Basil is abundant now so I am always looking for ways to use it such as in these Lemon Cakes with Lemon Basil Syrup. We all know that means pesto time as well. Pesto is a cook’s way of preserving the goodness of basil for use at a later time. As long as you have a food processor there is never a reason to let any pesto go to waste. Gillian and Caitie made pesto as did I when we were fortunate enough to get it in our CSA box. That very same week my good friend Cindy made pesto and blogged about it and kindly revealed her secret pesto ingredient, lemon juice. I scoffed at first because, like all cooks, I thought nobody could beat my pesto recipe but Cindy was right. In the blind taste test it was the addition of just a bit of lemon juice that took my recipe to a new height.
I was lucky enough to get two bundles with my CSA because somebody put a bunch in the exchange basket. I snapped it up! With most of it I made pesto (of course) because I needed a cup of it for a Pasta Pesto and Peas salad I had on the menu for a family picnic last weekend. Like most of my “secret recipes” this one was Ina Garten’s first and it has become a ‘go to’ recipe for me for picnics and potlucks year after year. I had plenty of pesto left over so in addition to using it on some broiled tomatoes I used some for a pizza sauce when I had to find a way to use up the rest of last week’s basket!
I don’t think that there is anything that isn’t made better with a little pesto on it. This past week pesto found its way onto grilled and roasted veggies, into a turkey sandwich, and even into a salad dressing. Fresh basil itself, however, is just as easy to use on its own. In fact, the many Persians I know eat it just as is, fresh, as a palatte cleanser with other fresh herbs like tarragon. Its actually quite good. I was at a party at my friend Meshia’s house and look what she did with fresh basil: Mini caprese salads! They were so pretty on the platter that I had to take a picture of them.
Just thread the marinaded mozzarella balls on a toothpick with a basil leaf and a cherry tomato. Serve with a dipping sauce of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. How easy is that? Have a few sprigs left? I made a simple syrup with lemon zest and a handful of basil leaves for these lemon basil cakes. In fact, the syrup is now in my refridgerator begging to be used for some new invention.
Now onto dessert!
Lemon Cakes with Lemon Basil Syrup
Any more ideas?
Will we get any more basil this week?