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Basil


Liza x
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Basil is also delicious with grilled fish, roasted potatoes, risotto, and eggs (omelettes/frittatas). I use it on Italian cold cut sandwiches, chop it into vinaigrette, and add it to most pasta sauces. Incidentally, pesto is also good when you make variations from herbs other than basil, or in combinations.

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Steven A. Shaw

www.fat-guy.com

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There's something to be said for the purity of one herb, but pestos also taste great when made with mixed herbs. On account of belonging to this CSA thing, and because sometimes I grow herbs on my windowsill with seemingly random results, and also because I'm a terrible impulse buyer at markets, I sometimes find myself with herbs without portfolio. I recently made a pesto-like substance from cress, garlic scape, basil, tarragon, and about half a sage leaf (put too much sage in anything and that's all you taste). I didn't sit around and conceptualize the combination, it's just what I had around. But it was amazingly good. I spread it on everything until I got sick of it.

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Steven A. Shaw

www.fat-guy.com

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Give me basil, corriander and black and red pepper and I'm happy.  And some food too, of course.

Basil--which at least for me seems to grow indoors all year round like a weed--comes in handy in just about anything I prepare.

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I thought of another dish that we've gotten many times at a certain chinese restaurant: Beef with Basil.  It is addictive, we order it almost every time we go there.  The only time we don't order it is when we stop and say, "we've ordered this the last few times we were here, let's try something else."

Anyway, does anyone have a recipe for us for this dish?

Thanks,  Rachel

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Love all the pesto ideas. Faith Willinger wrote about a Tuscan pesto made of kale and garlic and olive oil. Yum!

Here's something totally different to do with basil: Herb Lemonade. This recipe is from the NY Times Food Worship section, adapted from Five Points. It's really refreshing, and I've been playing around with the technique. I even made a teaberry syrup with wild teaberry (wintergreen) and a shiso syrup.

Herb Lemonade Spritzer

2/3 c sugar

1 1/2 c basil

1 c mint

1/4 c cilantro

1 tbs tarragon

1 tbs oregano

4 tsp lemon zest

(all herbs are fresh)

1/4 c lemon juice

Make a simple syrup with the sugar and 2 cups of water. Combine the cooled syrup in a blender or processor with the fresh herbs and lemon til chopped, not pureed. Let it sit overnight or as long as you can wait, then strain it. Mix to taste with seltzer and garnish with whatever you've got leftover.

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B. Edulis

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It really does taste good. I've been intrigued by the herb sorbets that I've been hearing about for quite a while. Though I've never tasted one the idea was interesting. So the herb lemonade was the first recipe I've tried where the savory herbs "crossed over." Nothing can stop my evil plans now! :learing and sneaky-eyed emoticon:

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B. Edulis

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Basil is also excellent mixed with butter on grilled fresh corn on the cob.

The following idea came from Sunset Magazine:

Put 1/2 cup butter in a small saucepan with 1 clove of garlic, minced and 2 tablespoons of minced fresh basil. Cook over medium heat until the butter melts and the garlic has lost its raw taste -- a couple of minutes is enough.

Place 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese in a bowl.

Offer grilled corn with butter mixture and cheese.

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This is one of the best desserts I know that uses basil. Yum:

                     

                    Basil Ice Cream & Key Lime Tart

Serving Size  : 10    

                       For the Basil Ice Cream:

 1 1/2           cups  heavy cream

 1 1/2           cups  fresh basil leaves -- washed

 2          teaspoons  orange zest -- minced

    1/4           cup  sugar

 1           teaspoon  mint -- chopped

 4                     large egg yolks

    1/2           cup  coconut milk -- unsweetened

                       For the Tequila Lime Tart Crust:

 1 1/2           cups  graham cracker crumbs

    1/2           cup  melted whole butter -- lukewarm, not hot

    1/4           cup  pine nuts -- finely ground

 2        tablespoons  granulated sugar

                       For the Key Lime Filling:

 4              large  egg yolks

 1 1/4           cups  sweetened condensed milk

    1/4           cup  gold tequila

    1/2           cup  lime juice

 2                     egg whites

 1         tablespoon  sugar

Bring cream, half the basil leaves and orange zest to a boil. Remove from heat, cover and let steep for 30 minutes. Prepare an ice water bath. Return cream mixture to heat and bring to a simmer. Whisk together egg yolks, coconut milk and sugar. Pour some of the hot cream mixture into eggs to temper. Pour eggs into cream mixture and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Chill in ice bath. Add remaining basil and mint and blend in blender for 3 minutes or until smooth. Strain through a fine strainer and run in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer's instructions.

Mix all ingredients with a wooden spoon in a non-reactive bowl. Line a 10 inch tart pan, with removable bottom, with mixture, making sure to press down evenly on all sides and bottom. Set aside. This can be made a day in advance and let to dry.Blend all above ingredients except egg whites (not whipped) just until thoroughly incorporated. Set aside.

In a separate bowl (very clean and dry) whip egg whites with 1 Tbsp. sugar until soft peaks form.

Gently fold, using a rubber spatula, 1 /3 of mixture into whipped egg whites. Then gently fold remaining mixture into whipped egg whites being careful not to overmix. This should just be incorporated.

Ladle mixture into crust and bake in a 325-degree oven for 35-40 minutes. Check to see if done by inserting a wooden toothpick into tart. It should come out clean.

