Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bringing Fresh Herbs in the Kitchen

Fresh herbs should be in the kitchen, for easy access.  Sometimes, plain inertia (laziness) gets in the way of going out in the rain (or blinding sunshine here in the tropics) to snip a few choice herbs from the garden.

I've discovered two ways to merge gardening and cooking duties:  I bring sprigs of fresh basil into the kitchen, trim down the lower leaves, and place them in jars with water.

Once I have harvested most of the leaves, I retain some on the sprig, and let the cuttings root out.  These cuttings can then be planted out in the garden, ensuring I have a continuous supply of fresh herbs.

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Sprigs of basil in the living room.  I'm waiting for these cuttings to develop roots.  The cuttings benefit from the filtered sunlight coming through the windows.

I have a bed of herbs that grew wild among the potted plants in the garden.  The plants are the offspring from a potted basil that dropped mature seeds from the dried seed heads.  Since the second generation basil had access to the fertile ground, they grew more lush compared to the parent plants which were confined in the tight dimensions of their pots.

The tops are just calling out to be made into pesto.  I like the leaves on the ends of the sprigs best.  They seem less bitter, and for sprinkling over chopped tomatoes, their tender textures work best.

This morning, I had an impromptu salad of sliced tomatoes and ripe mangoes, with chopped fresh basil, drizzled with a vinaigrette of olive oil and cider vinegar.  Topped with a hardboiled egg and eaten with Sauteed Bangus Belly and rice.  

Well, all I can say is I'm pretty happy with that meal!


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