Fresh Basil Selfie

Here comes the fresh and juicy, juicy tomatoes off the local vines.  Here comes the fresh strawberries hand-picked from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  And here comes the abundance of fresh sweet basil from my garden.  Seeing the shiny, glossy green leaves of this special herb is a summer delight.  Touch or rub the leaves and its aromatics lace the air with a spicy and distinguished fragrance.  So, let the foodies challenge begin!  We adore this herb. My summer plates evolve around the inclusion of basil.  And by first frost (Zone 7), fresh basil plants and their bounty will be a fleeting memory and sorely missed.  So, while basil is here, it’s king. (The name Basil comes from the Greek word “Basileus” meaning King or people’s leader).

Here are some simple suggestions for the aforementioned.  You don’t need a recipe, just snip the leaves, cut up the tomatoes, slice the strawberries and make mouth-watering  crowd pleasing and nutritional dishes.  Warning… fresh basil is intoxicating, garden-fresh tomatoes… addictive and fresh strawberries…well there are never enough.

Ugly Tomato, Fresh Mozzarella, Fresh Basil, Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar and French Baguette
Ugly tomato, fresh basil, mozzarella, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, cracked pepper (Caprese) and a French baguette
Prepared platter of fresh tomatoes with fresh Basil, Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar & French Baguette
Voila! It’s all in the presentation and in this case it’s also in the eating.
Ingredients for a strawberry & baby spinach salad
Fresh strawberries, locally grown baby spinach, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, crumbled feta cheese, fresh mint garnish
Strawberry, spinach salad
Ta-da, ingredients assembled & layered for the freshest of fresh strawberry and tender baby spinach salad. In the background is an arrangement from my garden of sweet basil and rosemary.

Maintaining fresh-cut herbs:  Suggest trimming the sprigs in the AM before the heat of the day arrives.  Then immediately rinse under cold water, shake off excess and place the bunch of cut herbs in a container of water.  Place container in a cool place away from sunny windows.  Your bouquet will stay fresh and last a remarkable amount of time, while also bringing in the aromatics of the plant to your kitchen.

 

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