Sunday, May 21, 2017

My basil!

I *love* basil. I have a window box in my living room window full of basil. Between Margherita pizza and Bruschetta and Caprese salad and pesto not to mention sandwiches...I just *love* basil. I grow basil in pots all year long but it's especially prolific in the summertime. So...I have this window box in my living room window and my basil just isn't doing well. I don't know why. It's all laying down flat, wilted and dying. I mean really, basil is easy...it's like a weed. Grows like crazy.

There's no evidence of the (stupid) cat messing with it and ...well...I got it. I glance over the other day and...

The little bastard

That's why my basil hasn't been doing well! So I booby trapped it! I stuck a bunch of bamboo skewers in the window box and hardly a day later? My basil looks a *lot* better!

Basil marinara:

I got this recipe off the web a few years ago.  It's supposedly a genuine Tuscan recipe.

Sauté a yellow onion in olive oil.  Add a 28 oz. can of ground peeled tomatoes.  Simmer that for 15 minutes.  Resist all temptation to add garlic or anchovies.  Take it off the heat and mix in like a cup of whole basil leaves. And a splash of extra virgin olive oil.  Serve that with some pasta.  I like thin spaghetti.  The idea is to have a nice whole wilted basil leaf in every bit of pasta.

*Insanely* good.  Light and bright and refreshing.  Of course Chianti or Toscana is the *perfect* pairing.

Edited to add:  I also include a pinch of red pepper flakes in my marinara.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The best of 2016?

Really? No way! This...is tempeh. It's a dried, pressed tofu product from Indonesia.


Here's what it looks like when you open the package:


When finely chopped up it has a texture a lot like ground beef. And like any tofu product it's..almost completely flavorless. You can Google tempeh recipes. There are a lot of them out there. Many are Middle Eastern and of course Indonesian. Think peanut sauce. I often run it over the coarse face of a box grater and make a vegetarian chili with it. Or mix it up with taco seasoning for a taco. Or even use it for American Chop Suey (which I'm told is a uniquely New England dish).

But I think I came up with this one myself. Inspired by a taco one night. I cut the tempeh on its face at an angle to form planks. I mix them with barbecue sauce. I make a really nice barbecue sauce. Basically it's a dry rub with some ketchup, cider vinegar, molasses, some mustard and whatever hot sauce I'm in the mood for. I let that sit in the refrigerator overnight.


Put the barbecue sauce marinated tempeh in a baking dish and heat it for 10 minutes in a 350° (F) oven. Serve it on a whole wheat hamburger bun, on some lettuce with a little more barbecue sauce. And some thinly sliced onions.

And I swear. It was the very *best* thing I ate in 2016. Much to my surprise.


Here. Take a closer look. Try one sometime!

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