi-course meals to potluck dinners, when the temperatures drop, take refuge by the warm stove and share memories over creating new, inspired dishes.
1. Italian Parsley
With Jewish heritage on my Dad’s side, we love celebrating Hanukkah and preparing a traditional meal this time of year. From homemade matzo ball soup to deliciously golden fried potato latkes, a garnish of chopped parsley is essential. Its sweet yet slightly bitter flavor profile pairs perfectly (not to mention adds a pop of color) to any dish.
When entertaining a large crowd, play it safe and offer a fish option for the non-meat eaters. A no-fail combo: salmon in a butter sauce of lemon, capers, and dill. With its ultra-fresh, citrus yet grassy undertone, dill also pairs beautifully with roasted fennel and carrots.
Perhaps one of the most robust, aromatic, and pungent herbs available, rosemary’s natural lemon-pine flavor lends itself best to chicken, roasted pork, and potatoes. Feeling fancy? Try your hand at a rosemary-infused simple syrup to make a cocktail laced with gin and blood orange juice.
Easily one of my favorite herbs, thyme can be used universally in an array of dishes — ranging from savory to sweet. Here, I’m highlighting the delicate, minty-lemon thyme leaves in a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread cookie for an unexpected burst of flavor.
About the Chef:
Katie McCall joins the Gardyn table on a mission to inspire and explore a “kinder” and more sustainable approach to living.
Food writer, Le Cordon Bleu grad, baker, and editor of Two Wild Seeds, Katie McCall has roots working with restaurants on the Michelin’s Bib Gourmand list in Chicago, Illinois.