Sunday, June 6, 2010

I heart cooking clubs- Herb Garden

I love fresh herbs, unfortunately I CANNOT seem to keep them alive! I don't know what I am doing wrong, but despite my best efforts I keep killing them. Luckily, the grocery store has them so when I am in need, I can drive five minutes and pick them up.
The herb I decided to play with this week was thyme, and just for the heck of it, I looked it up on Wikipedia. Here are a few interesting factoids about thyme: Ancient Egyptians used thyme for embalming. The ancient Greeks used it in their baths and burnt it as incense in their temples, believing that thyme was a source of courage . It was thought that the spread of thyme throughout Europe was thanks to the Romans , as they used it to purify their rooms and to "give an aromatic flavor to cheese and liqueurs". In the European Middle Ages , the herb was placed beneath pillows to aid sleep and ward off nightmares. In this period, women would also often give knights and warriors gifts that included thyme leaves as it was believed to bring courage to the bearer. Thyme was also used as incense and placed on coffins during funerals as it was supposed to assure passage into the next life.
I made Italian bread sticks, also called grissini. They are an item that I buy from Whole Foods whenever I go there because they are just so yummy. I discovered them a couple years ago and have a mild addiction to them. Now I can make my own and season them however I like and as an extra bonus, homemade just tastes fresher and yummier. These are really easy to make, and the recipe says you should get 50-100. I got around 60-70 ish, so not too shabby. The dough is mixed in the food processor, which I love because it makes it so darn easy!
These are very customizable. The first pan I actually started cooking before I realized I hadn't added any herbs (duh), so they ended up being plain. After that I added thyme to the dough, and for my last two pans, just to jazz them up a little, I sprinkled one with onion powder and one with garlic powder. All of the variations were just lovely and would be great dipped in just about anything (ranch and marinara are my faves).
Anyway without further ado, here is the basic recipe, and if you are going to add herbs, he suggests 2 teaspoons of rosemary, thyme, sage or a combination of the three which you are supposed to add along with the olive oil, oops.


2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
3 cups all purpose or bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
1/2 cup semolina or cornmeal

1. Combine the yeast, sugar, flour and salt in a food processor; pulse once or twice. Add the oil and, again, pulse a couple times. With the machine running add 1 cup of water through the feed tube. Continue to add water, a tablespoon at a time, until the mixture forms a ball. The dough should be a little shaggy and quite sticky.
2. Put the olive oil in a bowl and transfer the dough ball to it, turning to coat well. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for 1 hour in a warm place. Reshape the ball, put it back in the bowl, cover again and let rise in the refrigerator for several hours or, preferably, overnight.
3. Heat the oven to 400F. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets with olive oil and sprinkle very lightly with the semolina.4. Cut the dough into three pieces: keep the other 2 covered while you work with the first. On a well floured surface, roll a piece of dough out as thinly as possible into a large rectangle, about a foot long. Use a sharp knife or pastry wheel to cut the dough into roughly 1/4 inch thick strips (slightly smaller is better than slightly bigger).
5. Transfer the strips to the baking sheets, spaced apart and brushed with olive oil. Bake until crisp and golden, 10-20 minutes, then cool completely on wire racks. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.


  1. These look delicious. I love fresh herbs!! I've started growing herbs in my Aero Grow. You can have herbs year round.

  2. Your bread sticks look yummy. I too depend on the grocery store my herbs.

  3. I love homemade bread in any form!! Your breadsticks look delicious...loving them with the herbs =)

  4. I've been wanting to make grissini, and you've inspired me to JUST DO IT.

  5. Nice post on breadsticks with herbs.

    Tiff, I've got a method to keep herbs fresh.
    Email me if interested.


  6. I've never thought to add thyme to breadsticks/grissini but what a great idea! I think rosemary would also be fantastic!

  7. These do look wonderful. No need to dip for me. Just munch away :D

  8. I am an herb killer too. ;-) Your breadsticks look delicious. Thyme is a favorite of mine--a great pick to add to the breadsticks!