Monday, July 16, 2007

New Tricks for An Old Dog

You can teach an old dog new tricks! And I taught myself a new trick just today. It feels great!

After years of growing basil (I love the smell as I brush by it in the garden), I finally got myself together enough yesterday and today to harvest some and actually use it.

To be precise, I made basil pesto. It took a lot longer than I expected, mainly because I think I am the most inefficient basil leaf picker known to humankind, but it was wonderful and well worth the effort. (Since my food processor instructions said to be sure that fresh herbs were DRY, I had to first pick fresh basil branches, then wash them and pat them dry, then pick the leaves off individually and blot them dry. It takes a lot of basil leaves to make 2 packed cups of fresh basil leaves!)

Note: When I described how long it took to pick the basil leaves, my mother got concerned about how long I was out in the sun, evidently envisioning me picking off leaf after basil leaf out in the garden. It's nice to have someone who still worries about me.

The pesto turned out excellently! Now I have plans to harvest much more. I have 3 different kinds of basil, so I'm planning to make pesto out of all 3 separately, noting the flavor difference between varieties. I'll also be freezing some. Lots of new experiences ahead.

The last few days have been the beginning of our serious attempt to eat more locally. The pesto is part of this. (The basil was VERY local. The other ingredients, unfortunately, were not. I have some work to do there.) We grilled (local) corn on the cob in its husk for the first time last night. Another new trick for us old dogs. Our chicken tonight was local, free range, hormone and antiobiotic free - and was excellent. And we've been eating tomatoes, cucumbers, cinnamon rolls, and whole wheat bread from local folks too. It's fun, tasty, somewhat of a challenge to learn to plan menus differently, and altogether an excellent adventure.


Anonymous said...

This has been great!! The pesto is wonderful and on things I would have not thought of: potatoes and bread. about a couple of fewer plants next year???

Anonymous said...

I use my basil in the following catfish recipe.

Start with fresh catfish filets - white meat only, evenly sliced and dried.
Cover with a thin film of cooking oil.
Sprinkle with garlic powder, cracked red pepper and chopped fresh basil.
Grill and enjoy a heart-healthy entre.

Gaia Gardener: said...

Sounds delicious. I'm needing to add more omega-3's to our diet, too, so this is a great place to start.