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Basil State of Mind

Every month, Food Network Magazine focuses on one in-season ingredient and publishes a month of tips for using it. July’s pick: BASIL.

Basil is hands-down one of my favorite culinary herbs.

 Here are a few of the best ideas from the list:

  • A tasty appetizer: Spread ricotta cheese on toasted baguette slices then top with fresh basil and honey
  • Make Green Goddess Potato Salad: Blend 1 cup mayo, 1/4 cup mixed parsley, tarragon and basil, 1 scallion, 1 teaspoon sugar, lemon juice and salt. Toss with 2 pounds boiled halved fingerlings.
  • When basil flowers, it stops producing leaves; pinch the top leaves off your basil plant so it won’t flower.
  • Grill salmon and top it with basil butter for dinner: mash minced basil and lemon zest into softened butter.
  • Make a booze-infused fruit salad: Blend basil with tequila, lime juice and honey; top with cubed watermelon.
  • Did you know basil is a natural bug repellent? Place potted basil where you need to ward off mosquitoes and other undesirables.
  • Basil can help you determine when your knives are dull. Basil turns black quickly when chopped with a dull knife.
  • Party (dip) time! Mix 1 pint sour cream, 1/2 cup pesto (basil pureed with garlic, EVOO and parmesan) and a squeeze of lemon juice. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
  • Bottle your own seasoning: Dry basilleaves in a 200-degree oven for 1 hour, then crumble and mix with sea salt.

    My prefered way of storing fresh basil: In a couple inches of water, outside the fridge, with a bag over its head. Keeps nicely for over a week this way.

 

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