Farewell 'til next season

basilFew things in life are better than fresh basil. The leaves themselves are slightly bitter and oozing with juicy volatile goodness.

Every season, we plant a few seedlings, clip them as if they were a bonsai and end the season with spindly plants that flower and achieve low yields of the leaves we tried so hard to foster. This season was quite different. Instead of this "depression era mentality" of saving it all for the end, I started harvesting leaves as soon as they were available. From anywhere and not caring about the plant's future. I wanted the basil and I wasn't going to let them go to seed.

Interestingly, the more I tore off, the more they grew. In the beginning of the season (end of May, I started harvesting), I used scissors to get my fix. Then, as days got busier and dinner prep time grew shorter for one reason or another, I attacked the plant and just ripped off the leaves. And, they just kept growing - robustly. We now have 3 basil shrubs outside with more tasty leaves than we've ever had before. My friend Gary who's an extraordinary gardener, was amazed. He kept asking how carefully I harvested the leaves and I told him I just kind of attacked it. He was stunned. I am a total basil fanatic now and have grown a new appreciation of this robust herb. It'll kill me to see them wither on the first frost. But, next season, they're going in early and I'm tearing in quickly. Can't wait.


Weber mod cold smoking action shots

Frankie and the mighty Mustangs will engage in their first soccer game ever (hopefully). In preparation, I'm fooling with the video camera and trying to figure out how to get a clip published on YouTube for the family and friends to view (clips can be private and email invites can be used for viewing). I only have Windows Movie Maker for editing. Not good but adequate to grab a clip from a stream.

One of my practice vids is some action shots of my smoker apparatus. It only took about two years of weekends to finish. And, it's not done yet. Today I'm smoking salmon. Really smoking - not cooking. Take a look.

And, here's my attempt at cedar, cold-smoked Salmon. Yum.

I also have plans to do my superfast, super good baguette. Stay tuned.


Basil hydroponics?

basilI clipped a small bunch of basil on my way in the house one weeknight and forgot what I was going to use it for so I stuffed it into some water to see if it would survive until I could use it. That was about 2 weeks ago! Now, I noticed it's thriving quite nicely. Click on the image for a bigger view. It's pretty awesome. I'm conisidering getting a perforated clear plastic piece to place over a pool of water to set up a mini hydroponic garden to see if I can use my basil for a chunk of the winter. It's my favorite herb and I LOVE to cook with it all the time. Keep you posted.