Basil Beats

Posted on: Monday, September 26, 2011

Last Saturday, we walked over to the South End for a jazz festival featuring the rhythms of Brazilian and Caribbean jazz, blues, groove and funk. We had a full day bopping and catching up with close family friends, while also marveling at the array of authentic food stands showcasing Jamaican jerk chicken, fried catfish, fried plantains, jambalaya and other soul foods.

We returned home ready to relax and cool off with a refreshing beverage. Earlier at the festival, we drank mojitos, the lovely combination of muddled mint, lime, sugar and rum. Sitting on our breezy roof deck, we looked at the abundant basil plant our mom gave us and were instantly inspired to use it in a drink.


Indian Summer Refresher (makes 2!) 

 
1 quartered lemon
1 quartered lime
1 orange-1/2 quartered, 1/2 juiced
2 T granulated sugar
1 14 oz bottle of seltzer water
10 fresh basil leaves
ice cubes

Squeeze half the orange into the bottom of a tall wine glass. Add all the citrus segments, basil and sugar. Muddle a few times with a wooden spoon, and then add the ice cubes. Muddle a few times more, and then fill with the seltzer water. While we kept the drink non-alcoholic, it would be delicious with vodka, rum, or cacha├ža.
  




On a basil kick, we decided to make a quick pesto mixed with Cellentani pasta for dinner:

Powers’ Pesto  
  

1 1/2 c EVOO
1 c Parmesan cheese
2 c fresh basil

1/2 c pine nuts
2 1/2 cloves garlic

salt and pepper throughout

Blend the ingredients until smooth. For the two of us, we tossed 1/2 a cup of pesto with 1/2 a box of cooked pasta (feel free to use more pesto, if desired). We’re veggie lovers, so also added sauteed onion, spinach and chopped tomato. Don’t forget to sprinkle fresh Parmesan cheese!
  





We love to use basil for its versatility and sweet and slightly peppery flavor. The possibilities are endless; here are a few more uses for basil pesto… 
-Combine with softened butter for a terrific spread on toast 
-Combine with mayonnaise for a basil aioli dip for roasted potato wedges 
-Simply pour over grilled chicken or fish 
 -Freeze for later!

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