Posts Tagged With: Basil

Coconut Shrimp with Mango Salsa

First, I just realized that I uploaded a photo for Friday’s post but never actually inserted it into the post.  Whoops!  Its there now!!

Ok, now on to something new!  This is another Branden dish (someday I have got to get that boy to write his own posts!!) that he made for me for Valentine’s Day.  I’m not sure that this dish is actually a ton healthier than the fried version (mostly because its hanging out in a coconut milk sauce), but oh my goodness does it ever have so much more flavor!

I realized after we scarfed the shrimp down that there’s no shots with the mango salsa.  Oh well, just picture chopped mango and onions peppering the bowl of shrimp.  YUM!



Mango Salsa:

  • 1 mango, peeled and finely diced
  • 3 scallions, sliced
  • 5 basil leaves, julienned
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Coconut Shrimp:

  • 2 jalapenos, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 inch piece ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 TBS dark brown sugar
  • 2 TBS soy sauce
  • 1/2 lime, zested
  • 1/4 c. coconut milk
  • Small handful basil leaves, torn
  • 2 TBS vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 15 grinds pepper
  • 1 lb. peeled, deveined shrimp

For the salsa:

Combine all ingredients together in a mixing bowl.  Make up to a day in advance.  Keep covered in the refrigerator.

For the shrimp:

In a mixing bowl, combine jalapenos, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, soy sauce, lime zest, coconut milk, basil, vegetable oil, salt, and pepper.  Add the shrimp and marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours, refrigerated.

Heat a non-stick skillet over high heat.  Use tongs or a fork to remove the shrimp from the marinade and place in an even layer in the pan, reserving the marinade.

Cook the shrimp until well browned on each side, turning once, about 3-4 minutes total.  Transfer cooked shrimp to a serving plate.

Add reserved marinade to pan, bring to a boil and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

Pour over the cooked shrimp and serve with rice and salsa.

Categories: Appetizers, Recipes, Thai | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Zucchini Mania! Zucchini & Basil Lasagna

So this weekend, Branden brought home 10 pounds of zucchini for me “make stuff with.”  His boss apparently had an over-abundance of the stuff and Branden apparently got overly excited.  10 pounds.  What am I going to do with 10 pounds?  I’ll tell you…this week I plan on making Chocolate Zucchini Cake, Zucchini Bread, Zucchini and Basil Mini Muffins, and Parmesan Zucchini Sticks with Smoky Roasted Romesco Sauce.  Until then, I started my zucchini adventures with tonight’s dinner of Zucchini & Basil Lasagna.

So stay tuned because I clearly have zucchini coming out my ears and intend to use it in some creative ways (other than my normal favorite of plain old grilled zucchini with salt and pepper).  I probably won’t be grilling any from this batch because zucchini usually isn’t as good plain when it gets as big as these monsters…these are made for other goodies!


  • 2 c. fat free cottage cheese
  • 1 c. chopped fresh basil
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 c. chopped zucchini
  • 1 c. chopped red onion
  • 2 1/2 c. bottled spicy pasta sauce (I used Classico’s Spicy Tomato for simplicity’s sake – use the whole jar)
  • 9 oven-ready lasagna noodles (this is a totally new concept to me – I never knew these existed until tonight.  I guess that’s what happens when you grow up with a chef for a Mom!)
  • 1 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350º.

Combine the first 3 ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth.

Heat a large skillet lightly coated with oil over medium-high heat.  Add zucchini and onion; saute 5 minutes or until tender.  Stir in sauce and remove from heat.

Spread 1/2 c. zucchini mixture in bottom of greased 9×13″ baking dish.  Arrange 3 noodles over zucchini mixture; top with one-third cottage cheese mixture, one-third zucchini mixture, and one-third mozzarella.  Repeat procedure with the remaining noodles. cottage cheese mixture, zucchini mixture, and mozzarella.

Cover and bake for 45 minutes.  Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until lasagna is thoroughly heated.

Adapted from Cooking Light, April 2003

Categories: Entrees, Italian, Pasta, Recipes | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Time to Harvest the Basil: 2 Pesto Recipes

Believe it or not, there's a rather large rosemary plant hanging out in there too, but the Purple Basil is taking over. We also have sweet basil, lemongrass, and peppermint (that's on the ground next to the planter).

