Sunday, September 7, 2008

Summer basil...

I love basil. There isn't an herb that brings me back to my childhood like basil. Running my fingers through the leaves in my dad's garden, eating it straight from the garden, smelling it on my clothes as brush by the plant. Now I have 5 basil plants and I'm busy finding creative ways to eat and cook with it.

Besides the traditional recipes (like adding it to everything), one of my favorite things to make is pesto. My mom has satisfied my pesto addiction in the past by gifting me little baggies with pesto paste; enough to last an entire year. But now, I have my own garden full of the tiny green leaves. Here's a good recipe for pesto that I use. It's the one that my mom uses. The nice thing with this is that you it stores well. Just put them in little baggies and freeze them, or put in a jar and cover with olive oil to keep the paste wet.

4 Tbs. pine nuts (+/-)
2 garlic cloves (I love garlic, so I add alot more)
2 or 3 cups of firmly packed basil leaves
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil. Add more, as needed.
1 cup of fresh, grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
some salt

Combine pine nuts and garlic in food processor. Chop coarsely. Add half of the basil. Chop coarsely. Add the rest of the basil, olive oil and process until thick, green paste forms. If the sauce is too thin, add more basil; too thick, add more olive oil. Add the cheese and process again for a few seconds.

I'm already set for most of the fall and if anyone wants some, just give me a call! Another delicious recipe is for Basil-Lemonade!! Really, it's that delicious. It also tastes really good over ice and rum (or other favorite drink). I've made this with fresh lemons off my neighbors trees, but you can just go out and buy the'll need about 12 of them, if you double the recipe.

Basil Lemonade

2 cups basil lemon syrup (recipe below)
2 cups cold water
2 cups ice cubes
1 ¼ cups fresh lemon juice

Stir together all ingredients in a large pitcher or bowl. Pour into tall glasses half-filled with ice. For an alcoholic version (which I recommend), add 3/4-cup vodka to the mix before serving.

Makes about 6 drinks.

Basil Lemon Syrup

2 cups water
1 cup granulated sugar
4 (4- by 1-inch) strips lemon zest (I left these out)
2 cups packed fresh basil sprigs

In a medium saucepan, combine the water, sugar, and zest. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat, add the basil, stir to combine, and let stand at room temperature, covered, for 1 hour. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and chill until cold, about 1 hour. Strain the syrup through a sieve into an airtight container, pressing hard on and then discarding the solids.

1 comment:

tequila said...

When are you gonna post a blog entry about your spicy Southwestern love life?