Basil Mountain

Friday morning I got up all primed to spend the day sewing. Vince was out of town.  Chad was working.  About 7:30 I had finished my morning chores.  The oil change guy was going to be here at 8 to get my car so I figured . . no need to go downstairs and start sewing so I went out to visit with the chickens and get the early eggs.  That’s when I made the mistake of looking over at the basil.  It’s out of control!  In my previous gardens, I’ve always planted 6 or 8 basil plants and never have they produced enough for me to have a lot in the freezer.  This year . . it just won’t stop.  I picked part of one plant and filled a laundry basket.  This is about half of what I picked.

Washed it, plucked the leaves off -

It’s pretty . . kinda reminds me of the color of my new weed eater!  :)  I made more pesto.  I chopped some, added a little olive oil and lemon juice and froze in ice cube trays.

Dumped it and put the cubes in a zipper freezer bag.  The plain basil for soups and stews or spaghetti sauce will be loose in the zipper bag.

All the pesto is wrapped in individual little mounds in plastic wrap and then put into a zipper bag so I can keep it all straight.  I’m thankful that we have enough pesto to make it through the year, enough plain chopped basil to make it through the year and a garden still full of basil!  Not sure what made this year’s crop grow so well but I sure like it.

Out of the Dehydrator

This time of year, the dehydrator is rarely empty.  In a couple of months, it will sit idle til Chad wants a batch of jerky.  This morning I emptied out chili peppers, basil and cherry tomatoes.

The basil went into the blender.

Where it was ground down to almost nothing.

That was put through a mesh strainer to get the stems and larger pieces out.

I’ll end up with several half pints of basil to get me through winter.  If I have more than that, I’ll give it to friends to help get them through winter!  Did you know all it takes is a little fresh tasting basil to chase away the winter blahs?  :)

The tomatoes were put in the blender.  And, because I don’t care if there’s a tiny bit of basil flavor in the tomatoes, I didn’t even have to wash the blender between loads.

The tomatoes were pulverized.  I recommend ear plugs or some type hearing protection for this step.  Those tomatoes are loud in the blender. The powder was added to a jar I’d started last week and now I have a full jar.

The chili peppers were placed in a zipper bag.  I want them to be dried some more but I’ll wait til I have something else to put in with them.

It’s not much work at all but it will make a big difference in some of the foods I cook this winter.

Pesto

This is the first summer in at least 4 years that I’ve had enough basil to make pesto.  Since I didn’t have a fenced in deer proof area, I’d only had a few pots of it growing on the deck and it doesn’t grow in pots like it grows in the ground . . not for me anyway.  All week I’d planned to make pesto but had to can tomatoes one day, green beans the next and just hadn’t gotten around to it.  Yesterday evening when I was out watering, I looked at the basil that was about to make seeds and said . . you have to cut that basil back .. tonight! So, I trimmed 3 of the 8 plants and this is how much I ended up with.  I tried stuffing it in the colander to wash but it overflowed and took way longer to snip the leaves and wash them than it actually did to make the pesto.

Here’s how I make mine:

Pesto:

2 cups as full as you can fill them of washed basil leaves (mash them down and get as many as you can in the cup)
1/4 – 3/8 cup olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 T. chopped garlic
1 T. Fruit Fresh or lemon juice

In a food processor, chop/blend the olive oil, cheese, pine nuts and garlic.

Add the basil leaves and Fruit Fresh and process til desired consistency.  I like mine just barely chopped up.

Put into small containers and freeze.  I often freeze mine in ice  cube trays but they seem to have disappeared.  Once it’s frozen, dump them into a zipper freezer bag.  For this batch, I filled the little 1/2 cup containers I had and then I sprayed Pam on plastic wrap and wrapped up 1/2 cup amounts.

Then the little packets went into the freezer bag.

This ended up being 6 cups of pesto and I’ll get twice that much when I trim the remaining plants and hopefully, the plants will continue to produce right up til the first frost.   Yep, it’s a very good year for pesto! :)  It’s so easy to make and there’s so much you can do with it and oh . . it’s so good!  It was really hard to keep my spoon out of that but it was kinda late at night to be eating so much garlic.  You never know though . . we could have vampires.  Maybe I should . . nevermind . . I’m not eating it all.  I’ll be a nice mom/wife and share it with my family.

Turkey Salad

With two of us eating here most days, almost anything I make seems to generate lots of leftovers.  Over the weekend I smoked a turkey breast and on Tuesday I made turkey salad with some of the leftovers.

This is one of those no specific measurements type recipe.  Use whatever amounts you like.  I went heavy on the cilantro because I love it.  What I used were jalapeno pepper (maybe just half of one as big as the one shown), cilantro, onion, chopped celery, pickle relish, turkey, may, salt and pepper.  I chopped the celery instead of putting it in the food processor whole because somethings the food process leaves a few strings and I don’t like those!

Put the meat, jalapeno pepper, and onion in the food processor and process til everything ground together.

Taste to see if it needs more of anything.  If not, add mayo, chopped celery, pickle relish, cilantro, salt and pepper.

Process again, and taste to see if it needs anything else.

I mostly store food in glass jars.  The big one goes into the fridge.  The small one we had for lunch.

Using Post-It Tape, I label the contents/date and stick it in the fridge.  With the small jar, we had sandwiches on King’s Hawaiian Bread with a tomato slice, cucumber slices and a basil leaf.  In the back is a tomato, basil mozzarella salad.  See why I never have enough basil?  We love it!

I asked Vince how he liked the chicken salad.  He said he’d rate it a 9.3.  I asked what it would take for it to get a 10 and he said “If they were bigger!”  Gotta love that man!  :)