Magnificent Mediterranean Cuisine

Mediterranean herbs

| August/September 2004

  • The Mediterranean herb garden is a natural for inclines or sloped sites.
    Susan Belsinger
  • Prune bottom roots before re-potting plants.
    Susan Belsinger
  • Fill your pot with the aggregate mix or with Mediterranean meal mix.
    Susan Belsinger
  • Tap the pot to loosely settle the soil. Don’t pack the soil mix around the plant.
    Susan Belsinger

Our passions for herbs stem from many Mediterranean herbs, and once you’ve grown a few of your favorites with the tips from the story on Page 42, you might enjoy indulging in some tasty recipes from the Mediterranean using those herbs as well. The following recipes and more can be found in Donna Klein’s Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen on our Bookshelf, Page 54. Enjoy good food and good health!


Makes 12 servings
Ready in 30 minutes, this easy yet elegant recipe is a great way to dress up plain black olives anytime of the year when unexpected company is on the way and there’s no time to marinate. In fact, this is one of those few instances where the fairly inexpensive and decidedly bland canned California black olives can be used with success. Although you can pit the olives if you prefer, leaving the pits in not only helps them retain their shape during baking, but also ensures they won’t disappear as soon as they appear on your appetizer or meze table. If you’re lucky enough to have any left over, pit, chop and toss them over hot pasta with a little more olive oil the next day.

1 pound large brine-cured black olives, pitted or unpitted, drained
1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 to 2 tablespoons pastis, anisette, Pernod or other anise-flavored liqueur (optional)
1 shallot, finely chopped, or 2 tablespoons finely chopped white parts of scallions
1 tablespoon herbes de Provence or dried rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon grated dried lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange the olives in an 81/2- or 9-inch pie plate. Combine the broth, oil, liqueur (if using), shallot, herbes de Provence, lemon peel, fennel seeds and pepper in a small bowl; mix well. Pour over the olives, stirring to combine. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring 3 or 4 times. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature before serving.

Note: The cooled olives can be covered and refrigerated for up to three days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Orzo-Stuffed Peppers with Basil and Mint

Serves 4
Americans increasingly are discovering the versatility of orzo, a rice-shaped pasta that used to be sold only in specialty stores but is now found in most well-stocked supermarkets. Indeed, in many recipes, this quick-cooking pasta can be substituted for the longer cooking rice, and it will not harden in the refrigerator, as long-grain white rice will do. If you prefer, however, about 31/2 cups of slightly undercooked white rice — preferably Arborio, which will not harden in the refrigerator — can be used instead of the orzo in this recipe.

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