Cool on wire rack, remove from pan and slice. Serve with fresh whipped cream and fresh lime slices.

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Just did this grilled chicken dish the other night - made a not-too-smooth paste of 3-4 cloves garlic, peel and juice of one lemon, about 2/3 cup of loosely packed fresh basil, s&p and a little olive oil, then stuffed it under the skin of pieces of chicken and rubbed the rest all over (the chicken).  Grilled it.  Simple and delicious.

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  • 1 month later...

I love to stir fry with Thai basil. Squid, shrimp, chicken, beef, pork, tofu, vegetables -- anything. What I usually do is sautee some garlic and chilis in oil, stir fry the meat, and then, just a few minutes before serving (over jasmine rice),  add a mixture of soy sauce, fish sauce (nam plaa), sugar, and tons of chopped basil.

Haven't ever met anyone who doesn't love this.

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re basil in a sweet context, one of the more interesting desserts I have had consisted of not-overly-sweet lemon sorbet flanked with fennel which had been slowly simmered in spiced (star-anise, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, cardamom and black peppercorns), drizzled with some of the syrup, and showered with basil chiffonade. Intriguing interplay.

Another concept is one I recently posted in the "best dessert..." thread on General.  It consists of basil ice cream served with cabernet-syrup soaked fresh figs on a slice of cabernet-cocoa cake, fresh basil garniture.

Basil ice cream is wonderful.  We are using up the leftover ice cream with a hot chocolate sauce drizzled over it.  (70% dark chocolate melted with sweet butter)   Another wonderful combination.

eGullet member #80.

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a couple more uses.....

add torn basil leaves to green salad....biting into one gives you an intense burst of basil-y goodness

coarsely chop equal parts basil and parsley, a little garlic, maybe some anchovies and/or salt-packed capers, and a tomato (less tomato than herbs, though), drizzle with good olive oil...serve this salsa verde with grilled meats or vegetables (especially grilled eggplant)

olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

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  • 3 weeks later...
Quote: from Preet Baba x on 12:26 am on Aug. 6, 2001

Doesn't pesto refer to a specific recipe that always consists of basil, garlic, pine nuts, cheese and olive oil? Wouldn't any other herb puree have to be called something else, like "tarragon puree"?

Well, first: "puree" is only appropriate usage when the food in question is cooked. Second: "pesto" (I believe) is Italian for "paste" (correct me if I'm wrong; I know you will). That is, it's a non-specific word, and I've heard of other herbs being used; the chef at Verbena once made "parsley pesto", for instance. I've had pesto made with arugula and basil, or just arugula. And of course, there are all kinds of variations: I had a pesto once that was mostly pine nuts. Play around with it! (Life is short.)
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My handy, but hardly authoritative paperback dictionary says that a puree is made from cooked food. I always thought you could puree raw fruit, such as a banana.

What I think, or thought, carries little weight, but when I've run across other forms of pesto (those not based on basil) I assumed they were sort of new takes on an old standard, rather than some traditional alternative. Anyone with a good Italian dictionary or authoritative Italian cookbook reading this?

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Interestingly enough I had to preserve several pounds of basil recently -- last weeked we had gotten a frost scare and had to pick all the remaining vegetables and herbs from our garden -- among it was two grocery bags filled to the brim with italian basil.

So, I proceeded to take all the leaves off, wash them in the salad spinner, and throw them in the blender with some olive oil. I left out the cheese and pignoli, so that I had the option of turning it into pesto later. I froze the mixture into ice cube trays, so now I have it for use in pastas, sauces, etc.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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We've foud that when making pesto in some quantity, blanching the leaves enables them to keep their color better. I'm not sure if this works to the same advantage if you are freezing it right away.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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  • 7 years later...

An oldie but a goodie. . .

I picked up some Thai basil (both gkaprow and horapa) in Tokyo, and I've got far too much to use before it goes bad.

Can I freeze the whole leaves? They'll be used primarily for making Gkai Pad Gkaprow, so I don't really care about appearances, but I'd like them to retain most of their flavour. Or should I try to dry them?

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Can I freeze the whole leaves?  They'll be used primarily for making Gkai Pad Gkaprow, so I don't really care about appearances, but I'd like them to retain most of their flavour.  Or should I try to dry them?

Nice find. Was it expensive?

I know that there are people who freeze basil, but I wonder if you could also make a basil oil by heating slowly in oil. Of course, part of the attraction is having the leaves in the actual dish and it's non-traditional, but it seems like it would be a nice touch to drizzle with a bit of basil oil at the end. Just my $0.02.

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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Nice find. Was it expensive?

I know that there are people who freeze basil, but I wonder if you could also make a basil oil by heating slowly in oil. Of course, part of the attraction is having the leaves in the actual dish and it's non-traditional, but it seems like it would be a nice touch to drizzle with a bit of basil oil at the end. Just my $0.02.

It wasn't so bad considering this is Japan. I picked them up in Ameyoko-cho at the Center Building basement, and things there are always cheaper than in mainstream stores. I think the basils were Y250 each (big bags of the stuff. I also got some real Thai-type shallots for Y350 a bag, and cilantro for Y300 for a big bunch. And my best buy--plantains!!! Three big ones for Y450!!)

I might try making basil oil if I can part with some of my leaves. They're so precious, I don't want to use any without serious thought!

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