Its time to start harvesting my basil (as some of it towards the base of the plant is already looking a little wilty).  We grew two different types this year, sweet basil and purple basil, so we have a wee bit of an abundance.  One of my favorite things to make with excess basil is pesto and I’ve so far made two varieties this year – one with each type of basil.  I usually make a double batch and freeze in containers of about 1/2 c. each – perfect for pulling out to season meat or make a quick pasta with.  These freeze incredibly well and maintain their bright colors better than if I were to can them (and who wants to can only 8 4 oz. jars?).  By the way, I doubled each recipe to yield about 2 cups of each type.


Classic Basil Pesto

  • 2 c. fresh basil leaves
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 TBS freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/4 c. pine nuts
  • 1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Combine the basil, garlic, cheses, and nuts in a food processor.  Process to mix.  With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil.  Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper and process to desired consistency.  Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Red Basil Pesto

  • 2 c. fresh opal basil leaves
  • 2 1/2 TBS minced sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 TBS freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 6 TBS freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 c. pine nuts
  • 1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Combine the basil, sun-dried tomato, garlic, cheses, and nuts in a food processor.  Process to mix.  With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil.  Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper and process to desired consistency.  Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Courtesy of Pestos! by Dorothy Rankin

Categories: Condiments, Italian, Recipes | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

Don’t Judge Me: Risotto with Fresh Mozzarella, Tomatoes, and Basil

I shouldn’t even try to defend myself again…my obsession with risotto lately is just getting ridiculous, with several posts like this and this and this lately (and for that apologize).  I promise, I think this is the last one for awhile…I just couldn’t help myself since recipe is basically Caprese salad mixed into risotto (which I proved earlier in the summer that I am also obsessed with) and my garden is cranking out the basil and tomatoes at a rapid rate right now.

What else can I say, if you like risotto and Caprese salad, this is sure to be a winner.  Enjoy!

  • 2 TBS balsamic vinegar
  • 4 1/2 c. chicken stock
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 2 c. chopped leeks
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 c. Arborio rice
  • 1/2 c. dry white wine**
  • 1/4 c. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 c. halved grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh basil
  • 5 oz. fresh mozzarella, finely diced (or if you can find mozzarella pearls, those work perfect)

Place the vinegar in a small, heavy saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat.  Cook until slightly syrupy and reduced to 1 TBS (about 4 minutes).  Set aside.

Bring to a boil to a simmer in a medium saucepan (do not boil).  Keep warm.

Heat 1 TBS oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add leek to pan; saute 3 minutes or until tender.  Add rice; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Stir in wine, and cook 1 minute or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly.  Stir in 1/2 cup broth; cook 5 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat to medium.  Add remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 25 minutes total).  Stir in heavy cream, salt, and pepper; cook 2 minutes.  Remove from heat; stir in tomatoes, basil, and cheese.  Place about 1 cup risotto into each of 6 shallow serving bowls; drizzle each serving with 1/2 tsp balsamic syrup and 1/2 tsp oil.

**For wine, I’ve recently found a new favorite for cooking.  Francis Ford Coppola’s Pino Grigio is a winner in my book for a couple reasons.  First, I like the price (I haven’t paid more that $10 for it locally).  Second, someone once told me that you should never cook with wine that you wouldn’t drink…and this wine doesn’t break that rule.  This wine is delicious for drinking as well while you’re cooking and to enjoy with dinner.  I really like that its dry, but still fruity and refreshing.  Hope that helps!

