Fresh thyme took a starring role in this meal -- and what a lovely, fragrant herb it is! I’m not bored of it yet. I made a very pleasing chicken-breast dish with “Apricot Chicken with Balsamic Vinegar,” from All Recipes, customized for four servings: sweet and tangy, with the tastes of apricots, fruit spread, and vinegar. I used vegetable-bouillon broth instead of chicken stock. Instead of “apricot preserves,” I used Sorrell Ridge 100% Apricot Fruit Spread. This dish was easy to prepare and cook (all in one pan). At the end, I sprinkled the chicken with 3 tsp. of dried parsley.

I doubled the recipe for the “Grilled Herbed Zucchini Halves,” from Cooking with The Diabetic Chef, by Chris Smith, in order to use four zucchinis. I’ve never made zucchini like this before, boiling them, then marinating, then broiling. It was a great technique, resulting in a delicious mix of sweet shallots and lemony marinade. The zucchini texture was fabulous.

I first boiled the zucchini for 4 minutes 30 seconds. I made a lot of marinade with the recipe (1 1/2 cups olive oil!), marinating the zucchinis for 4 hours. I then used the same marinade to baste the zucchinis in the broiler. What a pleasure to use all those fresh herbs: thyme, oregano, rosemary, mint. Wow! Someone should try this recipe on an actual grill, and let me know if it’s as wonderful as what I experienced in my apartment kitchen.

Finally, I couldn’t resist trying the “Thyme Lemonade,” from the June 2008 issue of Everyday Food. I’ve got all this fresh thyme to use, after all! And I do enjoy a gin cocktail. I halved the recipe’s servings, to make four drinks. It was great to smell the thyme as it boiled with the sugar, and its taste was equally beautiful.

Rather than painstakingly squeezing lemons, I used bottled Santa Cruz 100% Organic Lemon Juice. I’m never disappointed by this product, and always have it on hand (along with the lime-juice version). I did use my Tanqueray gin. I’m confident if you pour these cocktails, your party will be a fun one.

RECIPES: a very enjoyable meal, where fresh herbs abound and shine
the chicken can be done in less than 45 minutes; the zucchini need hours to marinate; the drinks need to chill after having been boiled
the chicken and zucchini are sweet and tangy (apricots, lemon, vinegars), and so is that great gin cocktail (sweet lemon, perfumed with thyme)

Next time, I will attempt to escape the grip of fresh thyme, and move on to the “Tuna Rice Pie,” from The New Family Cookbook for People With Diabetes, by the American Diabetes Association and the American Dietetic Association. I’ll also make the “Summer Rainbow Salad,” from All Recipes. See what happens with these, when you return to my site on Friday, August 22.