Tag Archives: basil

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Corn.  Butter.  Herbs. Spices.  Could a recipe be any more simple than that?  Ok, there is a touch more to the process but not much.

Last weekend I was preparing some plump, fresh corn on the cob (just boil the water & when you smell corn it's ready) when I started craving... something spicy.  I do have a special place in my heart for chile spiked corn.  But as most of you know, I have an even bigger space in my heart for butter.  So I did what anyone would do, I combined the two.  Double the love!  Oh, and I had a tiny bit of cilantro leftover from salsa-making so I added that to the mix too.  Triple the love!

More specifically, I let 1 cube of butter come to room temperature inside my mini food processor.  I sprinkled in a scant pinch of smoked Serrano powder (this stuff is seriously hot but definitely addictive), a tiny pinch of salt (because the butter was already salted), a couple grinds from the pepper mill and about 1/4 cup of loosely packed cilantro leaves.  After a couple pulses on the food processor I had this:

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I slathered my herbed & spiced compound butter onto the hot corn and as my brother would say, "Boy howdy!".  I didn't even bother to tell everyone else what was on the corn.   I let them blindly chomp into the buttery goodness and then I basked in the chorus of "Mmmmms!"  and "Yuuuuummmms!"

I usually lean towards the Mexican side of flavors but the possibilities with compound butters are virtually endless.  Someday I might try these variations:

  • Fresh basil, a dash of balsamic vinegar, a sprinkle of grated Parmesan & garlic powder
  • Fresh parsley, saute'd onions & garlic and the zest of half a lemon
  • Fresh dill, a teensy sprinkle of Old Bay Seafood Seasoning and a little squirt of lemon juice
  • I have to stop... my mouth is watering!

And you don't have to limit your use of compound butter to corn.  Compound butters are great on steaks, french bread, sandwiches, chicken, popcorn... anywhere you would normally spread a little buttery-love.  If you have extra you can roll it up in waxed paper and save it for a later day.  It can store in the fridge for about 1 week or the freezer for a couple months.  About 5 minutes of effort for a BIG flavor payoff.  Make some today, you wont regret it!

I'm hoping to catch up on some art projects this weekend. I'm taking the Brave Girl Art School course from Melody Ross.  So far it is so much fun and I know it will just get better and better.  I  hope you are doing something fun this weekend, see you back here next week!

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Happy Friday!! I'm so happy to see the weekend, I've got a lot to accomplish including getting my cherry tomato and basil plants in the dirt.  I've already harvested the basil once, still in the flimsy pots they came in.  It's going to be a good growing year, I just know it!

I've told you about my Uncle, right?  The one that shows up with the most random food items you can think of.  Wednesday I came home from work to find a branch off of a Rainier cherry tree sitting on the kitchen counter.  My uncle had brought it down to show how well the cherries were already ripening.  Of course I couldn't resist eating most of the cherries off of that branch, I'm quite certain that's what he intended for me to do.  And it instantly reminded me of a recipe from Sprouted Kitchen that I had seen on Pinterest.

If you didn't grow up on a cherry farm like I did you might need a little info on Rainiers.  A Rainier cherry is a reddish-yellow-orange cherry and is a cross between a Bing and a Van (not a Queen Ann as some might think).  The more sunshine the cherry sees, the more blushed it will become.  They are a hardy cherry, plump and sweet.

This Rainier Cherry Muddler Recipe from Sprouted Kitchen very smartly pairs the cherry with lemon basil, which keeps the flavors light and refreshing.  It will be a perfect drink after a hot day of gardening.  And I know just where to find some more cherries!  If you can't find Rainiers, I would try a Queen Ann cherry (yellow) or whatever fresh cherries you have available in your local markets.

I promised you a two-fer so here it goes:  we had another impromptu gathering this week and everyone was starving hungry so I perused the refrigerator to see what kind of Last Minute Pasta I could throw together this time.  Unfortunately, there was a shortage of cheese, only a hunk of Parmesan.   But I spied some bacon and that got my wheels spinning... I had just bought some basil plants so I ran outside and plucked a bunch of basil leaves... we had white wine... yep, I could make this work!

I'm not going to get too detailed but in case you find yourself needing to feed a small group you might take some inspiration from this week's Last Minute Pasta.