Adapted from Cooking Light, September 2007



Categories: Entrees, Italian, Recipes, Wine | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Spicy Coconut Shrimp Soup

This was a really yummy soup that I made the other day when it was kind of rainy and chilly outside.  Yes, chilly.  I’m rather upset about it actually, especially since everyone was talking about how it felt like fall.  But I’m not ready for fall!!  I feel like summer just started since it rained and was kind of cold the entire month of May (which was an improvement from April’s definite cold and rain).   While I love fall, I think that mid-August is the most depressing time of the year because I know up here in Ohio, September will be here before we know it,  bringing with it beautiful weather and then October comes even faster and we often see snow.  Ugh, snow.  I really do hate winter (mostly because I won’t see the sun consistently again until June)…sorry, I just had to get that off my chest!  I feel much better now…

So on to the recipe.  This was a delicious soup that is reminiscent of one of my favorite Thai dishes, Red Coconut Curry with Veggies.  YUM!  All the flavors of my my favorite dish were packed into this soup, but about half of the normal fat that comes with it.  If you’re looking for a little extra something, I would also suggest pouring the soup over some hot sticky rice before serving (I didn’t do this, but my mouth is kind of watering thinking about it right now).  To adjust the heat, use more or less curry paste.


  • 3 1/2 c. chicken stock
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms (I used wood mushrooms, but shitake would be good too)
  • 1 finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 TBS light brown sugar
  • 1 TBS fish sauce
  • 1 tsp grated, peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 TBS red curry paste
  • 1 cup coconut milk (remember my rule here, full fat is always the best!)
  • 1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 c. thinly sliced green onions
  • 2 TBS thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 2 TBS fresh lime juice

Combine the first 7 ingredients (through curry paste) in a large saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.  Stir in coconut milk, cook 2 minutes or until hot.  Add shrimp to pan; cook 3 minutes or until shrimp are done.  Remove pan from heat, stir in onions, basil, and juice.

Adapted from Cooking Light, March 2008

Categories: Asian, Entrees, Recipes, Soup, Thai | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Another Risotto Recipe: Barley Risotto with Eggplant & Tomatoes

For some reason I’ve been drawn to risotto entrees lately.  I don’t know if its the creamy texture, the simplicity of a gourmet dinner in one pot, or the endless possibilities to be explored.  Regardless, here’s another recipe for a barley risotto.  This one was good, but I have to say, I liked the other barley risotto a little better- depends on if you’re in the mood for eggplant or not I guess (but don’t get me wrong, this dish was delicious, too).


  • 6 c. diced eggplant (1/2″ cubes)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 3 TBS olive oil, divided
  • 1/3 tsp. black pepper, divided
  • 5 c. chicken stock
  • 2 c. water
  • 1 1/2 c. finely chopped onion
  • 1 c. uncooked pearl barley
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 c. dry white wine
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. (2 oz.) goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 c. fresh basil, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 c. pine nuts, toasted
  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Combine eggplant, tomatoes, 2 TBS oil, and 1/4 tsp. pepper in a bowl; toss to coat.  Arrange mixture in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan.  Bake for 20 minutes or until tomatoes begin to collapse and eggplant is tender.
  3. Combine broth and 2 cups water in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer (do not boil).  Keep warm over low heat.
  4. Heat remaining 1 TBS oil in a large skillet over medium-heat heat.  Add onion to pan; saute 4 minutes or until onion begins to brown.  Stir in barley and garlic; cook 1 minute.  Add wine; cook 1 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates, stirring constantly.  Add 1 cup broth mixture to pan; bring to boil, stirring frequently.  Cook 5 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly.  Add remaining broth mixture, 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth mixture is absorbed before adding the next (about 40 minutes total).  Gently stir in eggplant mixture, remaining 1/4 tsp. pepper, and salt.  Top with cheese, basil, and nuts.

Adapted from Cooking Light, September 2009

Categories: Entrees, Recipes | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

Sun-dried Turkey Burgers with Basil Aioli

I probably shouldn’t be posting this in light of the ground turkey recall (which happened three days after I made these burgers with a package of the recalled meat), but they were delicious and I’m still here to tell about them!  Honestly, as long as you thoroughly cook ground turkey (or any meat for that matter), you’re generally safe.  I have a instant read meat thermometer that’s great for grilling to ensure that I’m going to survive my meal.

These burgers were awesome and I loved the basil aioli.  Usually I make my own aioli (because it tastes sooooooo much better), but I was short on time and knew that if I made it fresh, I would end up dipping my sweet potato fries in it which in turn would put my diet and cholesterol through the ringer.  On a side note…fresh aioli makes an excellent condiment to sweet potato fries and chips…just saying (I’ll share my favorite recipe to date for fresh aioli soon…which can be beat to death a little more to morph into mayo if that’s more your cup of tea)!


