Special equipment: Four 12″ skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes if wooden.
Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over hot charcoal (medium-high heat or gas).
Whisk together garlic, herbs, vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl, then set aside 2/3 of vinaigrette for brushing. (set aside some of the chopped parsley and basil).
Halve onion lengthwise and cut halves lengthwise into 1/2″-wide wedges. Thread 1/2″ apart onto skewers (to hold layers together). Brush onion and eggplant with some reserved vinaigrette.
Oil grill rack, then grill pepper with onion and eggplant, covered only if using a gas grill, turning occasionally with tongs, until onion and eggplant are very tender, 6-10 minutes; transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet. Continue to grill pepper, turning it until skin is blackened, 1-2 minutes longer. Put pepper in a deep bowl and cover with a plate, then let stand while grilling remaining vegetables.
Quarter zucchini lengthwise; brush them and tomatoes with reserved vinaigrette. Grill, covered only if using a gas grill, turning tomatoes less frequently than zucchini, until tomatoes are just blistered, about 3 minutes; transfer to baking sheet. Continue to grill zucchini, turning, until just tender, 1-3 minutes longer.
Peel pepper and thinly slice flesh. Cut tomatoes into wedges and chop remaining vegetables. Add to bowl of vinaigrette along with remaining herbs and salt to taste, tossing to coat.
Cooks’ notes: If you aren’t able to grill outdoors, vegetables can be cooked on an oiled 2-burner grill pan over medium-high heat. Vegetables can be made 1 day ahead and chilled. Rewarm before serving.
Basil is usually the first seed to sprout and it grows rapidly. Harvest basil
(and any other fast-growing herbs) to keep them an inch or two below
the lights, and avoid raising the Light Hood until all other plants are well
1 cup matchstick-size strips seeded peeled cucumber
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped roasted salted peanuts
2 tablespoons finely shredded carrot
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup Thai fish sauce (nam pla)*
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon minced serrano chili
1 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce*
1 pound sea scallops
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon finely chopped lemongrass*
1 large garlic clove, chopped
Pull noodles apart; place in large bowl. Pour enough boiling water over to cover generously. Soak noodles until tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Drain; return to same bowl. Cut noodles in half (or in thirds if very long).
Add snow peas, bean sprouts, cucumber, herbs, peanuts, and carrot to noodles and toss to blend. Combine 1/3 cup water and all remaining ingredients in small bowl; whisk to blend. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Stir dressing into noodle mixture. Let stand 15 minutes, tossing occasionally.
Sprinkle scallops with sugar, salt, and pepper. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots, lemongrass, and garlic; stir 1 minute. Add scallops; sauté until just opaque in center, about 3 minutes.
Divide salad among 4 plates; top with scallops and serve.
Available at Asian markets and in the produce section and/or Asian foods section of some supermarkets.
Want super-crisp chicken without having to add much fat? Start with a room-temperature pan: As the skillet becomes hot, the chicken skin will gradually render its fat, becoming browned and crackling.
Makes 4 servings
4 large or 8 small skin-on, boneless chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
3 sprigs oregano
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1/2 garlic clove, minced
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc)
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
Preheat oven to 425°F. Very thinly slice half of lemon; discard any seeds. Cut remaining lemon half into 2 wedges. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
Coat a large room-temperature skillet with 1 teaspoon oil. Add chicken, skin side down. Place skillet over medium heat and cook, letting skin render and brown, and pouring off excess fat to maintain a thin coating in pan, until chicken is cooked halfway through, about 10 minutes.
Scatter half of lemon slices over chicken and half on bottom of skillet (the slices on top of the chicken will soften; those in the skillet will caramelize). Transfer skillet to oven, leaving chicken skin side down. Roast until chicken is cooked through, skin is crisp, and lemon slices on bottom of skillet are caramelized, 6-8 minutes.
Transfer chicken pieces, skin side up, and caramelized lemon slices from bottom of skillet to a warm platter. (Leave softened lemon slices in the skillet.) Return skillet to medium heat. Add oregano sprigs, shallot, garlic, and red pepper flakes; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Remove skillet from heat. Add wine; cook over medium heat until reduced by half, 1-2 minutes. Add broth; cook until thickened, about 3 minutes. Squeeze 1 lemon wedge over and season sauce with salt, pepper, and juice from remaining lemon wedge, if desired. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons oil. Return chicken to skillet, skin side up, to rewarm. Serve topped with caramelized lemon slices.
Question: What’s the best way to prune and harvest an herb garden?
Luke C., Niwot, CO
Answer: Great question. With proper pruning/harvesting you can increase the yield, health and appearance of your herb garden. They say a picture is worth a 1000 words, so I created a video to help you out. You can watch it here.
If you’re not a video person, the tips are summarized here:
Prune early and often, especially fast growing Basil.
Keep your lights as low as possible as long as possible. This means prune your fast growing tall plants to keep your lights within 4 inches of your smallest plant.
Prune horizontal growth so that it does not block light to neighboring plants. See the diagram below.
Always prune at a leaf joint, a leaf joint is the point of connection of a leaf with the stem from which a bud arises. See the diagram below.
Never prune more than a 1/3 of the plant at one time.
Pruning the newest growth of Basil plants will create more leaf growth and less stem growth.
To keep your Thyme and Mint plants bushy, remove the pieces that have long stems and few leaves.
Rotate the pods and put the fullest side of the plants out and the thinner side in towards the center of the garden.
Basil, Mint and Dill are fast growing plants and require more pruning than Thyme, Oregano, Parsley and Dill which are slower growing.
Cate manages AeroGrow’s 5,000 square foot Plant Research and Development Laboratory in Boulder, CO. Stop in to see us when you’re in Boulder! The Grow Lab is where AeroGrow does our formal plant testing and product development. Cate also grows all the plants for television commercials and time lapse photography.
Cate has grown tens of thousands of plants in AeroGardens and the Ask the Expert blog is her way of sharing that knowledge with other AeroGardeners.