Friday, September 19, 2008

Random Notes

The boys are off at the high school football game tonight so it's just me and the dog. I had all kinds of plans to get a lot of things done today but I ended up in a bit of a mood and got very little done instead. Hmph.

What to do when you're in a bad mood? Bake cookies! I find that when I'm cranky, it's best to stick with something easy and/or tried and true so I chose the Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies that I've posted about before. Yum.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies
Mood Boosters!

I did manage to chop up some tomatoes so that I can crank out some more tomato soup tomorrow. I've come up with a decent system for using up the abundance of tomatoes. Anything that is cracked or too soft gets tossed in the fridge right away. Normally refrigerating tomatoes is a big no-no but if they are going to be cooked down for a soup or a marinara sauce, texture is not going to be an issue anyway and refrigerating them helps to keep them from rotting too fast and keeps the fruit flies from swarming them. I then chop them when I get time - sometimes making the soup right after chopping or else storing them for a few days longer until I have time. It's nice to be able to take a leisurely approach to using them up.

My last random note for the night is about basil. During one of my turns at manning the concession stand, I was talking with the other mom on duty and we started talking about gardening and cooking. She mentioned that she grows basil. Well, at a soccer game the other night she called me over and handed me a clump of basil she had cut out of her garden. It is called Pesto Perpetuo Basil and she said she got it from Burpee (check the Burpee link for a more detailed photo). It didn't even look like basil! With the variegated leaves, it looked like a shrub!

Pesto Perpetuo Basil

When I got home, I looked it up and found some interesting info. Turns out this type of basil does not flower and therefore will not bolt like the popular and widely available sweet basil that I normally grow. That could certainly be a big plus - a basil plant that you don't have to fuss over! I plan to purchase two plants next spring and give this variety a try (along with 2 of the regular sweet basil).

I turned her thoughtful offering into pesto yesterday. I did notice that the leaves were perhaps a bit tougher - not tough, just not as delicate as regular sweet basil and so I had a harder time getting them to puree in the food processor. The taste also seemed a bit sharper or more intense than regular basil but it was hard to tell because I had to augment what she gave me with a bit of basil from the garden in order to get a decent-sized batch of pesto. The leaves on the Pesto basil are much smaller and so even though the bunch she gave me looked quite sizable, it didn't amount to much once I sent it through the food processor.

In any case, I'm intrigued to try growing the Pesto basil next year. It's actually pretty enough to grow as an accent plant anywhere in your yard!

I'd better head off to bed if I plan to get up early for football practice and the farmer's market tomorrow.........


  1. I like to bake when I am in a bad mood too. Which is odd because until I had kids, I didn't like baking much. Although I guess I've ALWAYS liked baking chocolate chip cookies... :)

    That's interesting re: the basil. I will have to check it out. I prefer (no surprise) the Thai and purple basils... I had ROTTEN luck with the Thai plant but the purple is only beginning to die down now (and might have done better if I had used it more often). Did the scent/taste of the basil you got from your friend remind you of either of those in its flavor/intensity?

  2. Laura - I can't compare them because I've never had Thai or purple basils! :o Since I use it mostly to make pesto, the sweet basil works just fine. Maybe some day I'll branch out......

  3. Alysha-

    1. Can't believe I never thought of the fridge trick for tomatoes destined for sauces and soups- thanks!

    2. Those cookies look fabulous.

    3. I grew the Pesto Perpetuo basil this year! Your observations are dead on. Also- when you order from Burpee, the order includes 3 plants. Two of mine were dead on arrival, and Burpee had sold out so they gave me a refund on the order. If yours seem subpar next year, ask for your money back! But the plant that survived grew well and didn't flower- it was my go-to plant for whole leaves for salads and garnishes. Oddly, half of the plant grew solid green leaves and the other half grew the white-edged ones...

  4. Stephanie - I know - I'm so programmed to never let a tomato near the fridge that it didn't occur to me for quite a while either. Thanks for letting me know about the basil - it's good to hear from those who have tried it.

  5. I'm very late to arrive here -- but I'm going to back Stephanie up on the Perpetuo.

    I actually bought a plant this year to try it out. It's definitely more sharp than regular basil (enough so that I have to be careful how I use it)... but it doesn't bolt.

    And wow. Do I feel silly never refrigerating the seconds of my tomato crop. I HATE watching them rot on my countertop! You're a genius, Alysha.