125. Barrington EATS: Extraordinary Dishes with Garden Fresh Herbs Cooking Demonstration

3 mins read
Chef Kelly Donlea at the Barrington Country Garden & Antique Faire - Courtesy of Kelly Donlea

Coming up this Friday and Saturday is one of my favorite events in Barrington. Over the years I have enjoyed attending, volunteering, and most of all performing cooking demonstrations at the Barrington Country Garden & Antique Faire.  I hope you will join me at this year’s Faire, at 2 p.m. this Friday and Saturday, as I demonstrate how to combine garden fresh herbs with exciting balsamic vinegars and other ingredients to make unique, healthy pestos and compotes that can make ordinary meals extraordinary.

Chef Kelly Donlea at the Barrington Country Garden & Antique Faire - Courtesy of Kelly Donlea
Chef Kelly Donlea at the Barrington Country Garden & Antique Faire – Courtesy of Kelly Donlea

The Faire supports Hands of Hope, an organization whose efforts target the enormous impact of poverty and disease on women and children in Africa. Their efforts have a direct effect on many lives in need, and some beautiful stories of who they help can be seen on their website at HandsOfHopeOnline.org.

Hands of Hope Helping Families in Africa

Two years ago at the Faire, situated in a picturesque shaded meadow with the background of a melodious string quartet, I demonstrated from my 30 Spectacular Salads cookbook how simple it can be to get great flavor from unique produce combinations.

Kelly Donlea's "30 Spectacular Salads" Cookbook
Kelly Donlea’s “30 Spectacular Salads” Cookbook

I spent the latter part of the day in the Potager garden discussing the fresh herbs grown there and their uses and benefits with both the house gardener and visitors to the Faire.

Chef Kelly Donlea Demo at the Barrington Country Garden & Antique Faire
Chef Kelly Donlea Demo at the Barrington Country Garden & Antique Faire

From that I got my inspiration for this year’s demonstration, called “Extraordinary Dishes with Garden Fresh Herbs”, about how to use those fresh garden herbs to eat healthy and delicious in your own home. My demonstration will be at 2 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday. The Faire opens at 10 a.m.

Post 300 - Olive Tap BottlesI teamed up with the Olive Tap, one of my favorite suppliers of gourmet oils and vinegars, to combine their products with fresh herbs and other produce to make delicious unique pestos and herb compotes.

Fresh herbs have intense nutrition components, and also of course add great flavor to many foods.

Using the herbs in a compote or a pesto gives you more per serving.

For example, a serving of fresh basil with a salad may total one or two leaves. A serving of pesto will give you about three times that, or, the following vitamins and minerals (just from the basil)

Vitamin C – 15%
Iron – 9%
Vitamin K – 200%
Calcium – 9%

… all from about 10 calories.

I will be combining fresh basil with fresh strawberries, Strawberry Balsamic vinegar and Basil Olive Oil for a delicious Strawberry herb compote. Other compotes include rosemary, lemon and garlic or grapefrult and mint.

Chef Kelly Donlea's Grapefrult & Mint Compote
Chef Kelly Donlea’s Grapefrult and Mint Compote

I will make pestos from Cilantro and Basil and the Dill Pesto recipe shared below.  We will have samples of all the pestos and compotes for you to try and samples of all the oils and vinegars used in the recipes.

It is a beautiful event for an even better cause. CLICK HERE for all of the details and I hope to see you there!  In the meantime, here’s a quick recipe for my Lemon Dill Pesto to tempt your taste buds for my garden fresh herbs demonstrations this week…

Lemon Dill Pesto


1 cup loosely packed fresh dill

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/4 cup Lemon infused Olive Oil  OR  1/4 cup olive oil and 2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor, and chill, Serve on pasta, meats or crusty bread.



About the Author

Kelly Donlea is a Barrington mom, chef, cookbook author the owner of Organizing Dinner, a company that brings sensible cooking solutions to busy people. She has published several cookbooks and one of her specialties is helping parents plan family meals with fewer trips to the grocery store. Kelly also offers cooking classes and demonstrations in your home or public facility. To learn more about Kelly, her recipes and her services, you’ll find her Facebook page by clicking HERE and her website at OrganizingDinner.com. Kelly is going to be sharing recipes, cooking tips and special features about chefs and popular menu items at area restaurants right here at 365Barrington.com.

Please join us as we discover local culinary treasures and new kitchen classics in our regular Friday food feature here at 365Barrington.com called “Barrington Eats” with Kelly Donlea!

If you’d like to us to feature you favorite chef, restaurant or food store or if you have a food related question that you’d like Kelly to answer, make a quick stop at the 365 Barrington Suggestion Box and leave us a note in the form which you’ll find by clicking HERE or simply leave your comment in the box below.

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