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I’ve managed to keep a fresh basil plant alive since bringing it home from the nursery almost 2 weeks ago – which basically makes me a farmer, in my opinion, anyway. My new vocation aside, however, this adorable new addition to my kitchen has meant that  – from bruschetta to sauces to eggs – my family and guests have been tasting basil in some form with almost every meal. This Basil and Tomato Pesto is a tasty alternative to traditional pestos, uses much less basil, and makes a great challah dip for Shabbos.  These tuna patties and easy, easy (cannot stress enough) salads are also perfect for a fresh first course… so with nothing left to add, enjoy!

Basil & Tomato Pesto

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Ingredients:

  • 15 Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1 cup Pine Nuts
  • 4-5 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 cup Fresh Basil
  • 1/4 cup Lemon Juice
  • Sprinkle of Salt
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Lay Tomatoes, Pine Nuts and peeled Garlic Cloves in 1/4 in. deep Oil Olive and roast in pre-heated oven on 375 F for 15 mins. Remove from oven and let cool for half an hour. Blend together with remaining ingredients. Serve warm/hot. Also makes a tasty hot/cold pasta sauce.

Italian Tuna Patties

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Ingredients:

  • 5 x 5 oz cans Tuna in water, drained
  • 1 cup Flour (I used Oat)
  • 6 oz can Tomato Paste
  • 1 Onion
  • 4-6 cloves Garlic
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 cup Fresh Basil
  • sprinkle of Salt/Pepper
  • Oil for frying

Blend first 8 ingredients together. Let sit for 10 minutes. Shape into walnut-sized patties and fry in pre-heated oil on medium/medium high around 5 minutes on each side. Drain. Serve warm or cold. These freeze well.

Balsamic-Baked Peach and Arugula Salad

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Ingredients:

  • 5 oz bag of Baby Arugula
  • 1 1/2 cups Sliced Almonds
  • 2 Peaches or Nectarines
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup Fresh Basil leaves (optional)
  • Salt/Pepper for Seasoning

Sprinkle Almonds onto a baking tray. Slice Peaches into wedges and place on a separate tray. Drizzle Peach wedges with Balsamic and Olive Oil and bake both components on 350 F for 12-15 mins. Cool. Toss with Arugula. Add finely chopped Basil (optional). Drizzle with extra Oil and Balsamic Vinegar, and season to taste.

Last Minute Cherry Tomato and Basil Salad

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Ingredients:

  • Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
  • Fresh Basil
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt/Pepper

Slice Tomatoes. Mix with chopped Basil. Drizzle with Olive Oil. Season to taste.