Tag Archives: basil

Nut-free pesto and creamy pesto pasta

I have a love/hate relationship with nuts.

Love because they taste delicious and I wants to eat them.

Hate…because they don’t like me so much.

Specifically, they make my tongue and face itchy. Now, I’ve been told by “doctors” that this is an “allergic reaction,” and I could possibly go into “anaphylactic shock” if I continue to eat them, but what do they know?

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Still, until I figure out a way to scratch the inside of my eustachian tubes when they get all itchy (the most infuriating feeling ever), I will avoid tree nuts. Or at least until I make another appointment with my allergist to determine which tree nuts are off limits.

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So, uh, what they hell do I do when my basil plant, which started out as less than 6 inches tall, grows to be over 3 feet tall and just as wide? Obviously the first thing to pop into my mind was to make pesto. It would use a LOT of the plant, and I could trim it down and give some of the more crowded stalks some breathing room.

Trouble is, I have no idea how I will react to pine nuts. So we do an experiment: Buy expensive pine nuts. Eat one. Tongue is itchy. Damn it!

Repeat for posterity. Itchy tongue. Son of a bitch. Granted, it could very well be psychosomatic (in my head) but I refuse to believe I would create an adverse reaction to something I want to eat so badly. Besides, they are so delicious 🙁 Continue reading


Filed under Entrée

Toasted baguettes with goat cheese, basil, and shallots


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You know how oftentimes at a party, the first appetizer to disappear is the simplest one? People will always love complicated dips, and food wrapped in other foods of course, but sometimes they just want something safe and delicious. Well, these toasted baguettes are easy to make and as non-threatening as you can get with an appetizer, and each bite packs a big punch of fresh flavor.

I don’t need to write paragraphs about how delicious these are, because I’m pretty sure that by reading “toasted baguettes with goat cheese, basil, and shallots,” you acquired a general idea of what they taste like. So lets skip right to the chase! Continue reading


Filed under Appetizer

Grilled plank salmon with garlic basil butter

2011 will forever be remembered as “the summer of barbecuing.” On that first warm day in April, when I rolled the small, dirty grill out onto the driveway and when, after staring at it for a few minutes, I had to go back inside and ask my mom how they hell you light it, I had no idea that in just a few short months I would have acquired grilling skills to rival those of my father.

And then I would surpass him in skill (Sorry dad, if you’re reading this. There was that one time where you had a gas leak under the grill and it was engulfed in flames!), at least when considering variety of foods I prepared and the consistency of quality. (Again, sorry dad.)

So in August, when I found out that Woot.com was offering 12 cedar grilling planks for $9.oo, I jumped on that deal right away. I’ve always wanted to try grilling salmon on a plank, as apposed to the other hundred ways it can be prepared, because it seems so fancy. It was bittersweet when they arrived, however, because it had already started growing colder, it was getting darker much earlier, and I knew that grilling season was almost over.

But not before I tried out these planks!

You will need:

  • 1 cedar plank
  • 1 1/2-2 lbs salmon
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 6 -7 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt & pepper
Active time: 10 minutes
Total time: 40-50 minutes
Serves: 4


The first step is to soak the plank in water. The longer you can do this, the better. In case you think you can get away with a ten minute soak, this is what happens:

That is me, holding a charred plank. It caught fire and before I could run in to the house, grab some water and run back out, it had completely ignited. The poor thing never stood a chance.

So yeah, soak your planks. You can weigh it down with a can of soup or spaghettios to keep it submerged.

*True story: my mom got really worried because she saw the can of spaghettios next to the salmon and thought I was taking my obsession a little too far, and was going to make spaghettios salmon. Gross…

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Filed under Entrée

Baked artichokes with lemon and basil

I’m really excited about artichokes. I had a single leaf back in July, and since then, I’ve made them three times. I think they’re a lot of fun to eat, and I like that if you put the effort in, you’re rewarded when you get to the amazing center (artichoke hearts! Who knew I would like this stuff?)

This is my favorite recipe that I’ve found, and I like that you don’t need a dipping sauce. I made this once before with my friend Ken, and they turned out so phenomenal that we were all in shock. This time they were still great, but because we were rushing to get to the movie, we did not put the effort in that I did the first time.

So first you have to wash the artichokes, and then cut the tops of the leaves. Using kitchen scissors (or if you’re like me and don’t have any, regular scissors) you trim the tops of the leaves. I trim from the bottom up until I can’t get my scissors between the leaves anymore, because they are so tightly packed. This makes them look nice! (and keeps you from getting stabbed by the pointy ends, which I’ve done)

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