  • 1 1/4 lb. ground turkey breast
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 TBS ground cumin
  • 1 TBS white pepper
  • 1 TBS dried oregano
  • 1 TBS dried onion
  • 1/4 c. (2 oz.) crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/4 c. sun-dried tomatoes (I used dried that I rehydrated for a few minutes in warm water, but feel free to use the oil-packed variety as well)
  • Lettuce
  • 4 burger rolls
  • 4 tomato slices (optional)
  • Red onion slices, grilled (optional)
  1. Prepare grill.
  2. Combine first 9 ingredients.  Divide turkey mixture into 4 equal portions, shaping each into a 1/2-inch patty.
  3. Place patties on a grill rack coasted with cooking spray; grill 8 minutes on each side or until a thermometer registers 165°.
  4. Lightly spray buns with cooking spray (I prefer Crisco’s Olive Oil spray) and toast on the grill.  Remove and set aside.
  5. Place lettuce, burger, tomato, and grilled onion on bun.  Spread basil aioli (following) on inside of bun and place on top of burger.  Excellent with sweet potato fries (I tossed mine in olive oil and Branden’s spice rub before placing under the broiler until browned and tender).

Basil Aioli

  • 1/4 c. mayonnaise (I like Kraft’s Olive Oil Mayo as a store-bought variety)
  • 1 TBS chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.

Categories: American, Condiments, Entrees, Recipes | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Green Curry with Bok Choy

I’ve never cooked with tofu before but was curious.  I’ve had it before at Asian restaurants and didn’t mind it so I thought I’d take a stab at it in this Thai dish…it saved me about 100 calories per serving versus chicken, so what did I have to loose?

As for the flavors of this dish?  Awesome.  I will definitely be making this sauce again.  The original recipe called for reduced fat coconut milk, but I know I’ve sworn up and down in other posts that I just can’t do it…I have to use full-fat coconut milk; its just not worth the flavor sacrifice to me (plus, it holds up better as its not near as runny when heated as reduced fat or fat free).  This sauce was simple and really delicious- I think I’m going to use this sauce as a base for my next attempt at recreating Branden and I’s favorite Coconut Chicken Curry from a hole-in-the-wall Middle-Eastern restaurant in Athens, Ohio that we love.  I have been working diligently to try to recreate it over the last year or so with some semi-success…I’ll let you know how this next attempt goes!

Now you’re probably wondering about my thoughts on tofu.  Interesting.  I think next time beside draining it, I may try pan frying it before adding it to the curry.  Reason being is because even though I used extra-firm tofu, I felt it started to fall apart the more I stirred the dish (and even more so as leftovers).  My thought with pan frying it would be that it would kind of form a crust around the pieces that would hold them together…my theory could be totally wrong here, but its worth a shot next time.  I also think this dish would be really yummy with chicken or shrimp as well (another “next time”).


  • 1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 TBS chopped, peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 small Serrano chiles, seeded (I couldn’t’ find Serrano (surprise, surprise) so I used 3 jalapenos instead)
  • 2 large shallots, coarsely chopped
  • 4 c. coarsely chopped broccoli florets (about 1 head)
  • 2 c. (1/2 inch thick) slices bok choy
  • 2 tsp. dark sesame oil
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 1 TBS soy sauce
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves (I found some that were dried, similar to bay leaves, since fresh are so hard to find around here.  Not quite the same, but they’re better than nothing.  Look for these at specialty Asian grocers)
  • 1 (13.5 oz.) can coconut milk
  • 1 (14 oz.) pkg water-packed, organic extra firm tofu, drained and cut into 3/4″ cubes
  • 1/4 c. fresh lime juice
  • 2 cups hot, cooked long-grain white rice (I used jasmine)
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh basil
  • 2 TBS chopped fresh mint
  1. Combine first 7 ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth (may need to add 1/2 c. of water to make smooth).  Set aside
  2. Cook broccoli florets in boiling water in a large dutch oven for 3 minutes or until crisp tender.  Remove broccoli from water with a slotted spoon, drain, and rinse with cold water.  Drain and set aside.
  3. Heat Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add oil to pan, swirling to coat.  Add cilantro mixture to pan; saute 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add sugar and next 4 ingredients (through coconut milk) to pan; bring to a boil.  Add tofu; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 6 minutes or until slightly thick.  Add broccoli, bok choy, and juice; cook 1 minutes or until heated; tossing to combine.  Discard lime leaves.  Serve over rice and sprinkle with basil and mint.

