How to Use Fines Herbes in Healthy Cooking

How to Use Fines Herbes in Healthy Cooking: Using Parsley, Chervil, Tarragon and Chives in Lighter Dishes

Fines Herbes can be found dried, but many dishes can benefit by adding them fresh. The classic combination of Fine Herbes is parsley, chervil, tarragon and chives. Diets that require lower sodium intakes or no fat can benefit from adding any or all of these fresh herbs to many dishes.

These herbs can be easily used together in sauces and soups: take several sprigs of each and tie together and add to the finishing. They then can be easily removed at the end by plucking out the bundle. Fresh Fines Herbes are generally not long cooking herbs though, and are best used fresh. Create your own fines herbes by adding the following herbs in the proportions of your choosing: tarragon, parsley, chives and chervil.

Tarragon

Tarragon gives an anise or licorice flavor to a dish. It is made famous by béarnaise sauce, and is used in many seafood and poultry dishes. The leaves are tender and long, and can be picked off and added to salads and sprinkled on rice and vegetable dishes right before serving. Tarragon is often used to flavor vinegars, and is great for infusing fruit syrups and purees for fruit sorbets (orange and tarragon is a great combination). Tarragon stands up well to fish, meats and squashes.

Parsley: Curly and Italian

There are two basic kinds of parsley that can be found in the produce section: curly leaf and Italian flat leaf. Curly leaf parsley is the most popular variety, but if Italian flat leaf parsley is available choose that kind for better and more pronounced flavor. This herb is great added to soups, stews, sautéed vegetables and sauces. After picking all the leaves off, the stems can be tossed into stocks for cooking on the stove and with roasted vegetables that will be going into sauces. Although it is considered a base or basic herb, it is a very important element of cooking.

Chives: Herb and Flowers

Chives are the long, hollow and slender herbs that are commonly snipped. They give a faint onion flavor to dishes, and are often added to eggs, vegetables, and mixed in dressings. Chive flowers are often used in salads and for garnishing open-faced sandwiches. This herb is best used fresh but can also be found freeze-dried. Chives are easy to prepare: just chop up what you need for the dish.

Chervil

This is an often overlooked herb. The flavor resembles tarragon in that it gives a light anise-like flavor to dishes. This herb is tender and fragile and is almost always used fresh. The leaves are similar in look to parsley, but much more delicate. Chervil is great added to soups and fresh vegetable dishes, and the leaves provide a nice touch to fresh mesclun salads. Chervil can also elevate a simple egg white omelet. Chopped fresh chervil is a great addition to steamed vegetables, too.

Storage of Fresh Fines Herbs

Pick these herbs right before using, or if purchasing from the market, select fresh bunches that are free of excessive moisture on the leaves. If purchasing in packages, inspect carefully. Avoid those sealed packages that have black spots on the leaves or have decaying stems. All of these herbs should be placed in fresh water for holding and can be kept in the refrigerator, changing the water when needed. Lightly cover with a plastic bag and keep away from the coldest part of the refrigerator to prevent frost. Alternately, rinse and dry the herb stems and leaves and lightly roll up in a paper towel placed in a plastic zipper bag.

How to Stay Healthy During the Dance Season

How to Stay Healthy During the Dance Season: Tips for Dancers to Maintain Good Health Throughout the Year

Dancers should make an effort to maintain good health throughout the dance season, in order to keep their bodies in the best shape possible. It is very easy for a dancer to get worn out by the end of the year, and possibly get an injury that will prevent them from performing. The following tips will help to ensure that dancers get the most out of their season.

As Soon As Something Hurts…

The minute that a dancer feels pain, especially in joints, he or she should no ignore it. Dancers should try to figure out what is causing the pain, whether it is in the ankles after landing jumps, or in the back after stretching. If the pain is severe, or has never been felt before, dancers should consult their doctors as soon as possible.

Making a cool-down part of the dancer’s day is also important. After a class or performance, dancers should stretch and cool down while their muscles are still warm from dancing. This will put balance back into the body, and prevent muscle injury from overuse.

Add an Aerobic Exercise to Daily Routine

While dancing may be seen as an aerobic activity, it does not usually raise the heart rate as much as an aerobic activity would. Much of dance class or performance involves starts and stops, and repetition of movements. Dancers should try to work in another aerobic activity into their routine, in order to build stamina for the dance season.

Good choices for dancers are swimming, cross-training, or kayaking. Dancers should try to stay away from jogging or running, at least as a daily activity, because this puts stress on knees and hips which is similar to the stress put on them during the dance class. This may add to knee or hip injury in the future if used daily.

Have an Outlet for Stress

The dance season can build up stress in a dancer’s body. It is important for dancers to have an outlet to relieve their stress. It can be through yoga or stretching, but it is also a good idea to have another hobby outside of the dance studio. Playing an instrument can be a good stress-reliever, or painting, knitting, or other creative hobbies. Scheduling time to indulge in creative outlets other than dance can relieve stress for dancers and prevent injuries caused by tension in the muscles.

Another good outlet is to talk about problems with other people. Many dancers are perfectionists, and classes or performances can be a source of frustration. Having someone they trust to talk to, whether it is a fellow dancer, family member, or trusted friend, can be a good way to relieve the stress of the season. Sometimes just knowing that the person is available to talk to is a stress reliever.

Every day, a dancer must stretch their body in new ways. It is important for dancers to remember to cool down, beware of pain, vary their exercise routines, and have outlets to relieve stress. All of these things will help dancers to avoid injury and stay healthy through the long season.