Growing your own fruit and veggies sounds so romantic and sustainable, but thus far our modest attempts to turn our backyard into a food garden have been a ways shy of successful. The lettuce turned out bitter, the tomatoes sour and uninspiring, and the modest crop of figs was largely devoured by insects. We did have a few breaks: the lemon tree (the most useful backyard fruit tree, if you ask me), the passion fruit vines (pretty, easy to grow and bearing plentiful fruit twice a year) and the herbs all contributed to our table. Every time I pluck a handful of basil for my pasta or a few sprigs of mint for my salad I feel like a presenter on one of those sexy food documentaries set in Provence or Tuscany. However, I don't even attempt to grow my favorite herb, cilantro, simply because I would never be able to grow enough for my needs (2-3 large bunches a week). Whether homegrown or store bought, fresh herbs are your best companions for summer cooking, as the following recipes deliciously demonstrate.