Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Green Herbs and Blue Grass

The Desert Botanical Garden located in north Phoenix highlights cactus families and desert plants and something is always blooming. In November they are hosting special events and diverse music groups. The extraordinary glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly glow as you approach the entrance in the darkness.

Last week my husband and I attended and evening of blue grass music and a cooking class featuring fresh herbs from the garden.  We purchased dinner featuring the foods prepared by Chef Greg Reynolds during his cooking demonstration. The menu: Herb Rubbed Grilled Chicken Breast, Dry Monterey Jack Risotto and Heirloom Tomato Chopped Salad with Artichokes and Avocados. Herbs were the star of each dish.

Chef Reynolds prepared an herb oil by first blanching fresh herbs-Italian parsley, chives, basil and Greek oregano- in boiling water about 1 minute to set the colors. After cooling in an ice bath, he gently squeezed out moisture and added the herbs to olive oil. After a brief "chop" in an electric blender, he has a fragrant and flavorful oil in a brilliant greeen.

After the class and dinner we sat under the stars and clapped along to lively blue grass music.

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