Lesson time 08:29 min
Fresh herbs are an essential element in Alice’s cooking. Learn how she uses tender and strong herbs for different dishes, and how she finds use for the whole plant—not just the leaves.
Topics include: Use Every Part of the Plant • Grow the Essential Herbs Yourself • Flavoring With Strong Herbs
ALICE WATERS: Tending to plants changing throughout the seasons is a delicious meditation for me. It's deeply satisfying to harvest, prepare, and eat food that you've grown yourself. These are bay leaves. It's something else that I think about, is having trees in my garden that don't need a lot of care. I can't believe I've got these beautiful Meyer lemons still on the tree. These are the sweet lemons. It's a varietal that seems to grow extremely well in gardens all around Berkeley. And I just love to be going out and picking them, but these are the last two. I don't have a huge tree, but I love having the leaves of the citrus and I have a Kaffir lime. I rarely get limes, but I get these incredible leaves. And they can be used, like in a curry. They're very interesting looking, these. We're going to roast the squash in the oven on the Kaffir lime leaves. And then of course, there's bay, beautiful bay. Aromatic as well, indispensable, and stalks. Beautiful aroma, again, I throw it in the fireplace when it gets dry. Perfumes the whole room. We have made this rather delicious bay leaf custard. Cream custard, again, seeping the leaves in the actual cream. And it takes on perfume. We do this very often at Chez Panisse, and the fig leaves. One of the great ice creams that I love at the restaurant actually came from the chef, Russell Moore. He burns these leaves in the fireplace, and then you put them in the cream. And you have a taste of almost like toasted coconut. Almost like that flavor. We wrap fish in the fig leaves and put it on the grill, or it can actually go right in a pan over the fire. And another thing we do is take goat cheese, wrap it in the fig leaves, and bake it in the oven. So I'm thinking all the time about how to use all the parts of the plant. Now I have a very small garden. Maybe about 10 feet by 10 feet. I want to grow things that I can't find in the farmer's market. I can find things like garlic and I can find these beautiful radicchios at the farmer's market, but it's very difficult for me to find some of the really fragile herbs. And I want to be able to go out in the garden and just grab them when I can. And I have chives, and I have parsley. Indispensable parsley and cilantro, coriander, I use them all the time. And so I have a lot of that going. And I love to make Salsa Verde with these herbs. And you need quite a bit to do that. Probably the herbs that I go after every evening are the mint and I have lemon verbena in the summer and in the fall. In the winter, it dies back and I cannot make that mix of tea that I love to have at the end of dinner. I take some boiling water and I pour it over the fresh mint leaves. And if possible, a little bit of lemon verbena. And I let it sit for a few minutes and then I serve that at the end of practically every meal that I have at home. And it's a part of the ritual of Chez Panisse as well, to give that sort of taste of freshness at the end of a long ...
Alice Waters started America’s farm-to-table revolution. When she founded the iconic restaurant Chez Panisse, her local, organic ingredients sparked a movement and earned her the James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef. In her first-ever online cooking class, Alice opens the doors of her home kitchen to teach you how to pick seasonal ingredients, create healthy and beautiful meals, and change your life by changing the food you make at home.
The information and the workbook are both very useful, but above all it's lovely to see Alice do what she does. Reminds me of the story of the disciple who went to visit the master, and when asked what great wisdom he had learned, said awestruck, "I watched him tie his shoes."
Unlike the Thomas Keller class, I didn't really increase my technical knowledge with this class, but my appreciation of the art and love of cooking is at new highs. Mrs. Waters is a warm and loving person whose character flows through to her food, what a blessing.
Alice is really inspiring. What a complete treat.
This course got me much more focused on planning meals on what is in season locally. It also taught me to use parts of my garden in an 'outside of the box' manner. I harvest figs...but I have never used the leaves. Great lessons from a very gracious lady.