Maximizing The Lifespan of Your Herbs

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My life has consisted of a whirlwind of travel the past two months and it has been difficult to find the time and/or energy to cook. When I have found myself in the kitchen, strategy has been the name of the game and I’ve needed to plan meals around similar ingredients to make sure they don’t go to waste. (I think a piece of Jake dies every time we throw spoiled food away.)

Planning recipes is just part of the solution and I’ve sought out tricks to help preserve ingredients longer. One such trick involves herbs and has been a game changer for the Lewis household:

  • Fill a small mason jar with enough water to cover about an inch of the stems of the herbs
  • Place the herbs in the water, cover with a plastic produce bag, and refrigerate
  • This tip can also be used to help keep asparagus fresh longer—just cut off an inch of the bottom of the asparagus before placing in your mason jar

Prior to stumbling upon this tip, our herbs would last us two weeks, if we were lucky. Now, our herbs last over a month, saving me lectures from waste management (i.e. Jake) and money.

A couple of weeks ago, I had dill and asparagus I needed to use up before hitting the road again. I decided to make one of Jake’s favorite spring pasta dishes, FoodieCrush‘s creamy pasta with salmon and asparagus. This recipe is also great if you want to use up leftover salmon, but won’t take a lot of time if you need to make the salmon.

The first time I made the original recipe, I found it to be a little too heavy. This go-round, I cut the cheese and cream by half to make the recipe a little lighter on the stomach. I’ve included directions for both, so you can personalize to your taste.

Hope you enjoy and happy spring!

FoodieCrush’s Creamy Pasta with Salmon and Asparagus
Serves: 6-8 (I halved the recipe for the two of us—gave us dinner, plus leftovers for lunch)
Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

Tools:
Baking sheet
Cheese grater 
12-inch skillet 
Aluminum foil

Ingredients:
For the salmon (if you don’t have leftover salmon):
Olive Oil spray (or oil spray of your choice)
2 salmon fillets
1-2 lemons, thinly sliced and seeds removed, plus half a lemon
Salt and pepper

For the pasta:
1 pound farfalle (bowtie) pasta
2 cups chopped asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups heavy cream (I used one cup)
Zest of 2 Meyer lemons or 2-3 regular lemons
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I used 1/4 cup to cook and a pinch to top each plate)
1/8 cup chopped dill fronds, plus more for garnish
2 cups flaked, cooked salmon
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions for the salmon:
1. Preheat the oven to 450F degrees
2. Cut a piece of tinfoil about 12 inches and spray oil over the tinfoil
3. Place 3 slices of lemon per salmon fillet on the tinfoil; Place the salmon fillets on top of the sliced lemon; Squeeze a little lemon juice on top of each fillet; Salt and pepper each fillet; Top each fillet with 2-3 slices of lemon each
4. Bring the long sides of the foil up to the middle and fold the edges together, forming a packet; Roll up each of the sides and place the packet on a baking sheet
5. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until salmon is flaky

**This is one of my favorite ways to cook salmon, especially when I’m not in the mood for a production. For a full meal, add asparagus on the tinfoil, squeeze a little lemon juice, and then proceed with the rest of step 2. This creates an easy weekday meal that is delicious, healthy, and easy to clean up.**

Directions for the pasta:
1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions until al denté; Transfer the pasta to a colander with a slotted spoon; Reserve the pasta cooking water
2.  Reheat the pasta cooking water over medium heat and add the chopped asparagus until they turn bright green (about 1-2 minutes); Transfer the cooked asparagus to the colander with the pasta
3. While the pasta and asparagus are cooking, pour the cream into a 12-inch skillet; Bring the cream to a boil and then reduce to simmer and cook until reduced by half (cream should easily coat the back of a spoon)
4. Add the lemon zest, Parmesan cheese, fresh dill, and cooked salmon to the cream; Stir until the Parmesan is melted into the cream and the salmon is warmed through; Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
5. Add the pasta to the skillet and toss to coat
6. Add more salt and pepper if desired, top with a pinch of Parmesan cheese, and dill
7. Serve immediately

What’s your favorite kitchen hack to prolong ingredients? Please share in the comments section below!

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