  • 1 box of Barilla Cellentani
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • about 1/2 cup of fresh grated Parmesan (plus a little more at the end)
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed basil leaves, torn at the last minute
  • olive oil
  • butter, 3 pats
  • splash of white wine

I set the pasta to boil then got cracking on the rest of the ingredients.  I cooked my bacon, drained off the excess grease on a paper towel then chopped it into little bits and I grated my Parmesan.  Back to the pan that bacon was cooked in, I drained off most of the grease and added a splash of white wine (maybe 3-4 tablespoons) and cooked that down a little over medium heat so the bacon bits would pick up from the bottom.  After the pasta was done I drained it and reserved about  1 cup of the cooking water.  I put the drained pasta back in the pot and dumped in all the other ingredients, tearing the basil and dumping that in as well.  At this point I checked for texture and sauce.  It needed to be loosened up a bit so I added most of the pasta water and a drizzle of olive oil and gave it all a big stir.  It still was missing a little... something.... so in went about 3 pats of butter, stirred some more.  I added just a little more Parmesan and black pepper and it was done!

I realize it was all a little unconventional, but hey, we make do!  I fed 7 people in less than 1/2 hour.  Not a bit was left.

I hope your weekend is a blast!!

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Source: realsimple.com via Carey on Pinterest

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This is it! This is the dinner we had at our Pinterest Party! Incredibly easy and so, so flavorful.  Here's the gist:

You rub down boneless, skinless chicken breasts with a yummy blend of spices (paprika, cumin, etc.) then cook it either on the stove or on the bbq (which is what we did).  Meanwhile "cook" your couscous (just pour boiling water over it, let it sit a few minutes then fluff with a fork) and add fresh veggies such as snap peas, cherry tomatoes, lemon zest and basil.  Slice the chicken and serve over the couscous.

Seriously, I don't know how to communicate how good it is and quite healthy.  Get the full recipe here and make it this weekend!

 

Today I had my first harvest of mini eggplants!  Can you call 4 tiny eggplants a harvest?  Oh well, I'm going with it.  Those two purple eggplants are the infamous Bert & Ernie.  Kermit is still safe on the plant, growing a little more.  The other two are mini green eggplants whose variety ironically is named... Kermit.

One of the challenges in the garden this year was that I have never grown eggplant, full size or mini, before so I wasn't sure when to pick it.  I looked up a few articles on the internet and they all said to be sure to pick them before too many seeds form inside.  Inside?  How am I supposed to know how many seeds are inside until I pick it and cut it open?!

So I guessed and know I know that the purples ones were just the right size.  The little green ones were slightly overgrown, too many seeds.  Next time I will know better.

Bert and Ernie did not go down easily.  It turns out some of the purple eggplants have thorns on them.  After suffering a couple of puncture wounds I wrangled them into the kitchen and sliced them up along with the mini green ones and tossed them in olive oil, salt & pepper.

I let them get some good grill marks and grilled off some pencil asparagus I had picked up at Whole Foods.  I added that to some rigatoni, basil & garlic chicken sausage, freshly picked basil, fresh grated Parmesan and homemade pesto I had saved in the freezer.

It was a very satisfying and tasty Sunday dinner!

I think next week will finally yield my first red Roma tomato!!

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Here it is, my first basil crop of the summer!  I rinsed it all off (I still have a few snails...grrr...) and made....

.... pesto!  It made about 6 servings of pesto, which I put into plastic bags...

.... and popped it in the freezer for quick weeknight pasta.  Or pizza.  Or snacks.  Or company.  Or gifts.  You get the point.

I kept one serving out and made penne with roasted asparagus and it was DIVINE!

The moral of the story is:  grow some basil, it's easy and loves the hot summer sun.  Then harvest it often and make pesto so your winter meals will be full of summer sunshine.  The end.

Images contained in this article  may be unsuitable from some viewers.  Viewer discretion is advised.

First it was the untimely weather.  Next came the devilish earwigs.  Then it was the sneaky slugs.  This week I went out to the garden and found this:

SNAILS!  Look at those slimy destroyers! They wrapped all the way around the pot and were hiding on 2 other pots.  After I woke up from the shock, I did what any self-respecting, backyard gardener would do...  I grabbed the salt.  And I sprinkled it by the handful all around my pots.  And I showered it over the snails that were sticking to the pots.  And I had flashbacks of Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart in African Queen when they killed the leeches...

...anyway... with all that salted mess I made this (this is the point where you squeamish folks should look away.  If you revel in the death of garden pests who are attempting to eat your hard-earned crops, you will find this as satisfying as I did):

That's right, I made Snail Lattes.  Those slimy fiends didn't know what hit them as they foamed and frothed from the salt.  They fell to the ground and my little green tomatoes cheered.  I'm not crazy, really.  I just hate to see the snails prevail.  Hey, they didn't plant those eggplants!  They didn't go out every evening and water the basil!  They didn't fertilize and prune!  They don't get to eat what they didn't work for!  I have to admit, it is satisfying to walk out to the garden and now see the graveyard of snail shells.

