My basil went a little nuts while I was on vacation. Shrouded in the unruly tomato brush it grew unsupervised for 10 days. (Tomatoes and basil make good garden companion plants.) The basil became so tall I only harvested the top half of the stalks. Herbs, I should mention, like to be cut. If you see flowers growing on your basil give the plant a nice trim. If you’re not ready to use your basil right away you can just pinch off the tops and get rid of those pretty flowers. Do this so that your herb will continue producing.
Fresh basil is a delightful addition to green salads, eggs, tomato dishes, and sauces. It has many practical applications. My favorite? Pesto. Mmm. Basil pesto is an easily prepared, uncooked sauce with many decadent applications. Love eggs? Scramble them with a little basil pesto. Top a nice fillet of wild caught salmon with pesto. Dollop pesto over a baked potato, stir it into some brown rice, or toss it with fettuccini. Continue reading Please pass the pesto→
What do you do when your garden has blessed you with pounds and pounds…and pounds of tomatoes, more than you can possibly eat? Gazpacho is one answer. Or you can share. But let’s start with gazpacho so you don’t have to. Well, not yet anyway. Not until garden production gets so out of control you dream you are a tomato and you’re going bad.
There are as many ways to make gazpacho as there are varieties of tomatoes. My Garden Fresh Gazpacho recipe calls for fresh, in season tomatoes. I don’t like commercial tomato juice and I find it an unnecessary addition under ideal tomato circumstances. Can’t grow ‘em? Can you make it to a farmers’ market? During the summer I hope you are surrounded by tomatoes.
My gazpacho is on the mild side. I prefer a balance of spice and flavor and avoid palette-crushing volumes of peppers, onions and garlic. I want to taste my damn tomatoes. If you prefer things a little closer to hellfire, then by all means, increase your favorite ingredients. Be sure to have a tall, icy, alcoholic beverage on hand to quench your hot self.
I peel and seed my tomatoes. This is the most labor-intensive part of gazpacho preparation. It sounds psychotically difficult, but it isn’t. Wear an apron.
My Garden Fresh Gazpacho recipe yields 4 servings. It’s a great starter or side dish to your grilled shrimp or fish. Serve it topped with fresh cilantro, avocado, and a turn of the sea salt grinder. If you’re serving this to others (you know, sharing) set out the hot sauce and your lucky guests can customize their experience. Some like it hot.