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basil

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Freezing herbs and other methods to make them last all winter

The cool, fall weather has been here long enough that most gardens are finally on their last leg. For many, the biggest draw of a home garden is the easy access to fresh herbs. But soon it will be too cold, and there won’t be any herbs left to pick straight from the garden — they will have all bolted for the winter months. So what can you do to prolong access to your herb garden? Each herb favors different types of treatments, so Doug Oster, garden editor for the Tribune-Review and Everybodygardens.com gave us the dirt on how to best save each of the common herbs in the coming winter months. Move Indoors If you grew herbs in containers this summer, some of them may continue to thrive if you bring them indoors. “There are certain herbs that will happily keep going on the window sill,” said Oster. “Rosemary, thyme, sage, mint, lemon balm. Those will be happy to limp along near…

Caprese garlic bread, a can’t miss

Garlic bread and sauce can be a meal in my house. But what do you do to give an upgrade to this basic bread staple? Add melty mozzarella, fresh sliced tomatoes and green basil, of course. Serve as a side with pasta, or eat all on its own. Caprese Garlic Bread Serves 6-8  Ingredients 1 loaf Italian bread, halved 1 stick butter, softened 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella 2 medium tomatoes, sliced 1/4 cup balsamic reduction 6-8 fresh basil leaves, sliced Himalayan cooking and table salt Directions  Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a medium bowl, add butter, garlic and salt. Mash together until soft and blended. Spread mixture on both halves of bread. Place bread halves on a baking sheet, and bake about 15 minutes or until bread is lightly toasted and just barely brown. Evenly sprinkle the mozzarella over both halves of the loaf. Top with tomato slices, and bake…

Restaurant quality at home with roasted red pepper sauce pizza, pasta

It’s good for our tastebuds if we mix things up every so often. Try this roasted red pepper sauce on anything you would typically top with a tomato sauce for an instant, restaurant-worthy upgrade. It’s a unique flavor all on its own, and it will give new life to those dishes you’ve made dozens or even hundreds of times before. It looks like tomato sauce, but the creamy, fiery flavor will surely make you a fan. Roasted Red Pepper Sauce Ingredients 16 oz. jar of roasted red peppers 2 tbsp water 2.5 tbsp butter 3-4 cloves of garlic 1 tbsp dried basil 1 tbsp dried oregano 1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional) healthy dose of fresh cracked pepper 1/3 cup heavy cream (if using on pizza, use 1/4 or less) Directions Add peppers to blender along with 1-2 tbsp of extra liquid from the jar they came in. It’s a bit acidic, but can…

Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Tortellini with creamy spinach and cheese sauce

It’s a classic combo that never disappoints: Sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, basil, garlic and fresh mozzarella. This modern variation on those Old-World flavors is easy to make, but tastes like something you would order at your favorite Italian restaurant. Be sure to serve with some slices of crusty bread to soak up the creamy mozzarella sauce. The fresher the ingredients, the better your dish will be. Since it’s summer, definitely go for fresh basil — maybe grown in your own yard. And pro tip: always spring for fresh cheeses, particularly parmesan. Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Tortellini with creamy spinach and cheese sauce Serves 3-4: 30 minutes Ingredients 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes separated from oil (I like to visit my local grocer’s antipasto bar for freshness) 2-3 tbsp oil (drained from sun dried tomatoes, see above) 4-5 cloves garlic, finely minced 2 big handfuls of spinach (about 3-4 ounces) 1 and 1/4 cup half and half…

Basil Pesto with Almonds Ready in Minutes

When a recipe calls for an ingredient that requires a special trip to the store, I find it rarely gets made. That’s been the situation with me and pesto. Does anyone really have pine nuts handy? This recipe is great because the almonds easily substitute for pine nuts, and most of us have almonds stocked in the pantry. Just about any nuts will add a nice crunch, really. A medley of almonds, pine nuts, and walnuts would add great texture and flavor. Pesto is easy to jar and save all year, but enjoy it fresh, now that basil is growing abundantly in the garden. To make this recipe, simply add all ingredients to a food processor or high power blender, and pulse until ingredients are chopped finely. Pesto works well with chicken, vegetables, pasta, grilled sandwiches, Caprese salads and more. Pesto with Almonds Ingredients 3 cups packed fresh basil (or about 3 ounces)…