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Posted By Susan Bernhardt

May is national salsa month. Today's featured herb, cilantro, is an essential ingredient in Deirdre's Salsa recipe. Just in time for Cinco de Mayo, the salsa is made with all organic ingredients.

Kay grows all of the main ingredients for this salsa in her organic vegetable garden which she will plant this month after the threat of frost ends. Cilantro is easy to grow. It comes from the leaves of the coriander plant. Kay always lets some of the cilantro plants flower, go to seed to either plant the next crop or to use in Indian cooking, another favorite cuisine of hers.

Kay loves having dinner parties. She's invited Deirdre and Mike, Elizabeth and John to join her and Phil for a Cinco de Mayo celebration. Cinco de Mayo is one of those special holidays when each of us feels a little bit Mexican in their soul. Phil picks out some Latin jazz for the occasion. On the menu for this evening: Drinks: classic margaritas all around.  Appetizers: guacamole and fresh salsa with tortilla chips.  Main courses: chili rellenos (Kay's favorite), chicken mole enchiladas with a little chopped cilantro on top, beer battered fish tacos.  Dessert:  choco flan.

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

Deirdre's Fresh Salsa

Tomatoes – 10 medium diced

Onion – 1 medium chopped

Serrano Peppers – 3 minced

Cilantro leaves - 3/4 cup chopped

Lime – ¼ cup fresh lime juice

Salt – Few shakes. Keep to a minimum.

Combine ingredients in a bowl. Mix. Serve.


Tomatoes - The lycopene in tomatoes is an antioxidant that helps to fight cancerous cell formation in the body especially prostate cancer, as well as heart disease and high cholesterol. Tomatoes get their lovely red color from this nutrient.

Onion – Cardiovascular benefits of sulfides, found in onions, include lowering cholesterol and triglycerides levels, lowering blood pressure, and an anti-clotting capacity. Onions increase bone density especially to women who have passed the age of menopause. They encourage the growth of good bacteria (probiotics) in the digestive system and promote a healthy immune system.

Serrano Peppers - Capsaicin is the magic chemical in hot peppers. It triggers the brain to release endorphins, natural pain killers that give a sense of well being. High in Vitamin C, they have a vasodilating effect.

Fresh Cilantro – Cilantro has anti-inflamatory, cardiovascular, and antioxidant benefits. It is high in dietary fiber and helps to lower cholesteral. It aids in digestion, lowers blood sugar. It is a powerful cleansing agent for your body. The chemical compounds bind to heavy metals, loosens them from the tissues, blood and organs, and eliminates them from the body. WARNING – Contraindicated in pregnancy. Cilantro could increase chance of miscarriage or reduce chances of conception in women trying to become pregnant.

Thanks for dropping by. See you in two weeks...when Deirdre helps Kay plant her garden.

Posted By Susan Bernhardt

April has been an exciting month.  I finished writing my novel The Ginseng Conspiracy.  I'll be starting to query agents the beginning of May to find representation for the book.


Welcome to Deirdre's Kitchen Herbology: a Good Food, Good Health biweekly blog.  When Deirdre, Kay's new age, herbalist best friend isn't assisting Kay in unraveling mysteries, she works in her organic herbal, apothecary, and vegetable gardens.  Kay will be helping Deirdre open up her holistic herbal shop on the Spring Equinox.  (Book 3)

In each of her blogs, Deirdre will feature an herb in a culinary dish and discuss its health benefits.  Occasionally in the blog, Kay may take over and mix it up a bit:  have Phil, Kay's husband talk about music from his point of view, invite a guest blogger, perhaps Marissa from the patisserie will share a new recipe or Kay may want to discuss something or someone she has come up against in her new mystery.

Today Deirdre talks about the herb dill.  The fragrance of fresh dill is addicting.  Deirdre uses it as the key ingredient to enhance a mesclun salad.

Kay looked out her kitchen window and saw Deirdre kneeling in her garden digging with a trowel.  Thinking it was too early to plant, she went over to investigate.  Deirdre explained to Kay that salad greens should be planted as early as possible as they like cool weather.  She would replant in two to three weeks so that when the first batch of salad greens grew too big, the following ones would be ready to eat.  Deirdre planned to harvest them when they were still small and tender.  Among the greens Deirdre planted this week were arugula, red and green oak leaf, spinach, and mesclun.  Mesclun was a collection of baby greens Deirdre used to make a great salad mix: romaine, frisee, loose leaf lettuce, tatsoi and dandelion greens.

When making the salad Deirdre planned to add one third cup of fresh dill finely chopped and made a light wine vinegar and olive oil dressing. 

Dill aids in digestion.  It is high in calcium and fiber.  It has antibacterial, antifungal activity as well as anti-inflammatory effects.  It is an herbal remedy for insomnia and is commonly added to cough, cold, and flu remedies.

Besides tasting great, these salad greens have numerous health benefits.  All are rich in several vitamins and minerals.  Phytochemicals such as carotenes and chlorophyll make them an excellent source of antioxidants which helps to detoxify the body.  They are high in fiber.  Arugula is a crucifeous vegetable with anticancer compounds known as glucosinolates.  Red leafs and spinach are both important for eye health and spinach for cardiovascular health to name a few.

Thanks for stopping by.   See you in two weeks.




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Susan Bernhardt


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