Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Two (Green) Thumbs Up!


I won't bore you with the backstory again, but this spring I have written about starting a salad project, continuing the salad-bration, and discovering that I might perhaps be a green goddess. Now, I have no choice but to step up and fill the green goddess role definitively. You see, the baby . . . he loves basil. Can't get enough in fact. Kicks and wiggles like crazy each time I eat it, sending a clear message of "more, more." Two weeks ago, at my brother's graduation lunch, I ordered a panini with mozzarella, fresh basil, pesto sauce, and tomato. Week before last, I made a lovely pizza on a Trader Joe's whole wheat crust with tomato sauce, carmelized onions, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil. Last week, I ate three Caprese salads. I ate pasta with pesto sauce for dinner Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday nights of this week. Last Friday, I watched the sandwich episode of Oprah and have been dreaming ever since of a sandwich featured on the show: a grilled cheese made with fontina, havarti, tomato, honey, and fresh basil. I am recalling that my favorite stir fry sauce at Flattop is Spicy Lime Basil and plotting a time when I can eat there. My mom, dad, and the Intern will be in town this weekend, and I am already planning to order a Margherita pizza from my beloved Pizza Rustica (family members, if you're reading, don't worry, we'll order several different pizzas). Yes, I tend to get obsessive when it comes to food habits and cravings, but in this case, I don't believe it's my obsessive personality coming through. The love of basil is hormonal or maternal or something. I'm just trying to meet Bub 2.0's needs, and he needs basil.

The intensity of my craving for basil has coincided with my recent attempts to be, if not exactly frugal, more conscientious in my spending. What's more, the intensity of my craving is so strong that I actually had the very un-MEP-like idea that I might grow my own basil. Aside from the nearly indestructible begonias I plant in the flower boxes on my deck each spring, I never have the urge to grow anything (excepting baby boys, it seems). So today, when at Trader Joe's, it seemed like fate when I saw a basil plant. I promptly put it in the cart. Then, I got caught up in the idea of myself as a real green goddess and added a mint plant and a parsley one as well. I realize that buying these plants is not exactly equivalent to "growing my own basil," but if I actually manage to tend them enough to keep them alive and then have the courage to eat something that has been growing on my own kitchen island, I will truly consider myself a green goddess.

I think I am already getting carried away with my own future goddess status because over the weekend--even before I secured the basil plant--I interviewed my father-in-law about how I might go about growing tomatoes in the back yard. It's like I don't recognize myself anymore. Who is this green-thumbed earth mother goddess figure? They don't appear to sell tomato plants at Trader Joe's so this next project will require a bit more effort on my part, but I think I can pull it off. The hubby, who hates tomatoes, insists that he can help and that he knows exactly what to do. We shall see.

So, I'll keep you posted on the cravings and all the growth around here. Until then, enjoy the photo of my new herb garden. And those of you who already are green-thumbed goddesses, if you have any tips for keeping my herbs alive, planting tomatoes, or using fresh basil in cooking . . . please share them.

8 comments:

E... said...

May I suggest the BBT as a future lunch choice for you? Replace the lettuce (L) in a BLT with Basil, and yum, yum, yum. Kona Bistro of Oxford and Oakley has this on their menu. Even though as my husband always says, sandwiches made by someone else always taste better, my own versions of this are also tasty.
I've found the key to keeping basil doing well is to harvest often, don't let it go to seed. I don't have much luck with indoor plants of any sort, but mine does well on my deck in the summer. I had one magical summer in our old house with our small vegetable garden plot next to the garage, huge tomato plants with extra large grape tomatoes -- if you get yours going, I'll send you the recipe for a roasted tomato/olive sauce I made every other day practically. I no longer have the space or sunlight for such things, but I keep hoping for a container garden that works. The key to tomatoes is lots of sun, water, and support to keep them from falling over.

Land of Bean said...

Every time my hubby says he'll help and knows exactly what to do, I get scared. Good luck!

Actchy said...

Snip the bigger leaves from the Basil plant, even if you aren't necessarily ready to use them. The smaller leaves are sweeter anyway. (The big ones are great for pesto, though.)

I'm very proud, MEP! Oh, and also, I have a hankering for Flattop...

Mandy O'Halloran said...

Throw some Wildtree Scampi or Basil Pesto blend on fresh mozzarella over french bread or bagel. Toast, and waa-laa! Instant craving satisfier. And Bub2 clearly has good taste- who doesn't love Basil?!!!? There could be way worse cravings?!!!!

MEP said...

It was Wildtree Pesto blend that I ate three nights this week! I am loving how easy and tasty it is!

Steph said...

Hey - Basil is very easy and fun to grow, b/c you can eat it! I think you'll do well!

I didn't have time to chat as much as I would have liked last weekend, but it was great to see you. You do have that glow I read about!

SMF said...

Have you seen those ads on TV for the upside-down tomato plants? I'm thinking about getting one because I don't think that the bunnies that have eaten everything else in our garden can climb. The URL (with the infomercial online - very convincing!) follows.
https://www.hangingtomato.com/?cid=474346

MEP said...

SMF . . . I just watched the online infomercial and I believe I am sold on the Topsy Turvy tomato planter, especially considering that if I act now, I get a second one for free, plus the tomato slicer and the recipe book. You have to get one too though!

 
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