Basil is a wonderful herb. The farm grows a few different kinds of basil including your typical pesto basil, lemon basil, sweet basil, and thai basil. Basil hates cold weather, so make sure to stock up during the summer.
How to Dry Herbs
1) Use scissors to cut sprigs off plants. Make sure to never cut an herb plant at the base, this will kill the plant. Only cut sprigs from around the outside of the plant.
2) Place each type of herb in its own paper sack and label the bag.
3) Store paper bags in dry spot in your kitchen (I use a cupboard where I store all my herbs and spices. Leave for at least 2 weeks, or until dry.
4) Use a food processor to finely chop the herbs. I usually de-stem them first. You can also grind the herbs with a mortar and pestle. Once herbs are dried, store in a glass jar with sealed lid. Plastic herb containers work, too.
Basil (and/or Mint Oil): Makes about 2 cups oil
1 bunch parsley (1.5 cups, yellow leaves removed, stems included)
1 tsp salt
2 cups neutral oil
Roughly chop the parsley. Put herbs into a blender with the salt and half the oil. Blend until fairly smooth, then add the rest of the oil and blend.
Basil-Dijon Butter: Makes about 2 cup of mustard
From Moosewood Restaurant Cooks At Home
1/4 Pound Softened Butter
2 TBsp Chopped Fresh Basil
1 TBsp Chopped Fresh Tarragon
1 TBsp Chopped Fresh Parsley
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
Ricotta, Pepper and Basil Pizza: Makes 1 pizza
From Twenty Dollar, Twenty-Minute Meals by Caroline Wright
1 pound pizza dough (see Tomato Recipes page)
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
1/2 cup roasted red pepper slices
1 garlic clove, sliced
1) Preheat oven to 475 F with a rack in the bottom position. Place a large rimmed baking sheet upside down on the rack to preheat for 8 minutes.
2) On a piece of parchment paper dusted with cornmeal, roll the pizza dough into a large circle, about 1/4 inch thick. Scatter with ricotta, pepper slices, and garlic.
3) Carefully remove the hot baking sheet from the oven and slide the parchment paper with dough onto it.
4) Bake until the dough is golden and crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes.
5) Just before serving, add a drizzle of olive oil, sprinkle some salt, and scatter basil leaves.
Cantaloupe Salad with Basil, Fresh Mozzarella & Onions: Serves 4-6
1 medium cantaloupe, cut into 1 inch cubes
10-20 leaves of basil, sliced thinly
10 green olives, sliced
1/4 onion, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh mozzarella, cubed
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons lime juice, from 1 lime
Salt and pepper to taste
1) In a large bowl, toss the cantaloupe, basil strips, olives, onions and mozzarella together.
2) Lightly dress the salad with olive oil and red wine vinegar. Toss with the lime juice.
3) Generously salt and pepper the salad and taste.
**This salad is great served right away but even better chilled for a few hours before serving, to allow the flavors to really develope.
Heirloom Caprese Salad
Brandywine or Striped German tomatoes (or a tomato about as round as your mozzarella)
Fresh mozzarella cheese
fresh ground black pepper
Balsamic vinegar (optional)
1) Slice tomatoes and mozzarella around the same thickness.
2) Cut basil leaves into strips.
3) Layer tomatoes and mozzarella with basil on top. Drizzle with olive oil and add a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Use balsamic, too if you like it.
Basil Pesto: About 1 cup
from Enchanted Broccoli Forest
3cups fresh basil, packed
3 to 4 large cloves of garlic
1/3 cup pine nuts, walnuts, or sunflower seeds, lightly toasted (optional)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated (or nutrional yeast)
black pepper, ground
1) Place the basil and garlic in a food processor or blender, and mince well.
2) Add the nuts (if you want nuts) and continue to grind.
3) Keep mixing as you ad the oil. When you have a smooth paste, transfer to a bowl and stir in the parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to your preference.
Crab Lemon Basil Pasta: Serves 4
from Savory SweetLife
1 lb spaghetti
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 to 8 cloves, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (if you do not have cherry tomatoes just dice a regular tomato)
1/2 cup basil, chopped
pinch of salt
Pinch of ground pepper
1/2 lb cooked fresh crabmeat
1 lemon, quartered (optional)
1) In a large pot, cook pasta according to directions until the pasta is al dente (tender but firm). Drain and set aside.
2) Add olive oil and butter to the same pot (that is now empty) and set it over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
3) Turn off the heat and return the spaghetti to the pot, tossing until it is coated with the garlic sauce.
4) Add the tomatoes, basil, salt, and pepper, and toss gently.
5) Divide the pasta among the plates and top each serving with some crabmeat. Squeeze lemon quarter on each dish.
** Whole cooked crab cakes can be substituted for fresh crabmeat. Canned crabmeat is not recommended.
Creamy Pesto Pasta Salad: Serves 6
from Savory Sweet Life
1 cup basil pesto (recipe at the top of this page)
1/2 cup mayo (sub yogurt if you want)
16 ounce box fusilli pasta
Artichoke hearts, quartered (optional)
1/2 cup parmesan, freshly grated
1) In a small bowl, combine pesto and mayo/yogurt; set aside.
2) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the fusilli and cook until al dente, following the package directions.
3) Drain the pasta and transfer to a large bowl. Add the pesto dressing and toss until well mixed and coated.
4) Gently fold in the artichoke hearts. Chill salad, covered, in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
5) Sprinkle the parmesan over the salad just prior to serving.
** Add 2 cups cooked chicken (cubed), if you want.
Peach, Basil, Mozzarella Pizza: Makes 1 pizza
For the crust
For the balsamic reduction
1 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces fresh mozzarella-sliced
4 peaches-thinly sliced
1/2 cup freshly chopped basil
1) Prepare the crust as described. While the crust is pre-baking, make the balsamic reduction.
To make the balsamic reduction:
1. While the dough is rising, make the balsamic reduction. Pour balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan, bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the vinegar has reduced to 1/4 cup. Set aside, and cool to room temperature.
To make the pizza:
1) Remove crust from oven after prebaking for 10 minutes.
2) Lightly brush the dough with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Top the dough with fresh mozzarella rounds, peach slices, and fresh basil. Drizzle the pizza with balsamic reduction.
3) Place the pizza in the oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until pizza crust is golden and cheese is melted. Remove from oven and bake the second pizza.
4) Let the pizza cool for a few minutes and then cut into slices and serve warm.