Tuesday, August 21, 2007

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"0" Mile Meal.
And this is my submission for hosted by Scott of Real Epicurean. This post was prewritten before I left on a cruise to the Alaskan panhandle. (I am posting from the ship - the cruise is going BEAUIFULLY. But we don't arrive at port until tomorrow, first stop - Sitka. Will post photos after returning home. The naturalist on board is giving us pointers on where to look for and spot the wildlife, and has informed us in a very interesting way about the habitat of Alaska.)


I was so chirpy about my success keeping my potted basil alive and healthy, that I bought another! I gave it the same tender loving care that I did the one above, but somehow it failed to thrive. I can't quite figure it out, but it kept having droopy leaves, and parts of the stem would blacken. I suspect that it must have received some rough treatment prior to my purchase. Not wanting my friend Jo-Ann to feel like she had done something wrong with it while in her care, I decided to harvest it prior to the cruise. And thus, basil has become my featured herb for this post.

basil leaf

I wrote of basil in my WHB post in late July, so I wonder what new and interesting facts I can find? Well here are a few bullet points:
  • It's used widely in the cosmetic industry (for what I don't know...)
  • Salome hid the head of John the Baptist in a pot of basil.
  • and "Beware of Italian men wearing basil." Why? because "in some parts of Italy, men still wear a sprig of basil in their lapel if they are looking for a mate."

Basil and Garlic in Blender

At any rate, I had decided to harvest all the remaining leaves on the sad pot of basil, so washed and put them in the blender with three cloves of garlic. Can you guess what I'm making?

Whole Wheat Pasta with Pesto

You are right, pesto! I didn't measure anything, but I believe this recipe is very forgiving. And my recipe doesn't add cheese into the sauce, but you add it at the table. After blending the above with some extra virgin olive oil, I poured it into a pot and added a generous amount of pine nuts. I then brought it all to boil, adding a little sea salt, and poured it over some whole wheat penne. Tableside, Dad and I topped it with some Parmesan cheese and stirred, and the above photo shows the results. A simple and homey mix, with a "0" mile ingredient dominating the dish. Fresh and good, I'll have to do it again when I return home and take my healthy basil plant from the care of my friend Jo-Ann.


Elle said...

Glad that the cruise is going well and envious that you are learning so much about Alaska's wildlife. The pesto looks so good and fresh. Great way to leave home.

Kalyn said...

Hi Anna,
Pesto is so wonderful isn't it? I made some recently too, and put it in the freezer for winter. I've never had good luck growing basil in pots, but it grows in the dirt pretty well for me. Maybe your second plant was just planted early this season, after all, basil is an annual?

Di-Di said...

Spring is only starting in South Africa, so we can't wait for the first basil to be ready for harvest. Great tip to add the cheese at the table.