Archive for the ‘basil’ Category

My daughter came up with a quick and easy appetizer last week. She gave me permission to share it with the “world” at least that part of the world that stumbles upon my humble writings.

It starts with fresh basil leaves, the larger, the better. I found a basil plant in a local nursery this year that has the most gigantic leaves I have ever seen. They are about the size of a 3 X 5 index card. The plant itself is about 18 inches tall, even though we have been harvesting from it and cutting it back for the past three months. I hope I can keep it alive in the house through the winter. It is a remarkable variety. I don’t know what it is but I will try to find out.

The next ingredient is mozzarella. Get the best, freshest that you can. Forget the ordinary “Kraft” like mozzarella. Find the freshest. Also, get good tomatoes.

Here is the recipe, straight from my daughter.

basil leaves (large as possible)
fresh mozzarella
olive oil
salt and pepper

Cut the mozzarella either into small balls or cubes small enough to be enclosed in a basil leaf.

Cut tomatoes in half, then each half into slices, creating flat bite-size pieces. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Take a basil leaf, put a small piece of cheese in it, then and a slice of tomato. Roll up the edges to create a little package and stick with a toothpick to hold it together.

Store in refrigerator for an hour if necessary or serve.

You can added small pieces of smoked salmon (lox) to give it more salty flavor and substance. Maybe a bit of salami would be good. Give it a try.

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We had a delicious ribeye steak tonight for dinner.  We bought a nice thick ribeye on Saturday and it was big enough for us to share it.  I seasoned it and broiled it for four minutes of a side for a medium rare finish. (I used a gas grill, preheated for ten minutes, and cooked the steak over medium heat, four minutes on a side.)  I rarely like steak sauce, such as A-1 or Heinz 57 on a really good steak.  I prefer to taste the quality beef by itself. 

Sometimes, however, I will make a simple wine sauce, like Jacques Pepin’s Marchand de Vin sauce (more on that another day) or a vegetable garnish.  Today, I sauteed a sliced onion with a sliced fennel bulb in a tablespoon of butter slowly until they were carmelized slightly.  A little salt and pepper over them and they were ready to keep on low heat until the steaks were ready to eat. I served each piece of the steak with a large spoonful of the onion/fennel mixture on top. It was a great addition to the steak which really needed no embellishment.

Mac had two small baked Yukon gold potatoes and we had a nice caprese salad (see my post on Insalata Caprese) with a handful of fresh basil, fresh tomatoes and mozzarella. I have five different kinds of basil growing in pots and I picked a few leaves from each.  I will have to taste the individual leaves to see which ones I like best. I have so much basil that I doubt if we will be able to eat it all.  We’re not terribly fond of pesto, so I doubt that I’ll be making and freezing it. basil_main2.jpg

We do love bruschetta and will use a lot of basil for that.  I have a great recipe for soup that uses a pesto garnish swirled into the finished soup for serving.  Maybe I will make pesto for that.  When I do, I will give you the soup recipe.  It is a great recipe for using summer vegetables.   

Until then, happy dining.


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