Basil growing....now what?

43
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Joined Feb 6, 2001
Hi Everyone: Could anyone provide me with a simple pesto sauce or some way of using basil? Thanks so much.
 
1,586
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Joined Jan 5, 2001
For pesto, I never use a recipe. Just go with the basic ingredients (basil, toasted pine nuts, EV olive oil and parmesan) and adjust to your taste.

If you have large quantities of the stuff, then omit the parmesan and freeze it in ice cube trays then in baggies.

My favorite basil recipe is for an hors d'oeuvre. Dead simple. Just take some fior de latte cheese or baby boconccinis; make sure they are bite size, otherwise cut them in halves or quarters. Wrap a basil leaf around it, then a sundried tomato (make sure they are soft enough). Put a cocktail skewer through it. Make 4-6 per guest. Drizzle them with a balsamic vinaigrette about an hour or 2 before serving. My friends love these little guys; they are very addictive...
 
43
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Joined Feb 6, 2001
Thanks Anneke and Cchiu, your information will get me going as I have never cooked or even tasted basil before. Can't wait to try your recipe, Anneke, thank you both again.
 
137
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Joined Oct 15, 2000
Man, I would sure like to be there when you get your first taste of pesto, Islander. I would love to see your face at that exact moment. Pesto is the best stuff in the world. I practically live on it. I like a little garlic and a few grinds of pepper in mine.
 
2,068
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Joined Dec 30, 1999
islander,

...but then, we don't want to get your hopes up in case you don't like it. ;)

Try this recipe. This is a favorite in our house;

• french baguette
• mayonnaise
• kalamata olive spread or chopped black olives
• fresh tomato (your favorite kind) sliced OR oven roasted tomato OR oven roasted and infused in herb infused olive oil (sliced)
• fresh basil leaves (your favorite kind)
• salt and pepper to taste

Slice the baguette lengthwise. Spread mayo with a knife on the bottom layer. Then top with olives/olive spread, add sliced tomatoes, add salt, then add basil, add pepper. Throw on top part of bread. Slice into manageable pieces for sandwiches.

It is absolutely delicious. If you like basil at all, you'll be craving this one!

Let us know if you like it!
 
2,550
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Joined Mar 13, 2001
I use the same basic ingredients as Anneke, plus a little butter.

Great on any pasta!
 
43
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Joined Feb 6, 2001
Well, tonight is the "Big Pesto Night", bought the pine nuts, garlic and all set to go. I will let you know how it goes (and what my face looks like after my first taste). And yes, Linda, eating pesto on Salt Spring Island really is a bit of heaven. Thanks for all your funny posts, I am smiling! (The recipes and suggestions are very much appreciated).
 
43
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Joined Feb 6, 2001
Well, I think I will be growing more basil! The pesto was absolutely wonderful! It was truly a taste sensation. I wish I had discovered it years ago! Thanks to all of you for the links, recipes and suggestions. I'm on a mission now! p.s. Linda, I am curious as to how you knew about Salt Spring. Have you ever been on the island? We do try to keep these things a secret, being "heaven" and all. Thanks again.
 
1,586
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Joined Jan 5, 2001
..oops! I forgot the garlic! I usually add that too with the obvious S&P. May I suggest that you try your first taste of pesto with a capellini or as a base for a simple pizza instead of tomato sauce. I didn't like pesto the first time I tried it; it was an unexpected flavour and I just needed to get used to it as there isn't really anything like it.. Now I just love it. So take it nice and slow Islander, ok?
 
85
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Joined Mar 30, 2001
Islander: 2 SIL's transplanted to Vancouver from TO many moons ago. You couldn't coax either one of them back east for love nor money. They have friends who live there.

And there is also the calendar issue...

I have never been but some day.....sigh

I'm glad that your pesto turned out. There is no such thing as too much basil. It freezes well. Not exactly the same as the fresh stuff but it tastes pretty darn good when the snow is blowing...but I guess you don't have that problem do you??
 
43
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Joined Feb 6, 2001
Hi Linda: Oh yes....the calendar! I'm not in it, thank goodness. And yes....we do get snow occasionally, but overall it's very temperate and mild. I guess for basil production I would have to keep it in the greenhouse, though. I will be experimenting. The variety I purchased was from Stokes Seeds and it was imported from Italy "Di Genoa". Excellent! Have a good day and thanks for the input.
 
2,068
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Joined Dec 30, 1999
Islander,

Now that you have a taste for pesto, you might want to try this tasty version. Let us know if you like it. (It's delicious.)

SICILIAN PESTO
Serves 4

4 ounces (about 3/4 cup) whole blanched
almonds
4 medium cloves garlic
28 medium basil leaves
11 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
11 medium mint leaves
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Crushed red-pepper flakes

1. Heat oven to 350°. Spread almonds on a small baking sheet. Bake until light golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a shallow bowl, and set aside to cool.

2. Combine almonds, garlic, basil, parsley, mint, and oil in the bowl of a food processor. Process until well combined. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and crushed red-pepper flakes.

Great over any kind of pasta.

[ July 06, 2001: Message edited by: cchiu ]
 
43
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Joined Feb 6, 2001
Dear Cchiu: Thanks for the Sicilian Pesto recipe. It looks very interesting. I love almonds so I will definitely give this a try. It's so much fun to try all these new taste sensations. Why I didn't discover this sooner is a mystery to me, but hey, I know about it now! Thanks again for posting the recipe, I will let you know how it goes. P.S. Your name has me intriqued? Cchiu?
 
356
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Joined Aug 23, 2000
Besides pesto, basil's mighty tasty paired with fresh tomatoes. In tomato season, my favorite simple salad is:

3 ripe tomatoes, cut into chunks
1 clove garlic, minced
5-10 basil leaves, chiffonade or minced
1 T virgin olive oil
2 t basalmic vinegar
kosher salt, fresh ground pepper

Should sit for an hour at room temp before eating. A loaf of crusty bread to soak up the juices, and you're in the mmmmmmmm zone.

Also use basil leaves instead of lettuce for turkey-cheese-tomato sandwiches.

One more: mash basil leaves fresh rosemary, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper as a spice paste for lamb. (Let it sit overnight in the fridge to soak in.)
 
386
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Joined May 11, 2001
I had a huge bunch of a peppery tasting basil that I bought from the Farmer's Market. I'm still trying to figure out if it's the same as the globe basil that's growing in my herb garden. Anyway, I'm trying to cook (and eat or freeze) everything in my fridge before I go on holidays. I made a yummy salad using blanched green beans, grape tomatoes, pistachio-encrusted chicken breast, mint, basil, feta cheese and a garlicky olive oil/lemon juice dressing. Much to my surprise, it tasted like I had used a pesto dressing. It's great and works well with the pitas I baked.
 
2,068
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Joined Dec 30, 1999
Risa,

What does your peppery tasting basil look like that you purchased AND that you are growing?

Are the leaves like the common basil you see at the grocery store 2-3 inches long? Or are they less than a quarter of an inch long?
 
386
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Joined May 11, 2001
Both the globe basil and the peppery tasting basil have tiny leaves. I have sweet basil in my herb garden also and those have huge leaves in comparison; maybe up to 20 times bigger. I just did some research online and I think they are one and the same. I entered globe basil in Google and almost all the results say "spicy globe basil". The bunch I bought at the farmer's market are a little fatter than what I have in my garden. That's probably because I have mine in a pot with several other herbs and I only transplanted the seedling about three weeks ago. It looks beautiful though; it's a very nice mound of fragrant leaves. Maybe the peppery flavour is more pronounced as the plant matures?
 
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