Archive for the ‘Herbs’ Category

Basil In The Kitchen

Posted on: April 14th, 2009 by Botanical Interests No Comments

      Fresh garden tomatoes sliced and sprinkled with chopped basil and vinegar and oil are delicious. Basil mixes well with various egg and cheese dishes as well as fruit jams. In general, add fresh basil at the last moment, as cooking destroys the flavor quickly. When adding dried basil to a recipe that calls for fresh, substitute 1/3 the amount called for in the recipe.

      My first thought of a basil recipe is pesto. I love pesto – mounded on angel-hair pasta and surrounded with fresh sliced tomatoes, or spread on broiled fish or grilled chicken, or a baked potato, or a sauce for string beans or pizza, or…you get the idea. It’s great and easy and quick to make.

Pesto (1 cup)

   3 cups fresh basil leaves, tightly packed

    2 large cloves of garlic

    1 teaspoon salt

    2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

    ½ cup olive oil

    ½ cup fresh Parmesan cheese, finely grated

Add all ingredients except the cheese to a blender or food processor. Blend until well processed. Beat in cheese just before serving.

 

Fresh Lime-Basil Sorbet

   1 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (8 to 10 limes)

    1 cup water

    1 cup simple sugar syrup (1 cup sugar plus 1 cup water, boiled  then cooled)

    12 whole basil leaves

    1 egg white (optional)

 Combine all ingredients, except egg white, into a freezer friendly container and freeze 6 to 8 hours or overnight.

 Remove from freezer and allow to soften a little. Put chunks of frozen mixture into a food processor and process until all crystals have disappeared and mixture is smooth. Re-pack into container and keep frozen until needed. This will keep for up to 2 months. If you prefer a lighter, less icy sorbet, add 1 egg white during processing.  Yields 4 servings.

                      (Recipe from Herbal Gardens’ website)

 

Don’t forget the flowers. Basil flowers are edible and are a nice complement in salads or used to decorate the dessert or dinner plate. Our Thai Siam Queen is especially nice for this use.

 

Which Basil ? . . .

 There are more than 40 varieties of basil and we offer eleven of the most popular. The distinctive characteristics for each variety are listed here and are also printed on the front and back of every packet, but your own taste buds will most likely be the determining factor.

  Custom Blend

·         7 unique varieties giving a blend of color, textures, flavors, uses and fragrances.

·         Includes:  Lemon, Anise, Cinnamon, Purple Ruffles, Dark Opal, Thai and Genovese basils.

 Genovese Italian

·         A pesto-making favorite.

·         Large leaf.

·         Strong flavor and aroma.

 Greek Mini Yevani, Organic

·         Organic selection of Greek Spicy Globe.

 Italian Large Leaf

·         Very good used fresh and for pesto.

·         Large leaf.

 Lemon Mrs. Burns

·         Strong lemon/citrus fragrance and flavor.

·         Excellent for vinegars, salad dressings, fish dishes, and sprinkled in salads.

·         Good container variety.

 Lime

·         Combined flavor of basil and lime, very tasty.

·         Great in vinegars, with fish, salad dressings, sauces, oils and sprinkled on salad.

·         Good with standard basil dishes as well as pesto.

·         Good container variety.

 Napoletano

·         Large, crinkled leaves.

·         A top choice for eating fresh.

·         Tender leaves, mild, sweet mellow flavor.

·         Good for pesto.

 Red Rubin

·         Dark purple. All-America Selections Winner, 1992.

·         Clove-like spicy flavor.

·         Too strong for pesto.

·         Great for vinegars, in pasta dishes.

·         Good garden ornamental, containers.

 Thai Siam Queen

·         Superior Thai basil. All- America Selections Winner, 1997.

·         Sweet, spicy flavor.

·         Very aromatic leaves (licorice aroma).

·         Large leaves, compact plants

·         Beautiful pink and purple flowers.

·         Good container variety.

 Purple Petra

·         Dark purple.

·         Sweeter than Red Rubin.

·         Great for pesto and salad color.