The fresh and dried leaves are used frequently in traditional Mediterranean cuisine as an herb; they have a bitter, astringent taste, which complements a wide variety of foods. A tisane can also be made from them. They are extensively used in cooking, and when burned give off a distinct mustard smell, as well as a smell similar to that of burning which can be used to flavour foods while barbecuing.
Sprigs of rosemary
When a sprig of rosemary is referred to in a recipe, cut a single stem around 13-15 cm (5-6") long.
The leaves are easily stripped by pulling the stem tip first through a pinched forefinger and thumb. If the sprigs are to be used in a stew or casserole it's probably easier to add the sprig whole then remove and discard once the cooking has finished.
- Cream cheese
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