Friday, August 24, 2012

What to do with all that basil

Last week my handsome boyfriend snagged me a half-share of a CSA share. (That's community supported agrigulture for the uninitiated.) It just so happened that his co-worker was going out of town, and didn't want his bundle of fresh produce to go to waste.

And let me tell you, it did not go to waste.

We got some tiny peaches, ears of sweet corn, juicy tomatoes, and a rainbow of peppers. But most importantly, we got a gigundous bundle of basil.

For me, basil is synonymous with summer. I like it best fresh out of the mud, but since I'm now a city dweller, I've been settling for kind you get at the grocery, roots attached. I actually had a batch of supermarket basil sitting pretty on my counter when I brought home the CSA share, and that farm-fresh basil blew the grocery leaves out of the water.

But the thing with fresh basil is, once you pick it, even if you store it properly, it only lasts so long. So here are three things to do with that wonderful stuff. (Pesto seems obvious, but it's something I never get around to making, for some reason.)

Three ways to use fresh basil

1. Caprese (duh)

2. Grilled margherita pizza

3. Basil syrup

Making basil syrup is just like making simple syrup. Take equal parts sugar and water (I used 2 cups each) and add a healthy handful of fresh basil leaves. (I didn't measure, but I think you know what I mean by 'healthy handful.')

Simmer it. You want the sugar to dissolve and the basil to really flavor the syrup.

I left mine cooling while I walked down the street to buy an old-fashioned milk bottle to store it in. (I needed it!)

But once you've made it, what do you put basil syrup on?

A sundae!

A cocktail! (I get a frozen lemonade from the Dunkin Donuts across the street, bring it home, dump it in a fancy glass, add gin and basil syrup, and pretend I'm fancy! It would also probably work with regular old unfrozen lemonade, too.)

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