Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Basil and Oregano Tips

So many recipes call for FRESH BASIL. I love it and I try to grow plenty in the summer. If you run out or do not have access to fresh basil, take a look in the refrigerated section of the fresh vegetable aisle and find the plastic containers of Pesto. There will often be such things as Hummus in the same area. These are so much cheaper than the bottled varieties and the fresh basil for sale there! It will keep for quite some time in the refrigerator. It does go down hill of course, but even if it is not fresh as a daisy, it is better than dry. I stir a tablespoon into sauces, and I paint the pizza crust with it before I put the tomato on and paint the bread for tomato and mozzarella sandwiches. Curiously enough, I am happy to eat pasta with Pesto, but it is not my favorite.

Like fresh basil, this is not meant to be cooked. Perhaps a minute or so if you must, but just as you take it off the heat is best. The Parmesan mixed into it will stick to the pan if you cook it for long.

PS...Make your own!

Curiously, Oregano is much better dried. Plant some. It grows in big mats with absolutely no care. Clip large bouquets of it. Wrap the stems of the bouquet tightly with an elastic, and hang it upside down to dry in a dark but airy place. Once it is completely dry, and I do mean completely, put the bunches in big plastic bags. If not completely dry it will mold. Flick the bunches like wands over your cooking food or rub them lightly between your palms to release more. Do not use Mexican has no power. It looks and smells nice growing though.

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