Basil… it’s not just for pesto anymore

We have a plot in our community garden this year, which, unfortunately, due to the fact that the garden wasn’t ready until late, most everything we’ve planted isn’t doing all that well. That is, everything BUT the basil. We planted four different basil plants (two “normal” (aka sweet Italian) basil and two lemon basil plants. And they grew like weeds. So, I’ve already made a batch of pesto, but we don’t eat that much pesto, so I’ve been on the lookout for other interesting recipes to make using basil. Normally I am looking for recipes that use a LOT of it (since I have a lot of it), but when I cam across this recipe for basil ice cream, I couldn’t resist (in spite of only using 3 tablespoons of chopped basil).

While making it, I was a little nervous because the mixer I own (other than the kitchenaid which is just too large for this recipe) only can mix on high speed (it basically got dropped years ago while my sister and I were making something, and ever since then only the highest speed works on it). Yes, I should just get a new mixer, but it still works… well, sort of. Anyway, so while making this recipe, I was worried that I had foam instead of milk and egg, so was a little worried that it wouldn’t turn out ok, but it did. And, I must say, it’s delicious! Some of the reviews said it tasted like pot. Well, having never tasted pot, I can’t say if that’s true or not, but I can say it’s quite tasty. Not as sweet as most desserts, and a much more subtle flavor. And a lovely light green color with flecks of green basil in it. So, will I make it again? Most definitely. After all, this batch probably won’t last long and I’m sure in mid winter when I’m craving ice cream (while bundled under a quilt), I will long for this fresh Summer taste of basil, and will be glad I made some extra batches. 🙂

Such a beautiful green color before adding the cream and freezing

Makes me think of the Bill Cosby sketch when he's trying to convince himself that feeding his kids chocolate cake for breakfast is a good idea. Milk! Eggs! Basil! These are all healthy!

Trying a Trifle

One of my college roommates, Angi, has a food blog, Rice and Wheat, that is light years beyond what this blog ever hopes to be. She recently guest posted on another food blog about making a trifle. The photos she takes are absolutely phenomenal, and it made me very eager to try a trifle of my own! We had some friends coming over for dinner a couple weeks ago, so I thought I would try it for that. I had both peaches and raspberries to add as the fruits, so I was ready to go!

The recipe was actually quite easy to follow. I think I had some issues with the cake, since I’m at altitude and Angi isn’t. So my cake ended up looking a little like a mushroom that exploded.

The trifle after coming out of the oven. Hmm. Not so pretty...

But, conveniently, you chop up the cake before serving, so nobody had to know I had this ugly mushroom-top cake. 🙂
So, I made everything else according to her recipe and was so excited to assemble it all. I had a large bowl, but it didn’t have clear sides, so I thought it would be prettier to get to see all the wonderful cream, custard, cake and fruit from the side. Too bad I didn’t think through it all. I had WAY too much food to fit into the tiny little clear bowl I had. Suffice it to say that it tasted way better than it looked. 🙂 But, luckily, we have very kind friends who kept telling me how great it looked!

The poor finished trifle trying to squeeze itself into this tiny bowl. I'm sure it has self-esteem issues now. But we all told it how good it tasted and it felt better.

So, all in all, it turned out great. But next time I will definitely use the large blue bowl and just deal with the fact that you can’t see all the delicious layers from the side.

Canned peaches… can there really be anything better?

So, when I found a recipe last year on the blog, Consider the Pantry, called “The Teaches of Canned Peaches” that included a recipe for *lavender* canned peaches, I was in high heaven! The lavender adds both a taste and smell that is just amazing. And, sadly, that link has been killed as well. 😦 I think you could basically make any normal canned peaches recipe and the key is to take about 1 tablespoon of lavender (food-grade from a spice shop), tie it in some cheese cloth, and put it into your simple syrup while cooking. This site also has a recipe where they pour the lavender directly in, but I personally think eating little lavender buds would be annoying. However, you could likely follow their recipe and just cook the lavender in the honey syrup and then remove it before putting the syrup into the jars.

And of all things to can, this one is pretty darn easy. I’d rank it easier than jam. So it’s a pretty good way to get started into the world of canning, should that be something you’d like to try.

We just got another giant box of peaches from our CSA yesterday, so I’ll be canning more lavender peaches, but I also plan on making some of the brandied ones too. I don’t even know if I like brandy, but this fascinates me. 🙂 (Update: be sure you like brandy. These were *very* strongly flavored and I didn’t like them much because of that).

Peaches waiting to be drowned in yummy lavender syrup!