I picked a gallon of basil leaves.
Since I can’t possibly consume all of that in one week (when it would go bad), I pureed it with a little olive oil and spooned it into ice cube trays.
It’s a little depressing… first, I only got 1 ½ trays out of what seemed like a huge harvest. Second, it turned a dingy green. I recall this happening last year and I had hoped to avoid that with the oil. No luck. On the bright side, I know that pureeing it with spinach when I need it will bring back the vivid green. And if I stir it into a tomato sauce, no one will notice anyway.
The raspberries bush started producing again after Labor Day. I always think of berries as hot weather fruit, but this plant likes the cool of June, and then doesn’t produce again until September. Today, I picked enough to fill a 6 ounce ramekin.
If I wanted an appreciable raspberry harvest, I would let the plant creep further out from its northeast corner. But I want space for other crops (and a few flowers), so I keep the plant small. As a result, I never get more than a fistful of berries at a time – just enough for a snack, a garnish for pancakes or dessert, or a cocktail. But as the lettuces are just coming into full swing, I think raspberry vinaigrette is in order. The bright red will be preserved and will contrast beautifully with the green lettuce leaves (and perhaps bright white goat cheese).
The leeks are approaching supermarket size. I harvested a few today, but still have plenty more coming in. Leeks are a variety of onion, common in French cooking. They’re used to flavor soups and stocks. The French steam them, and serve them cold with vinaigrette as a little first course.
My favorite preparation is simply sautéed in butter, perhaps with a sprinkling of fresh thyme. They make a wonderful side to roast chicken or pork.
As much as I love “melting leeks,” I’m looking for new ideas to showcase them. What’s your favorite preparation for leeks?
½ cup fresh raspberries
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tbs. raspberry, sherry or red wine vinegar
½ tsp. fresh thyme
1 tsp. sugar or honey
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine ingredients in a blender. Puree until smooth. Adjust season to taste with either more salt, sugar, oil or vinegar. Will keep up to a month in the refrigerator.