What I Did with a Whole Bunch of Basil

Basil

I got a massive amount of basil from the CSA this week. Here, in fact, is a self portrait taken with the basil in hand for scale. I think you will agree that this is a lot of herb, dude:

How do I keep basil fresh for as long as possible? This is how much I got this week from my CSA.

After quickly polling the internet on how to keep it fresh for as long as possible, I wound up trimming the ends and putting it in a vase of water as if it were a bouquet of flowers. I then put a plastic grocery bag loosely over the top. Almost a week later and the few stems that remain still have fresh, green leaves.

[207/365] Tomatoes and Basil

Over the week I added the basil to tons of salads, especially combined with the wonderful tomatoes I also received from the farm. Add a little olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper and you have yourself a treat. (Fresh mozzarella is optional of course, if you eat dairy, but totally not necessary, AHEM.)

Of course, you had to figure a bunch of pesto was also in order. And you were correct. That’s exactly what I made today. The last time I had made pesto, I thought the raw garlic was a little too, well, raw-garlicky, so this time I roasted it first. That was sort of a problem — I liked the flavor it brought, but I should have waited for it to cool down thoroughly before adding it to the mix. It was too warm and therefore caused the basil to wilt a bit, turning the mix a very dark green instead of the spring-like fresh green I desired. It tasted good, of course, but lesson learned!

[188/365] Pesto

(This photo is from my previous batch with the raw garlic — I didn’t photograph today’s batch because the color made me sad.)

Here’s how I do a vegan pesto (amounts are approximate):

1/3 cup olive oil
1/3-1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
all the fresh basil you have
1-5 cloves of cooled down roasted garlic (to taste)
1-2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional — adds a salty/cheese-like flavor)

Blend all the above in your cheapo walmart belnder and don’t worry. It will blend up just fine.

Here’s what I made with it for dinner:

Whole Grain Rotini with Pesto

Whole grain rotini
portobello mushrooms
Field Roast vegan sausage
fresh roma tomatoes from the farm
pesto
some fresh basil leaves

I cooked the mushrooms and crumbled vegan sausage in a pan with a little olive oil, deglazed it with a splash of white wine from my glass, and tossed in the chopped tomatoes just to warm them up at the end. I added this to the cooked pasta and put a couple big globs of pesto in there and stirred it around. As you can see by now, this is a highly technical recipe. I hope you are paying attention there in the back row.

This dish was so good and satsfying that I literally exclaimed aloud to my empty apartment about it. Go forth and try!

6 Comments

  1. Your CSA posts are the best. I’m suffering through a bout of cruddy weather in July! Daytime highs for the month have been about 18°C or less, with nighttime lows around 7°C. Normal for July is 26° or more. Awful, awful.

    In addition, voles have been ravaging my garden. Recently they have begun eating the roots of my brussels sprouts plants. Aside from that, however, the rest of the garden is moving along. I still have yet to pick a ripe tomato (cold weather is not favourable to tomato plants).

    Have been doing a great deal of hiking and I have come across two isolated sites that are absolutely full of wild blackberries (mûres in French) and sloes. I seem to be the first to have come across them and will be returning to these sites to take advantage of the free bounty! (Almost like CSA, but not quite).

    Reply

    1. Wild blackberries sound amazing! I’m also laughing a bit about the voles over here. “Voles.” The name has comedy built right in! I hope your tomatoes ripen up.

      Reply

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