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basil & bay


Dinner has been decided upon for this lovely Sunday evening. It’s only supposed to get up to 99 degrees today!  It was not decided by me, but instead by my garden.  I went out this morning, while it was only 84 degrees, and noticed that if I didn’t do something about the luscious basil going wild and the very tall bay laurel tree in my garden that they would take it over.

I’m thinking about an appetizer of flatbread with basil in the dough, with a basil oil and roasted tomatoes with – wait for it… basil pesto!  And maybe salmon grilled on top of the bay leaves and lemon slices and also some Yukon gold potatoes braised in stock and more bay leaves.

I’ve had crème brûlée scented with fresh bay leaves before and although it was delicious, I really don’t want to stand over the hot stove in the summer “stirring constantly” (two of my least favorite words!) a steaming custard.  After painting that little picture for myself, the crème brûlée is definitely OUT!  So something else maybe with the bay leaves for dessert – any thoughts out there?  I am off to the movies….

……I am thankful no one came up with any dessert ideas because I was actually too busy to even think about dessert today! Dave and I saw Inglorious Basterds early this afternoon and LOVED it!  This from a girl who has to put her hands over her eyes during the icky parts!  And there were plenty of icky parts, but I still want to go back and see it again!   I’m not a huge Quentin Tarantino fan, I liked Kill Bill(s) and Pulp Fiction but this movie was just so cool, and Brad Pitt… love him even more than before, if that is possible.  What about Christoph Waltz?  If he isn’t nominated for an Oscar, there is something wrong in the movie biz!   Enough about that, this is a “cooking/food blog” so on to the rest of the that part of the day…

After the movie and a Costco run, I arrived home at about 3:00 and began making the Grand Basil-Bay Dinner.  Good friends, Chris and Kathy Froggatt, were to arrive at 6:00, with nice wines in hand!  It was a great evening with good friends.  They recounted their wonderful vacation-cruise to Monaco, Italy, and Greece (ready to go tomorrow after hearing about it all!)

Amidst all the catching up and garden touring, I totally burned (we’ll call it charred!) the flatbread while grilling it.  But we enjoyed it anyway because the Bay Leaf Roasted Tomatoes that topped it were still tasty and the Baileyana Chardonnay  that Chris brought somehow washed away all thoughts of those nasty carcinogens we were ingesting.

Dinner itself went off much better.  We had a fabulous Chasseur Pinot Noir from Sonoma and the bay laurel flavors present in the fish and potatoes were truly sublime. Kathy is not a salmon fan, so I did a “personal-size” piece of halibut for her.  I think the individual size is a really nice presentation for a more formal dinner.  A bit more work to individually wrap each piece of fish, but it’ll cook faster and it does look fancy!

One last note about the salmon.  It is drizzled with olive oil, and any fruity olive oil will do, but I adore our own local Queen Creek Olive Mill Meyer Lemon Olive Oil. It is available locally at A.J.’s or can be ordered online HERE.

And if you are a neighbor or live close enough to drop by, just give me a call if you want to make any of the dishes with the fresh bay leaves.  You can have all you’ll need, free for the taking.  The salmon recipe uses way too many leaves to purchase at the store in those tiny herb packages, when you can actually find it.  So don’t be shy, the bay tree grows better when it is pruned, so you’ll be doing me a favor… really!

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August 23, 2009   7 Comments