Archive for the ‘Bay Leaves’ Category

Nice to be back at The Garden Palette, between Jen’s move and my busy January it’s sort of comforting to get life back to normal. Hope you guys didn’t miss us too much!

Well…let’s get right down to the nitty gritty of bay leaves. Jen and I picked this herb because of the time of year we’re in and of course I don’t use these much during the summer but mostly in the winter and holiday time when I’m making slow cooked one-pot meals or cooking around Christmas. The bay leaf is of course used for its flavor in soups, stews, and what not. So here’s a few facts about them:

Wet Beautiful Bay Leaves

Usually encountered in dried form, bay leaves are 1-1/2 – 3 inches long and are elliptical or lance shaped. Leaves are greenish-tan, and look leathery and slightly waxy, with a natural wave pattern around the edges and have a central fibrous channel (stem extension) with pronounced branching channels.

In cooking, bay leaves are used to flavor soups, stews, meat, and fish dishes, also excellent when used in tomato-rich recipes. Olive oil and apple cider vinegar seasoned with bay leaves may be used to further enrich a fresh garden salad. And, bay leaves are used to add a woodsy taste during cooking, and are generally removed from the dish before serving.

So when I was preparing this post, I wanted to demonstrate four different dishes using bay leaves in various ways: roasting, stewing, etc. And, since for most of us this has been a cold winter, I thought starting out with a stew and/or curry would suffice to keep you warm and toasty! Here’s the complete menu items:

Slow Cooked Beef Stew
Vegetable Curry
Lemon Roasted Potatoes
Spinach Cheese Lasagna

First Up…

Slow Cooked Beef Stew

2 lbs. stew meat
1/4 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1-1/2 c. beef broth
vidalia onion, diced
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. paprika
4 carrots, sliced
3 potatoes, sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced


Place meat in crockpot, mix flour, salt and pepper and pour over meat. Stir and coat meat with flour. Add remaining ingredients and stir to mix well. Cook and cover. Low 9 hours or high for 5 hours. Remove bay leaf and serve hot with cornbread if you like!

Vegetable Curry

4 large garlic cloves
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 bay leaf
2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tsp. curry powder
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
1/2 c.  canned diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 c.  plain yogurt
1 (14-ounce) can vegetable or chicken broth
6 small red potatoes, quartered
2 c. cauliflower florets
1/2 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 c. canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 tsp. kosher salt
Hot cooked basmati or long-grain rice
Mango chutney (optional and you can find this in the grocery store)


Pulse garlic and ginger in a small food processor until the consistency of paste, or mince using a sharp knife. Set aside.

Sauté cumin and next 4 ingredients in hot oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add onion; cook 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in garlic mixture, curry powder, and jalapeño. Cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes and yogurt; cook, stirring constantly for 5 minutes.

Add broth and potatoes and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or just until potatoes are tender. Add the cauliflower, green beans, and chickpeas. Cook, uncovered, 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender and mixture is thickened. Remove the bay leaf, add salt to taste then serve over rice, and top with chutney, if desired.

Lemon Roasted Potatoes

I’ve never met a potato I didn’t like…

2 lbs. firm yellow-fleshed potatoes (such as Yukon Gold)
2 bay leaves, preferably fresh
3 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp. EVOO
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. dried oregano

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Scrub potatoes, but do not peel. Halve them. In a large bowl, combine potatoes, bay leaves, lemon juice, oil, and salt. Toss to evenly coat potatoes. Transfer to a roasting pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Roast until potatoes are soft and golden, turning them regularly, about 40 minutes. Remove from oven, discard bay leaves. Season generously with oregano and more salt to taste if desired.

Spinach Cheese Lasagna


1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. butter
3 c. sliced mushrooms
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. olive oil
1 c. chopped onions
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 c. tomato sauce
1 c. canned tomatoes, drain & dice, reserve liquid
Kosher Salt
1 tsp. each oregano & basil
1/2 tsp. pepper, divided
1 bay leaf
2 pkg. chopped spinach, thawed & well drained
2 c. part skim ricotta cheese
1 egg, beaten
8 oz. lasagna noodles, cooked
11 oz. shredded Monterey Jack cheese


In a 10-inch skillet heat butter. Add mushrooms and saute until lightly browned and cooked through 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside.

Then, in a 3-quart saucepan heat oil, add onions and garlic. Saute until onions are softened. Add tomato sauce, tomatoes, 3/4 teaspoon salt, oregano, basil, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and bay leaf. Simmer over low heat 25-30 minutes. Remove bay leaf. In medium bowl combine spinach, ricotta cheese, egg, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; mix well.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In bottom of 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking dish spread 1/2 of tomato mixture, arrange half of the lasagna noodles in dish. Spread half of the spinach mixture evenly over noodles and top with half the mushrooms, spread 1/2 cup tomato mixture and sprinkle with half of the Monterey Jack cheese. Arrange remaining noodles over the cheese. Spread remaining spinach mixture over noodles, top with remaining mushrooms, tomato mixture and Monterey Jack cheese. Bake until lasagna is cooked through and cheese is lightly browned, 40-50 minutes. Remove and stand 15 minutes.

So we’ve baked, roasted and broiled with bay leaves! Hope you try any of these recipes and let us know how they came out! We’d love to hear from you!

Until next month….from Jen and me,
Happy Planting and Happy Cooking!

Read Full Post »