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Thyme Blossoms

Cathy Christensen October 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine
fresh thyme

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It's the small things in life that prove to be the most important. I remember several years ago when I had a very, very bad morning and stopped at a fast-food restaurant for a cup of coffee, thinking it would help my mood. When the drive-thru worker handed me the cup with a smile, and said “Have a nice day,” I literally felt I had at least one friend in this cruel world. Little did that worker realize how much her clichéd saying would improve my day.

In a way, thyme does the same thing for dishes and treatments—it’s a pick-me-up that adds a touch of flavor, aroma and depth, improving anything it touches.

In the kitchen

With at least 60 different varieties, thyme is a member of the mint family and is a perennial evergreen shrub with stems covered in small grey-green leaves.1,2 It is an excellent source of iron and manganese and a good source of calcium, as well as a good source of dietary fiber.

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Quick Facts: Thyme

  • Thyme is included in a French combination of herbs called bouquet garni that is used to season stock, stews and soups.1
  • In medieval times, it was a ritual for women to give their knights a scarf with a sprig of thyme placed over an embroidered bee for bravery.1
  • Pour a cup of thyme tea in a plant mister and spray around doorways and windows in the summer to repel insects.2
  • Thyme leaves are sweetest if picked just as the flowers appear.2
  • One fresh sprig of thyme equals the flavoring power of one-half teaspoon of dried thyme.2
  • According to legend, thyme was an essential ingredient in a magic brew that allowed the drinker to see fairies.2
  • It was also considered an aphrodisiac.2

Recipe: Fresh Tuna Salad Nicoise

from Executive Chef Terry Conlon, Lake Austin Spa Resort, Austin, Texas

Makes 4 servings, 312 calories, 8 grams of fat

This is a take on a classic French entrée salad, perfect if served with some good bread and iced herbal tea. A high-quality canned white albacore tuna, packed in spring water and well-drained, may be substituted for the fresh tuna steak.

1 1⁄2 cups water

3⁄4 cup white wine

1⁄2 sliced lemon

1⁄4 cup sliced onion

1⁄2 rib of celery, sliced

1⁄4 cup sliced carrot

1 bay leaf

2 black peppercorns

12 ounces albacore tuna steak

4 steamed new potatoes, cut into quarters or halves

1⁄2 cup (3⁄4 inch) peeled carrot strips, steamed until tender

1 cup (1 1⁄2 inch) green beans, steamed until tender

1 small red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded, diced

8 pitted black olives, cut into halves

1⁄2 cup diced red onion

2 green onions, minced

Dressing:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1⁄2 teaspoon anchovy paste

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 1⁄2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, or 1⁄4 teaspoon dried thyme

1⁄8 teaspoon salt

1⁄8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Combine the water, wine, lemon, onion, celery, sliced carrot, bay leaf and peppercorns in a stainless steel or other nonreactive saucepan over medium heat.

2. Bring to a simmer and add tuna; gently poach for 10 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and allow tuna to cool to room temperature in poaching liquid.

4. Remove the tuna and place in a large bowl; flake.

5. Add the potatoes, carrot strips, green beans, bell pepper, olives, red onion and green onions; mix well.

6. Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, anchovy paste, garlic, Dijon mustard, thyme, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Pour over the tuna and vegetables; mix well.

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