Sunday, July 26, 2009


This year I am growing a pot of basil outside the kitchen. Not really a kitchen garden because it's off the the piano room, but close enough. I step outside to snip the fresh bloom to add to the evening's meal. So here are some favorites:

1 cup sugar
1 cup fresh basil leaves
8 cups lemonade
(use the amount for the proportionate balance)

In a small saucepan, over medium heat, bring the sugar and 1 1/2 cups cold water to a simmer. Cook, without stirring, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture thickens slightly, bout 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add the basil, and let cool to room temperature. Strain the syrup into a resealable container and discard the solids. Pour 2 to 3 teaspoons of the basil syrup into each of 8 ice-filled glassed, then fill with lemonade. Garnish with an additional spring of basil. RATING: 10+ This is a really yummy way to enjoy simple syrup kicked up a couple of notches. It tastes good with iced tea, too. Although I did not like it flavored tea.


2 teaspoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/3 cup pine nuts
10 ounces fresh spinach leaves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups fresh basil leaves

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium low heat. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the pine nuts and cook until lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Increase heat to medium and add the spinach, salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons of water (I used apple cider vinegar for a bit of a punch). Cover and cook, tossing occasionally with tongs, until the spinach wilts, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the basil and toss until it wilts, about 1 minute. Serve immediately. RATING: 7 but only if you use fresh spinach. Frozen (okay I didn't check to see if the fresh was any good and thought I could substitute) was too dry and too chopped. Flavors were GREAT, though. Garlic and pine nuts added the soft crunch, basil the aromatic fragrance.

And for the entree:


1 pork tenderloin (about 1 pound)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 large eggs
1 cup dry bread crumbs
1 teaspoon kosher salt (I used sea)
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated Parmesan
4 tablespoons olive oil

Heat oven to 400F (we used the grill so the house would not be so hot). Thinly slice the tenderloin on a diagonal into 8 pieces. Pound the slices to a 1/4-inch thickness. Place the flour on a plate. Place the eggs in a shallow bowl and beat lightly. In a separate bowl, combine the bread crumbs, salt and Parmesan. Working in patches, lightly coat the cutlets first in the flour, then in the egg mixture (allowing any excess to drip off), and finally in the bread crumb mixture. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 4 of the cutlets. Cook until golden, 1-2 minutes per side. Place the cutlets on a baking sheet. Wipe out the skillet and repeat with the remaining olive oil and cutlets. Transfer to oven and heat until the pork is cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. RATING: 7-8. Andrew thought an 8; I only gave it a 7.The crust is crispy, the meat tender. You will think it is going to be dry and over cooked but it's lightly parm and yummy.

That's the ingredient of the week. All three were quick, easy, 4 on the skill level and left overs will make a delicious pork cutlet sandwich for tomorrow's lunch.


Leah said...

It is hard to take you serious with the Hello Kitty stuff going on .... thanks for the recipe ideas!!! ILY