Sunday, June 6, 2010

Love of Basil

My Basil plant is doing amazing, I love this time of year watching my gardens grow.  Being an Italian-American, Basil is used in my cooking all time. In Italian culture Basil is considered a symbol of "love".

The name "Basil" is derived from the old greek word basilikon, which means "royal".  The scientific name for Basil is "Ocimum Basilicum.  Ancient cultures treated this herb as something very noble and sacred.  Basil is also a relative of peppermint and probably the most popular in Italian cooking.

  It's a fragrant and flavorful herb and also quite nutritious.  Basil is an excellent source of Vitamin K, a very good source of Iron, Calcium and Vitamin A, a good source of Fiber, Manganese, Magnesium, Vitamin C and Potassium.

Basil also offers DNA protection, Plus anti-bacterial Properties, Anti-Inflammatory Effects & contains Nutrients Essential for Cardiovascular Health.

"Shopper's Guide to Pesticides" rates Basil as one of the 12 foods most frequently containing pesticides. Another reason to grow your own!  I am trying to grow as much of my own fruits, vegetables & herbs as possible this year.  The majority being in containers, so far so good.

Basil makes a great addition to salads, soups and pasta, and most popular Pesto Sauce.

A Great Summer Recipe to share!

Insalata Caprese 
(salad in the style of Capri)

1/2 lb Fresh Mozzarella Sliced 1/4" thick
2 Large Garden Tomatoes
1 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt & Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Serves 4

On a serving platter arrange the sliced mozzarella and sliced tomatoes, layering or alternating.  Place basil leaves around tomatoes & mozzarella, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Perfect summer salad!  Bon Appétit!