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Tag: basil

Song of Summer: Corn, Tomato, & Basil Salad

Sweet corn. Tangy tomato. Pungent basil. It doesn’t get more summery. Put them together, and you pretty much have the apotheosis of hot weather deliciousness. And put them together we shall, tossed together with a lightning quick vinaigrette that delivers a little extra zing that makes this easy salad compulsively nibbleable.

Given that this is the glory season of spectacular beefsteak heirloom tomatoes, I feel kind of dreadful recommending cherry tomatoes for this… but they really work better. The big tomatoes, delicious as they are, kind of break down and get all weepy while the little ones hold their shape and flavor better. I’ve made this several times since the version pictured, and it’s just better with the baby tomatoes. Keep your big fancy tomatoes for eating on their own or in a Caprese salad.

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Hello, Austin? Basil Exposition here…

So, this here basil with the teeny tiny little leaves? You must go forth and get yourself a pot, like, STAT. I’ve totally fallen in love with its uber-pungent, peppery flavor and frankly, it’s adorable.

I bought it a few weeks ago during a trip out to the suburban wilds buying supplies for this year’s balco-garden based solely on the facts that a) it was a basil and b) that it was cute.

A few days later, however, I was out for dinner with friends at Vidalia (verdict: eh…) and my swordfish had been sprinkled with these familiar-looking little leaves. I was blown away by the intensity and depth of their flavor–what looked like a throw-away garnish of microgreens actually contributed a welcome wallop of fresh, intense basil-y-ness.

Suffice to say, I was stoked to have some already growing at home, where I’ve been tossing it over salads and quickly-cooked pastas to great effect. It’s easy to snip of a few clusters of leaves and then just give them a quick snip over finished dishes. And, given its bushy growth habit, the plant looks none the worse for wear either, which is nice.

On the topic of growing things, I was NOT impressed with my other herbs last year (I’m looking at you, Tarragon), so this year I decided to stack the deck with tasty–and famously agressive–basils and mints and just buy other stuff by the bunch at the market.

So far, this plan seems to be working well, with the basils (Genovese, Thai, and tiny leaf), the peppermint, and something called “basil-mint” (?) growing like gangbusters around the lantana Mr. T insisted I stuff in with the herbs and duking it out for total planter dominance.

Since both the closely-related basil and mint can be easily water-propagated, I’ve already got a couple of additional plants sprouting away in a jar. The bigger basils tend to get leggy and bolt if you’re not watching them closely, so taking regular cuttings helps keep them short and sweet all summer long. Now I just need to think up some ways to use all this tastiness. Suggestions?

ToMAYto, ToMAHto: Summer Stuffed Tomatoes

Naturally, now that I’ve totally missed the deadline for the Post’s annual summer tomato recipe contest, I found myself with a big handful of home-grown Juliette tomatoes–from my boss’ garden, no less. Given this somewhat belated bounty’s very special provenance, I felt the need to do something special with them.  As I toyed with them in my office trying not to just eat them there and then, it occurred that they’re a lovely size for stuffing–petite oblongs just shy of 2″ long. Perfect for a nice cocktail nibble.

But… the stuffing. I knew what I didn’t want in the filling for my summery tomatoes: anything bready, cheesy, hot or heavy. I did, however, want to include sundried tomato to punch up the flavor. What else could improve tomato but another form of tomato? Well, how about some basil, garlic, and briny caper? To stick it all together cream cheese could have been just the thing, but then I wouldn’t have been able to eat them. Boo. So I turned to cannellini beans, my secret weapon for turning just about anything (savory) vegan. With a tomato-y riff on my beloved Tuscan bean dip, I’d have a tasty filling for my fancy fresh produce. Excellent.

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Gyspy Eggs, Peas and (basil) Leaves!

Baked eggs, with spicy ground pork, tomato sauce, peas, opal and genovese basil.

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From Tomato to Tomato, Potato, Green Bean Summer Salad

In the beginning, there was a single, baby heirloom tomato. My inspiration. And one I couldn’t stop capturing.

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When Life Gives You Yellow Beans, Make Yellow Beans

Pan roasted, with salt, pepper, olive oil and fresh-torn basil.

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