Experimentation of Taste

A food blog that catalogs discovery of foods available through CSA Farms Shares and other arenas and the recipes to enhance the flavors.


WHB # 52 What is your favorite herb?

Tabblo: WHB What's your favorite herb?

I would really like to know how to make pasta. I am a bread guru and it seems pasta should be simpler than that. Alas, my attempt to make Gnocchi went awry, so now I go to the store and buy fresh pasta. Two words, however, might revive my fervor for making pasta from scratch – squash ravioli.

My good friends know that I hoard squash. When I see squash for less than 50 cents a pound I squeal in delight. Sometimes I pick up the squash just to pet it appreciatively. I’m sure part of this comes from growing up in Saudi Arabia. All the squash there is irradiated, expensive, and gross. I may even be provoked into international humanitarianism to help those poor Arabs who are deprived of squash.

I am happy to post this feature for Kayln’s Kitchen’s first anniversary of weekend herb blogging. Sadly, squash ravioli is not the substance of my favorite herb dish – Ravioli with Brown Butter Sauce and Fried Sage Leaves.

The choice of sage as my favorite herb wasn’t easy. I’ve enjoyed Rosemary since I bought my first bush as a practical joke on my best friend and decorated it as a Christmas tree. Thyme had an interest too as it’s a part of my favorite herb mixture za’atar which I add to lots of things including my tomato sauce. I thought of Mint – since Longview has a history of mint production. Chives only had an interest as being cute. So I disregarded Fennel, Basil, Cilantro, and Oregano to get to sage.

I’ve had a rough history of growing my own herbs recently. My cilantro was stolen from my front porch, the oregano is trying to crowd out other plants in its pot, and I refuse to plant mint since it grows so easily here. I’ve had no problems with sage, however. I’m growing Sage in a pot, but it is thriving like it’s going to colonize the yard. If I don’t harvest the leaves frequently it threatens to crowd out a neighboring thyme plant. I recently freed up some garden space and may just give it a chance to start its colony after all.

Storage: Store your sage alive! The plant is obviously easy to grow even for this novice. If you have to buy yours at the store it keeps well in a plastic bag with a piece of paper towel. Kayln talks about the possibility of freezing it for one of her WHB entries. Jeanne talks about drying them for a WHB entry.

Uses: Sage can be used as a tea to drink over at Haalo blog for a WHB entry. Other uses are poultry stuffing, salads, breads, cheese spreads, and in basting mixtures for broiled pork or salmon. I have personally enjoyed the woodsy flavor of sage in sausage. Unlike most fresh herbs sage stands up to long cooking times that temper its strong taste.

Flavor Enhancers: Using too much sage creates a musty flavor in food. Apples compliment the taste. Sage is a great addition to various salt, oil, or vinegar mixtures. It pairs well with rosemary, thyme, savory, and oregano as well as the lemon herbs

Health Notes: Scientists are currently testing the effects of Sage on Alzheimer's patients. It is thought to combat the chemical that is found lacking in their brains. The tea helps during cold season by calming sore throats and coughs. You can also use the fresh leaves as a toothpowder by rubbing them on your teeth to clean them. There are many more uses listed for herb medicinal use. It contains high levels of vitamin A & C.

Safety Notes: smelling sage oil can cause intoxication and giddiness. If you are pregnant only use this as a culinary seasoning and not for medicinal purposes. Alcoholic infusions can be highly toxic. The essential oil can be poisonous in too large of doses.

Meeta has a similar post from a past entry but she is braver than me in her ability to make gorgeous gnocchi – and hers doesn’t disintegrate.

Ravioli with Brown Butter Sauce and Fried Sage Leaves

  • 1 package of whole wheat four cheese ravioli (or other stuffed pasta)
  • ½ stick of butter
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 4 sprigs of sage

  • 1. Boil ravioli per package directions
    2. About a minute or two before the pasta is done, melt butter till browned.
    3. Grate garlic into butter.
    4. Drop one sage leaf in to make sure the temp is high enough; you should hear a crackling noise. Then drop the rest in until they turn a slight browned or grey color depending on your sage variety.
    5. Remove and pour over ravioli


    Blogger Kalyn said...

    Wow, very impressive. I love the way you found the references from past WHB posts. And this is the first vote for sage, and no one is more surprised than I am that the votes are so spread across the board so far.

    9/29/2006 5:01 AM  
    Blogger Katie said...

    I have a garden full of acorn squash and pumpkin waiting to be harvested so I look forward to squash ideas.
    Re: pasta - have you tried using one of the Italian hand-crank rollers? They work great and pretty much fix any kneading mistakes (not that you'd have any) I make it lots in the winter

    Go Sage!

    10/02/2006 12:28 AM  
    Blogger ejm said...

    I'd love to hear how you prepare squash for squash ravioli.

    Katie is right. The Italian handcrank pasta machines are great. They don't cost an arm and a leg either and the pasta made with them is stellar. For really silken dough, we usually prepare the pasta dough a couple of hours before rolling it - wrap the dough ball tightly in plastic. Then about an hour before it's time to cook the pasta, we run the dough through the pasta machine a couple of times and wrap it tightly in plastic again for a half hour or so before rolling it to completion. It seems to really help that the glutens get to relax.


    P.S. I've heard of one fellow who uses his handcrank pasta maker to knead his bread dough.

    10/03/2006 9:52 AM  
    Blogger Piegirl said...

    I've had butternut squash ravioli with brown butter and sage at Pasta Pomodoro, much like the recipe you have here. It is wonderful!

    10/06/2006 1:45 AM  
    Blogger chrispy said...

    Katie & EJM - I did use a hand-cranked roller when I made pasta, but it might have been from my inexperience. I think I was 15 at the time.

    I plan on including recipes on squash no worries and if I work my way up to ravioli, I will include my instuctions.

    Piegirl - I think that is where I had the butternut squash ravioli.

    10/06/2006 9:09 AM  
    Blogger kitchenmage said...

    *waves hand frantically*

    I not only know how to make pasta, I went to a cooking class at the Herbfarm and made THAT pasta! (the butternut squash ravioli with brown butter and sage)

    I'm in the middle of a project but I'll put making some at the top of my mid-November list. Heck, you don't live that far away, maybe we can gt together next month and do it.

    10/12/2006 8:08 PM  
    Blogger chrispy said...

    Kitchenmage - you are so sweet to offer your knowledge. I would love to learn and mid-November sounds great. We are a little busy here in this small town.

    I was also wondering if you would like to stop over for lunch one day that you have to make into this small town to shop for necessary things.

    10/13/2006 4:55 PM  

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