BOURBON BASIL CHOCO CAKE
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
5 T. unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup hot water (or short it and add bourbon to your liking...)
1½ cup powdered sugar
5 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
3 T. sour cream or Greek yogurt or marscapone
1 T. butter, melted
2 T. bourbon
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
splash heavy cream or milk (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil 9-inch-round cake pan, and dust with flour. Place sugar and basil in food processor, and pulse until basil is finely chopped and uniformly green in color. It will look slightly wet. In large bowl, whisk melted butter, cocoa powder and basil-sugar mixture until well blended. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, until blended and smooth. Stir in the baking soda, vanilla and salt. Gradually add flour to bowl, stirring just until blended. Add hot water and stir until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 22 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool and brush with bourbon before frosting.
In a medium bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and cocoa. Set aside. In separate medium bowl, beat sour cream and melted butter with an electric mixer on low until blended. Gradually add sugar mixture to sour-cream mixture, beating at low until well blended. Add vanilla and whisky, and beat will for 1 minute until smooth and creamy. If mixture becomes too thick and beat, add splash of heavy cream or milk. Spread over cake, and garnish with extra basil leaves.
The perfect close to a hot summer day is a cool sweet minty Mojito and a slice of boozy Basil Cake. Then, truly, it's off to bed! This is a basic recipe, but a quick survey on pinterest reveals a host of fun variations. Start here and have fun. BTW, these are just as wonderful as a family-friendly virgin drink if you skip the rum and just add bubbly water.
1 bunch fresh mint, cleaned
1 cup sugar
1 (750 ml bottle) dark rum
1 liter club soda
Take 3/4 of the mint and add it to a saucepot with the sugar. Cover just barely with water and heat on medium, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Allow to cool completely, even overnight to absorb the mint flavor. Strain into a large pitcher. Juice 4 lemons and 4 limes and add the juice AND as many skins as will fit nicely into the pitcher. Add the remaining sprigs of mint to the pitcher and pour over the rum, as much as you like of the bottle. When ready to serve, add club soda and pour over ice into glasses.
BASIC PESTO RECIPE
Find a nice basic template here, but feel free to add or subtract as you wish. Great additions are sorrel, oregano, lemon zest, goat cheese, kale and parsley.
4-5 medium potatoes, sliced in rounds
1 small onion, roughly chopped
1⁄2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
6 eggs, whisked
1 TBSP snipped chives
Pepper and/or paprika
Preheat oven to 375F. In an ovenproof skillet or cast iron pan, gently bring to heat a 1⁄2 cup of olive oil on the stovetop. Once the oil has been brought to heat, add the sliced potatoes and onion. Stir until mixed. Cover and sweat the vegetables for 10 minutes. You'll want the potatoes and onions to be softened and not too browned. Once softened, turn off the heat. In a large bowl, whisk together the 6 large eggs. Pour the eggs over the potato and onion mixture, and mix through. Sprinkle with chives. Place the skillet or cast iron pan into the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until cooked through. Season with freshly ground pepper and paprika. Serve in pizza-shaped slices.
STUFFED SQUASH BLOSSOMS
Morning-picked squash blossoms, with petals wide open
Soft cheese for stuffing (goat chevre, ricotta, cream cheese, marscapone)
Fresh leaves of basil, chives, oregano, thyme, savory or parsley
Flour and/or corn meal and/or breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil for sauteéing
Shake out the flowers, being sure to pick out bugs. (Or frogs! We found baby peepers in one flower this morning.) Don’t wash. They should be very clean coming in from the field and water will wilt them. Mix softened goat (or other) cheese with several tablespoons of shredded mozzarella. The proportions should be about 3 soft to 1 mozzarella. Snip fresh herb leaves into the cheese mix. Garlic is also great in there. Use a teaspoon to stuff the flower to the point where you can still pinch the petals around the cheese. Holding by stem, dredge in beaten egg mixed with a tablespoon of water. Salt and pepper flour/cornmeal/breadcrumbs, and dredge eggy flowers in that. Carefully place in skillet with olive oil pre-heated to medium-high. Flowers should bubble and spit. Flip after a minute or so. Coating should be golden, cheese should be melted. Remove with a slotted spoon, garnish with freshly ground parmesan and pepper. Enjoy! Viva local food!