As for the rest of the garden...

It's hard to believe that just barely 2 weeks ago this plant was down to about 3 leaves and I was worried I would have to toss it and buy all new plants.  As soon as the sun came out it exploded.  I could almost see it growing, it filled out so fast.  Making pesto this week.

I was so enthralled with the blooms on this plant I didn't realize there was a bell pepper already growing on it!  It's coming right along, hopefully the gophers won't steal it before I get to pick it.

I am so excited about my cherry tomatoes, they are going to be ripe soon.  They are the reason I planted my garden this year.  My tummy is growling just talking about it.

I also planted Roma tomatoes this year and I find their shape interesting.  I think there are about 4 tomatoes on the plant right now but plenty of blooms so I expect there to be several Romas soon.

Remember the barrel of lettuce I picked last weekend?  It's already growing back!  Talk about a thrifty crop; I only planted about 1/4 (if that) of the seed packet and I have more loose leaf lettuce than I know what to do with.

I don't see any little eggplants yet but the plant continues to bloom.  There will be a bumper crop shortly.

This green onion plant has become a forest.  Every time I brush past it to water the other plants I smell like green onions.

This plant was a surprise when I got home from the nursery. I don't know how it ended up in my cart and I'm not completely sure what it is.  It is some sort of mild pepper, it will be interesting to find out what it tastes like.  Maybe I can throw it in a salad or quesadilla.

Speaking of surprises... I was tending the pole beans and found these peaking out from the dirt:  toadstools!  Where on earth did they come from??  What do they want??  Are they trying to ruin my beans??  I pulled them up and left them out to die in the hot sun.  Hopefully they don't come back.

Things are really picking up in my little garden.  It makes me hungry to think of all the yummy, healthy  foods I'll be eating soon!

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The sun finally came out here in the Sunshine State... hooooray!  And the garden just soaked it up. Do you remember this picture?


Look at it now just  barely 2 weeks later:

Just 2 weeks later and it has grown enough for this huge bowl of greens plus some:

That whole bowl of mesclun only cost me approximately $.20!  A sprinkle of seeds, a little bit of water (mostly rain), a little bit of fertilizer & soil, and I have enough lettuce to last the whole the week!  The books all say it will come back after I cut it down, we'll see....

My eggplants, despite the earlier battle with earwigs, are thriving as well:

Those beautiful purple blooms are going to beautiful purple eggplants before you know it!

The green onions rooted well and are ready to be plucked out of the pot whenever I need one.

It's alive, it's alive!!  My basil is making a great comeback after all the unseasonal rain and pests.  I'm so relieved and I am so looking forward to the first caprese salad of the season.

And speaking of caprese, my first tomatoes are just about 2 weeks from being picked!  Look at those little green nuggets, I can hardly wait!

All in all, it's a been a fruitful 2 weeks of sunshine and growing in the garden.  Fingers crossed... maybe I'll get to pick a cherry tomato or two next week...

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There is evil lurking in my garden.
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It comes like a thief in the night in the form of slimy slugs:

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And they slink their way onto my precious plants and turn my eggplant leaves into lace:

These dark evildoers are hiding under every pot:

They try to scare me with their pinching butts but I have news for them... I have earwig bait.  I really hope the neighbors weren't outside while I was in the backyard sprinkling the earwig bait yelling, "Die suckers, die!!!"  Oh well.

This morning I walked out to the garden and found this catastrophe:

I have a list of suspects but this guy is on my most wanted list:

He cannot resist the garden. He thinks I planted it for him. He is driving me crazy.

Despite my battle with dark forces, there are some good things going on in the garden.

My cilantro is going crazy!  Which is very exciting for me because last time I tried to grow cilantro the bunnies refused to let it grow bigger than nubs.  I have already used my cilantro on quesadillas, salads and avocado salad.  Love it!

Know what this is?  It's a bell pepper!  It's growing so fast and already has blooms on it.  I can't wait to see tiny peppers growing.

My tomatoes are growing well too.  I planted 3 different varieties and the earliest one is blooming already.  That yellow bloom is going to be a tomato very, very soon.

Despite the unseasonable rains and cold, I still have tiny strawberries growing.  Someday the sun will come out and I will have some full size berries to eat.

I threw some lettuce seeds out a couple of weeks ago, not certain if they would come up.  Oh me of little faith!  Within 3 days they sprouted and very soon I will be able to go out back and pick my own salad leaves.  I'm pretty excited about it!

It has been nothing but rain, rain, rain this past week so my basil is just depressing.  I'll be lucky to save any of the plants I already planted.  Oh well, I'll just buy more and do my best to revive the rest.  Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun, please shine down on me!!

 

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