Spice Up Your Romance

One of cooking's many pleasures is the delicious aromas wafting from your kitchen. In fact, when planning a romantic dinner at home, capturing that aromatic sensual experience can really put you at an advantage. That's why using fresh herbs in dishes that you create at home can fulfill both physical and emotional hunger.

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Fresh herb recipes

Mint Mojito

Makes 1

Ingredients:
1 1/2 ounces clear white rum
10 whole mint leaves
2 tablespoons sugar
6 lime wedges
Splash of lime-flavored soda

Special equipment: mixing glass, shaker tin, muddler and strainer

Directions:
Fill mixing glass half-way with crushed ice. Add rum, mint leaves and sugar. Muddle until mint leaves are crushed to pea-sized bits and sugar is dissolved. Squeeze lime wedges and drop into glass. Cover with shaker tin and shake vigorously. Strain into a glass filled with ice, top with a splash of soda and garnish with a mint sprig.

Per serving (minus splash of soda): 36g carbs; 1g fiber; 1g protein; trace fat; 0mg cholesterol; 6mg sodium; 229 calories

Sexy Green Salad with Fresh Herb-Mustard Vinaigrette

Serves 2

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh herbs such as dill, parsley, chives, tarragon and basil
1/2 head Boston lettuce (approximately 1/4 pound), washed and dried, with leaves torn into bite sized pieces.

Directions:
Whisk together vinegar and mustard in a large mixing bowl, then add oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper, and whisk in herbs. Add lettuce and toss with vinaigrette.

Per serving (with dill): 2g carbs; trace fiber; 1g protein; 7g fat; 34mg sodium; 0mg cholesterol; 68 calories

Lavender Creme Brulee

Serves 2

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons fresh lavender flowers or 1 tablespoon dried
2 egg yolks
1/8 cup granulated white sugar
2 teaspoons granulated white sugar (to caramelize the cr�me brulee tops)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the cream and lavender to a gentle boil. Remove from heat and allow the lavender to infuse with the cream for about three minutes.

2. Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until light and creamy. Remove the lavender flowers from the cream. Slowly pour the cream into the egg and sugar mixture, blending well.

3. Divide mixture between two ramekins or custard cups. Place them in a pan and carefully fill the pan with warm water, until it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake custards until set around the edges, but still loose in the center, about 40 to 50 minutes. Remove form oven and leave in the water bath until cooled. Remove cups from water bath and chill for at least two hours, or up to two days.

4. When ready to serve, sprinkle one teaspoon of sugar over each custard. Melt the sugar until golden brown with a small hand-held torch or place under the broiler.

More ways to grow and cook with herbs

Tips to grow and cook with your own herbs
Grow a garden to fit any home
Homegrown herbs and recipes

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