Chan­nel surf­ing through the tele­vi­sion cook­ing shows usu­ally yields at least one good prac­ti­cal tip.

If its not about learn­ing some­thing new, then it def­i­nitely serves up a friendly reminder.

The use of fresh culi­nary herbs is one such recent prompt. Any recipe really comes alive with the power of fresh herbs.

How­ever sub­tle or heavy-​handed in use, herbs have the magic to trans­form any appe­tizer, entrée or dessert. Con­sider their astound­ing sen­sory appeal. Visual, taste and smell. Inhale.

Coin­ci­dence to the tele­vi­sion watch­ing week­end was atten­dance at a din­ner party of a really fan­tas­tic home cook. Full dis­clo­sure, she is an indus­try pro­fes­sional who knows her way around good food, excep­tional restau­rants and many signed cook books.


The first nib­bles had the thinnest chif­fon­ade of basil. Del­i­cate yet impres­sive. Irre­sistible mouth­fuls of lin­ger­ing, roman­tic licorice-​clove-​like dreams.

Sweet Basil is so pop­u­lar in Ital­ian and French cook­ing that we some­times take it for granted in all of it’s glory. Pesto, sauces, sal­ads and mains are dif­fi­cult to sur­pass with­out deploy­ing basil.

A salad vinai­grette was made star of the bowl by adding fresh tar­ragon. The bit­ter­sweet, pep­pery fla­vor kept call­ing every­one back to the salad.

Ital­ian pars­ley is one of those sleep­ers. It’s so read­ily avail­able we may for­get to see the obvi­ous attrib­utes. Bright color and tex­ture being two.

This kitchen sta­ple plays well with oth­ers but is assertive enough to stand alone. Keep it on hand for a quick chop and top­per.

One pet peeve when gro­cery shop­ping is to find mint out of stock. This sig­na­ture herb goes beyond gar­nishes. It comes in sev­eral vari­eties with pep­per­mint and spearmint among them.

Mint adds to the sweet and savory notes of world cuisines. Very hard to sub­sti­tute, a mojito, tab­bouleh salad or spring roll would be lost with­out mint.

Thyme is one of the most impor­tant herbs of the Euro­pean kitchen. This con­ge­nial herb pairs well with many other herbs — espe­cially rose­mary, pars­ley, sage, savory, and oregano.

Cilantro, sage, oregano and rose­mary have unique char­ac­ter­is­tics that impart dis­tinc­tive fla­vors and tex­tures in food. They are in the love it or hate it herb camps.

Cook­ing with herbs requires some exper­i­men­ta­tion mixed in with some self-​restraint. Start small with the “add to taste’ as the guide to sat­is­fy­ing results.

Unsung culi­nary heroes, herbs to the rescue.

To read the full Mar­ket Report, includ­ing this week’s mar­ket update, see below or click here.