Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Basil Mania!

This is just ONE of my basil plants! You can also see a germanium hiding behind it all.

One frustrating thing about Lobito is the lack of spices and herbs available in the stores and markets. I’ve amassed a decent collection of spices from my trips to South Africa and the US. (You don’t know how much you need chili powder until you don’t have it!) Cilantro is available at certain times of the year, so I’ve taken to buying it in bulk when it’s available and putting it in the freezer. It works out pretty well, especially for soups.

When I was at home in September I decided to buy some herb seeds and grow fresh herbs at home. Apart from a Chia pet I had in college, I’ve never really grown anything. Feeling very smart, I got some dirt from my friend Mark and dumped about ½ the packet of basil seeds into the small pot. Within a few days they sprouted and I got very excited.

This all happened when my friend Mark and his girlfriend Dominga were staying with me for a bit. Mark used to run our agriculture projects, so I was eager to show off my new box-gardening skills. He looked at it and said, “So, how many of those did you put in there? How far apart did you space the seeds?” My enthusiasm gave way to panic as I realized I probably should have read the instructions before planting.

He explained that I would have to transplant the shoots into new pots, since the plant would kill each other if left them as they were. So I went out and bought even more pots. Mark was kind enough to give me more of his compost dirt. (Dirt is unbelievably hard to come by here.) Soon I had 6 pots of basil sprouting. Now the situation is somewhat out of control. I have more basil than I know what to do with! I’ve given one pot away to Bernie and Christina to lighten the load.

The great thing about Mark’s dirt is that it had all these other seeds in it. So now, besides basil, I have some germaniums and even tomato plants. I can’t wait to have tomatoes with basil from my own kitchen!

So, any other ideas of how I can use all this basil? I’m open to any suggestions that don’t involve fancy ingredients like parmesan. (Yes, I thought of pesto but there is no parmesan around, and all the recipes I’ve seen call for it.)

E para os que falam português, como é que se diz “basil”? Não faço idéia.


Anonymous said...

That's easy: manjericão!

Leslie said...


Carolyn said...

Sounds great, basil goes well with any beans and tomatoes, and you can flavor oils & vinegar with crushed basil. Fresh tomatoes with pasta and basil is great...ask Michael.I wish I had that much...although I don't plant quite that many seeds!

Sir Chancelot said...

If you got on something like epicurious.com or Cooking Light magazine's website, they should have some good ideas. I cam across a recipe for pesto that had little cheese in it, so it can be done! I think it was from Cooking Light.