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fresh basil

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ChrisKC May 28, 2009 11:43 AM

I have a large pot that I planted with basil this year and it is already going crazy. Does anyone have suggestions for ways to use it? I got pesto and bruschetta. I also can put in spaghetti sauces and such but they just kind of get lost in there so it doesn't really showcase them. I would like at least a couple of ways to use them. TIA

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  1. todao RE: ChrisKC May 28, 2009 12:00 PM

    I use basil in omelets, in soups and stews, and sometimes I chop it very fine and include it in sandwiches (especially those where I use a "salad" style mixture e.g chicken salad, etc.)

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      Ali RE: ChrisKC May 28, 2009 12:23 PM

      Basil simple syrup for cocktails? It's really great in coctails. :)

      1 Reply
      1. re: Ali
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        ChrisKC RE: Ali May 28, 2009 12:48 PM

        Oh yeah, I forgot about that. And in tea for some!

      2. Pia RE: ChrisKC May 28, 2009 12:31 PM

        Chop up equal parts basil and spinach in the food processor. Mix with ricotta or cottage cheese, egg, and sliced roasted red peppers. Pour into a pie crust, sprinkle with pine nuts, and bake. This makes a great tart.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Pia
          todao RE: Pia May 28, 2009 12:58 PM

          A Spinach/Basil Quiche - sounds wonderful. Thanks for the recipe.

          1. re: Pia
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            Val RE: Pia May 28, 2009 05:08 PM

            Pia, is that pie crust pre-baked before adding the filling? Just checking...sounds very delish!

            1. re: Val
              Pia RE: Val May 29, 2009 11:27 AM

              Yes, pre-baked. Sometimes I sprinkle some cheese on the crust before baking too. Sorry the recipe is kind of vague. There's a great place in Boston called Petsi Pies and this is my approximation of their spinach-ricotta tart, but I always just throw everything together. Also, todao, while I think it would work as a quiche, I use just enough egg to bind it -- maybe around 1 egg, a cup of ricotta, 2-3 cups of spinach/basil mixture (after chopping), and 1/2 cup roasted red pepper. Some sharper grated cheese, like Parmesan, is also a good addition, as is a little roasted garlic. Also, don't cook the spinach and basil before chopping -- it has a nice fresh springy taste uncooked.

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            Fiona RE: ChrisKC May 28, 2009 12:37 PM

            Last night we had what my kids call "Mommy Pasta" - whole wheat spaghetti sauced with peanut butter, tahini, soy sauce, garlic, rice vinegar etc - you get the idea -sort of vaguely Asian. My kids love this. At any rate - critical to the dish are fresh limes and A TON of julienned fresh basil as garnish. Fresh basil is great on lots of foods - anything with eggs, eggplant or any summer squash, mixed into ricotta or similar cheeses, with pears, any salad with tomato, cold rice salad with chunks of mozzarella, any sort of pasta salad, on top of sliced ripe peaches, etc, etc.
            As you can tell I love fresh basil - I suggest that you try it on virtually everything to find your favorite combinations.
            Good eating!

            1. mrsfury RE: ChrisKC May 28, 2009 12:52 PM

              I like it on pizza with prosciutto and fontina. I guess it would be good on any pizza. My basil goes crazy too so I dry some for me and some for the neighbors. They all know I'm the one to come to for dried herbs.

              1 Reply
              1. re: mrsfury
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                ChrisKC RE: mrsfury May 28, 2009 01:05 PM

                I would ask you now how you dry it but I would probably never remember come fall! I've always made pesto and froze it icetrays any that was left. Nice little touch to add in the middle of winter.

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                weezycom RE: ChrisKC May 28, 2009 01:13 PM

                For something very different, chop it very fine (or put it through a processer) and stir it into cold cream and use as a moisturizer.

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                  TampaAurora RE: ChrisKC May 28, 2009 01:55 PM

                  Marinate fresh tomatoes with a chiffonade of basil, salt, pepper and olive oil. I will add some roasted moshrooms and maybe some roasted zucchini. If it's around, I shred a chicken breast. Toss this all with some pasta and you have one of my favorite summer meals. It sets well if you need a picnic or just leftovers.

                  1. Fritter RE: ChrisKC May 28, 2009 05:22 PM

                    A favorite here is a riff on a capresse salad.
                    2 parts EVOO to 1 part balsamic. Fresh chopped basil, garlic, S&P over some fresh sliced maters and buffalo mozzarella.
                    Pass the bread. :)
                    Another standard here is pasta primavera with plenty of basil and of course pizza.

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                      camper88 RE: ChrisKC May 29, 2009 07:23 AM

                      It's great on pizza, just rip up some leaves and throw on at the last minute.
                      It also makes a great gelato. Infuse as much as you want in a simple syrup and throw it in an ice cream maker. Then quickly pour/ spread the gelato mixture on a tray or cookie sheet, cover with wrap and place in the freezer. The thinner the layer the more quickly it freezes and the finer the ice crystals and the more delicate and better tasting the gelato. You can cut it with a cookie cutter that's been soaked in hot/ warm water and use it as a base under a layer of vanilla ice cream--or tomato gelato. It's great in summer.
                      It's also great to use if you make juice your own juice. Basil really brightens up other green juice combinations.
                      Try an Italian Mojito with Basil and a little Cinzano Bianco and rum with some muddled Basil.
                      It's also good in many Asian dishes, Thai for example.

                      1. jen kalb RE: ChrisKC May 29, 2009 11:51 AM

                        simple uses - put the leaves in green salad or sandwiches - the fresh tomato mozzarella basil olive oil combo I could eat every day - marcella hazan has a dynamite rice dish with mozz and lots of basil, also a fried zucchini-cheezy-eggy-basilly pasta dish that is great. There is an Ed Giobbi cold tuna-broccoli-tomato basil sauced salad that is excellent. there are asian uses, too. With your pasta, try adding it at the end as a garnish rather than in the sauce - the fresh flavor will come thru better.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: jen kalb
                          pitu RE: jen kalb May 29, 2009 12:45 PM

                          on the red sauce suggestion, there's a Batali basil-artichoke-pancetta-lamb sugo that's been talked about a bunch on this board that is delicious.
                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5614...
                          FN recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ma...

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                          tundrah RE: ChrisKC May 29, 2009 12:53 PM

                          I like it sliced finely and added into my tuna salad/tuna melts along with red onion, celery and mayo. Gives it a little unique punch that regular old tuna is missing.

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