The Farm (Shares) Report, 07/12/07 – Basil

July 15, 2007 psipsina

This week we got (let me see if I remember) chiogga beets, baby carrots, chard, cucumbers, onions, and a big handful of purple basil.  Oh, and I’m sure I’m forgetting something.  Oh, yes, new Yukon gold potatoes.

I’ll confess to not being so happy to get bundles of herbs.  Partly this is because I already grow so many herbs of my own, and partly it’s because, what, oh, what do you do with a bunch of herbs the size of a grapefruit?  (This, in fact, is why I stopped buying them from the store and started growing them.  Now, when I need a tablespoon of parsley, I’m not stuck with enough to feed an entire small New England town.)  If it’s green basil, you can make pesto, but purple basil makes a pesto that looks like mud.  You can sometimes make a fairly passable pesto of cilantro, too.  But pesto is messy and time-consuming to make, and basil is quite perishable, so often, if I don’t get to it the night we pick up the produce, it’s just wasted.

However, the Red-Haired Boy seems to have solved the basil problem this week.  We were unable to celebrate my birthday on Wednesday, so tonight he made me a delicious dinner, complete with chocolate cake.  The entree he made, a Thai-inspired stir fry, calls for a whole cup of Thai basil.  I don’t know if Steve’s basil was Thai basil, but I believe Thai basil is purple, so let’s just pretend.  And miraculously, the basil had survived in the fridge since Thursday night.

Here’s the recipe, and by the way, if you believe that nonsense about saturated fat causing heart disease, this recipe might give you pause, with its entire can of coconut milk.  The amounts and technique are even looser than my usual Farm Shares Reports recipes, since it was prepared by RHB instead of me, (although the lime juice was my suggestion).

This recipe assumes you know the basics of stir frying.


1 lb protein (fish, chicken, beef, tofu, whatever)
splash each soy sauce, red wine vinegar, and Asian fish sauce
3 cups (+/-) assorted stir fry veggies
1 medium onion
1 to 2 tablespoons coconut or peanut oil, for frying
1 can coconut milk
1 cup Thai basil (whole leaves)
1 – 3 teaspoons Thai curry paste, to taste
1 large clove garlic
1 or 2 limes

Marinate your protein ingredient in a combination of soy sauce, vinegar, and fish sauce for 10 minutes to 1 hour (more time for beef, less for fish).  Drain and pat dry. 

In a large skillet or wok, stir fry the garlic for 30 seconds or so.  Add the onion, meat or tofu, and assorted veggies and stir fry until done.  (RHB used beef, green peppers, mushrooms, and canned bamboo shoots.)

When the stir fry is almost done, combine coconut milk, basil, and curry paste and heat for 5 minutes or so.  Be careful with the curry paste, as it is brutally hot.  Add small amounts until you reach the desired heat.  Add to the stir fry with a generous squeeze of lime juice and let sit for another minute to let flavors meld.

Serve with lime wedges.

Serves two people without rice or four people with.

NOTES on ingredients.

We like Thai Kitchen green curry paste, mostly because it’s available at your local Star Market and doesn’t have any bizarre artificial ingredients.  This stuff is hot as hell, so be cautious.

We always use Grace Coconut milk, which Star Market stocks with the Caribbean foods.  There are other, better known, brands, but they all have stabilizers and thickeners added.  I don’t object to guar gum on principle, and in fact I have some in my own kitchen, but I think it’s completely extraneous in coconut milk.


Entry Filed under: basil, community supported agriculture, cooking, csa, diet, farm shares, food, parker farm, pepper, recipe, vegetable

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