Monday, October 11, 2010

basil, basil, basil!

By far, the most overwhelmingly successful thing we grew this summer was the genovese basil. Started from seed, we ended up with 4 huge plants over 3' tall and about 2-3' around. I've been using as much as I can throughout the season - caprese salads, fresh basil in tomato sauces, with fish, with my eggplant, & in scrambled eggs with feta (yum) & giving it away in handfuls.

Recently, it's started to get a bit chilly around here - even close to freezing one night last week, so I'm scrambling to cut the basil while I can and find ways to use it! Some of it has already developed some black spots from getting too cold. But it does make a beautiful bouquet. :)

It also makes for some delicious and easy recipes - perfect for a beginner cook like me. First, I tried a new basil marinade (recipe here) and, wow, it is delicious. I used about half of the bunch pictured above & it made about 3 cups, so I froze two in Ball Freezer Containers. What I didn't freeze was used tonight on some chicken and cauliflower, which the boyfriend devoured while raving about the marinade! It's also quite good as a simple salad dressing. Plus it's a beautiful shade of alien goo green. Definitely a keeper for the recipe file.

The rest of the cuttings went to a simple, but delicious pesto, which also went into the freezer and, along with the previous batch, should last us several months.

There's still a bunch of basil out there because I knew I couldn't use it all last weekend and, frankly, I'm still having a hard time admitting it's season is over. :P Maybe I'll get bold and try to go all Top Chef with a basil ice cream! (though I wouldn't have any idea if it tasted as it should, it sounds like a delicious experiment) Or maybe I'll be lazy and it will go into the dehydrator. ;D

Sunday, October 10, 2010

whirlwind weeks

Wow - the past few weeks have flown by! One convention in Seattle followed by another the next week at home - both were excellent, but definitely wiped me out with all the go-go-go. Somehow, I thought it would be a great idea to end 7 straight days of 'always-on' work and travel by getting up early the next day and going apple picking with friends.

Turns out I was right - it was an awesome way to decompress and have some fun with cool people. (Check out my friend Shannon's post too :)

and spend the day with my cutie.

I ended up bringing home about 13lbs of apples (mostly golden delicious)... 

a few pumpkins for eating/baking...
and one pumpkin that will become the boyfriend's "Domo kun Pumpkin" carving masterpiece. :D

So, what to do with all those apples? Apple crumb pie!
I'm so glad I hung on to this goodie from my grandmother:

It clamps to the counter and very quickly peels & cores the apples beautifully! Now that I've actually used it, it won't be relegated to the unreachable pantry shelf anymore.

Because I only take a once a week 'anything goes day' with my diet, I decided individual mini pies would be better than a giant one that went to waste/waist. ;)

So, yeah, that used about 6 apples. I still have about 10lbs of them to go. (and I questioned whether or not I'd picked enough as we left Eckert's. haha! uhm, I think I'm covered.)

The remaining apples are destined for