Adapted from Cooking Light, January 2011

Categories: Asian, Entrees, Recipes, Thai | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Barley Risotto with Sundried Tomatoes and Basil

This was a weeknight dinner that took a little time, but was super delicious especially when you pair it with the rest of the wine you didn’t use in the recipe.  Hopefully the rest of that bottle made it to the dinner table but at least you’re feeling good if it didn’t!

Any risotto is a labor of love and is going to take some time if you want it to turn out with the right consistency.  Using barley does add a little extra labor in the form of a stirring time commitment though, so be prepared to stand over the stove for awhile.  The prep work is a cinch, its really just the stirring process that takes all the time.  If you’re looking for a mind-numbing activity to get your mind off the work week, this recipe is for you.  And the best part?  After you’ve relaxed, you’re left with an awesome dinner!


  • 2 cans vegetable stock, (14.5 ounces each) – I like Kitchen Basics brand the best for its awesome flavor
  • 3 c. water
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 c. pearl barley
  • 3/4 c. dry white wine
  • 1 c. sun dried tomatoes, julienned (I used dehydrated ones that I re-hydrated in warm water for a few minutes, but you can use oil-packed tomatoes, too- just make sure to drain the oil)
  • 2 c. packed fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
  • 1/2 c. grated (about 2 ounces) Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring broth and  water just to a simmer.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add barley; cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Then add wine; cook, stirring, until evaporated, about 1 minute.
  3. Add 1 cup hot broth mixture; simmer, stirring occasionally, until almost absorbed, 10 to 12 minutes. Continue adding broth mixture in this manner until barley is tender and mixture is creamy, 40 to 50 minutes (you may not have to use all the broth). Add sun dried tomatoes; cook just to heat through, 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in basil and Parmesan; season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, with extra cheese.

Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Great Food Fast

Categories: Entrees, Italian, Recipes | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

Breaking in the Ice Cream Maker: Buttermilk-Basil Sorbet

This is an interesting “sorbet” recipe that I tried the other night.  I’m not sure why its called sorbet though because the base is definitely dairy.  Whatever you want to call it, its a frozen dessert that’s sure to please if you’re looking for something cold and refreshing.  The idea of herbs in ice cream could be a turnoff to some, but trust me on this one!  If you love basil, this is a must-try.  I really enjoy this ice cream (I’m sorry, its dairy and I can’t bring myself to call it sorbet) because its not overly sweet- a qualm that I sometimes have with other ice creams.  This is incredibly light and fresh, especially after a savory dinner as a palate cleanser.

I made this using a Cuisinart ice cream maker.  If you’re looking for an easy way to make homemade ice cream, I highly recommend this product.  It’s completely idiot-proof as long as you take care of it (don’t put it in the dishwasher and don’t freeze the bowl with anything in it).  At around $50, you can enjoy delicious, homemade ice cream any time you’d like without a ton of effort!

  • 1 1/3 c. granulated sugar, divided
  • 2/3 c. water
  • 1 c. fresh basil, minced
  • 4 c. buttermilk
  • 3 TBS fresh lime juice
  • 2 tsp lime zest
  1. To make basil syrup, combine 2/3 cup of sugar with water in a small saucepan; bring to a boil for 1 minute.  Reduce heat to low, add basil and simmer for 5 minutes.  Set aside to cool.
  2. In a large bowl, combine remaining 2/3 cup sugar with buttermilk, lime juice, and zest, mixing until the sugar dissolves.  Add cooled basil syrup to buttermilk mixture and mix thoroughly.
  3. Run sorbet mixture through an ice cream maker according to its package directions.  Transfer sorbet to a container and freeze for 12 to 24 hours before serving.

Yields about 12 1/2 c. servings

Categories: Desserts, Recipes | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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