Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Basil My All-Time Favorite Herb

It’s been a whole year since Kalyn came up with the idea of Weekend Herb Blogging and she’s marking the anniversary with a special herb request – write about your all-time favorite herb.

Now I’d have a hard time choosing number 2 on my list of favorites – cilantro, mint, oregano, rosemary, thyme – I love them all (I even put them in alphabetic order because I can’t decide which comes first – or rather second). But number 1 is no contest!!!!
Fresh Basil rules the day –every time.

I’ve written about our trip to Paris and the Loire Valley where one BIG highlight was the basil and garlic festival and I've shared many recipes here. In fact there’s hardly a category that doesn’t include basil. Kalyn has asked us to give our favorite recipe - and I simply can't leave it at just one - I tried, but it's impossible.

I use it dried to roll goat cheese in, and add some to slow cooked soups, stews and sauces.

I use it fresh in salads, frittatas, marinades and quick stir fries.

I add it at the last minute to pasta dishes – especially simple oil & garlic or tomato based versions, for that matter.

And of course I always have my homemade pesto on hand. Nothing else on earth turns a simple dish of scrambled eggs into a culinary delight.

And spread on some wonderful bread with fresh goat cheese it quickly becomes an awesome grilled cheese sandwich.

Company unexpectedly drops by….and it’s frozen focaccia (already sliced before I put it in the freezer), toast it, spread some pesto add a slice of brie and stick it under the broiler for a minute…..what can I say…serve it with some wine and you’ve already got a party going.

Bored with steamed veggies…add some pesto or fresh basil chiffonade to give them a whole new taste sensation. Spread some pesto on chicken breasts or veal chops and grill them. Use it as a base for pizzas – my favorite is chicken and baby spinach (I’m just waiting for this e coli outbreak to end) or mushroom slices.

I could go on and on, but now I’m hungry and need a basil fix!!!

Can’t wait to see what the rest of you come up with as favorite herb.

Related links:


Kalyn Denny said...

Wow, what a great collection of basil recipes. I love them all. Every picture makes me want to take a bite. Great job!

s'kat said...

Basil is my favourite herb, too!!

One of my 'whoah' moments was discovering how wonderfully it pairs with bacon. I use it in BLT salads/sandwiches all the time.

Ruth Daniels said...

Thanks Kalyn.

S'kat, whoah is right! I can't wait to try a blt your way.

Thanks for dropping by.

Anonymous said...

i love the way u interweaved basil into all the recipes. beautiful prose. and ever since i started growing basil, i have started appreciating its versatality more.have u tasted it in the thai dishes?

Anonymous said...

I think any way you use it, nothing beats fresh basil. especially in a pesto — what could be better?!

i also just had it used in a thai style pizza with small pieces of highly seasoned chicken. so good.

shanah tovah.

Mahek said...

you do a lot of stir fries can you tell me which are the best vege's used for stir fries other then the peppers.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ruth, basil is such a wonderful herb and can be used in so many things. I used my leftover basil last night for a penne pasta.

The aroma that of it is glorious and so is the taste.

What a yummy post.

Ruth Daniels said...

Shaheen, I certainly have tasted basil in Thai dishes. I've often hunted for Thai basil here in Toronto (it's a small purple leaf that's so aromatic) and usually I'm not so lucky so I just use regular.

Bureka Boy - I love it as a base for pizza too!

Mahek, the best veggies for stir fries are ones that don't take much time to cook - small broccoli spears, asparagus (my favorite), mushrooms, sweet onions are some of my favorites. Spinach, before there was an e coli outbreak, so now I use swiss chard leaves instead.

When I do use carrots or other hard root vegetables, I make sure they are cut in either very thin circles or julienned.

Thanks all for dropping by and your great comments.

Gattina Cheung said...

Ruth, whoa! you so quick finished up the anniversary post! Your pesto and grilled cheese sandwich look GREAT! Same as you, I really can't (or don't want to) decide...

Katie said...

I have 2 basil beds in my herb garden - each 5' x 3'. It's wonderful to have so much (it's only the 3rd summer with all this bounty). I, too, use it in everything and freeze tons for winter. Great recipe ideas!

For this event I chose sage - because it's autumn now....I'm seasonally fickle...

Ruth Daniels said...

Gattina, even though basil is my favorite, I seem to make more cilantro dishes and now that winter's coming - rosemary and thyme will be prominent.

Katie - I'm jealous - I have one little potted basil plant that's more for show! As for being seasonally fickle....me too. This time of year with lots of soups, stews and roasts...rosemary and thyme will be frequent visitors in my kitchen.

Thanks for dropping by....and Katie, the lamb & dill soup is on the menu for this week. Thanks for sharing.

Ruth Daniels said...

Oops, actually it's Anna who sent the awesome lamb & Dill soup. She's first in for this coming weekend WHB - I'm the host!

So, send me a favorite recipe of yours to participate.