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Slurry with the fringe on top

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Though my gardening is confined to my apartment's backporch and kitchen windowsill, I enjoy gardening as much as I can. I like watching things grow, I get pleasure from picking something and immediately using it, whether it's basil in pasta sauce, a tomato in a sandwich or arugula in a homemade pizza. Because of my work schedule, I sometimes get home at 9 a.m., and other times I'll wake up mid-morning but won't need to be at work until early afternoon, so I'll make my coffee, then water and check on the various vegetables growing outside my back window.

There's only one problem, though. I have a black thumb. A thumb of death. I am the Grim Reaper of gardeners. As much as I like being around plants and being able to grow flowers and veggies, I don't have much success when it comes to being able to grow said plants to adulthood, without them withering on the vine (if they get that far) first. In spite of that, though, I've had astoundingly good luck with basil. Whether I've purchased basil that's already started to grow or just gotten a packet of seeds, whether it's in a small container on my windowsill or in a large pot on the porch, I've got a knack for growing basil.

Which presents another problem. I just can't eat basil as fast as I can grow it (adding to that is the basil that sometimes arrives at my home from my other half's weekly ration box of veggies from a local community-supported farm). You can only make so much pasta sauce, pesto and pizza.

So what to do with all of this basil? I posed that question on my Facebook page recently, and among the suggestions I got, from one of my former City News editors, Kim Kishbaugh, was to make a slurry.

Slurry? Basil Slurry? Sounds like the name of a character from a British sketch comedy show from the 1970s, a la some sort of a Foster Brooks with a bowler and mustache and a voice like James Mason. But enough comic digression.

Here's the wonderfully simple recipe, passed on to me from Kim, with my notes and observations:

Put one cup of the basil into a food processor (you're measuring out one cup at a time is so that you will know how much each portion in your freezer contains). Add enough oil -- I had two cups of basil, more or less, so I used two spoons of olive oil -- to make a slurry. Process it until you get the consistency of, well, pesto. Repeat until you run out of basil. Put it into some freezer-safe containers and stick it in the freezer.

My two cups of basil and two spoonfuls of oil yielded about two spoons of basil slurry. Not a lot, but considering I'm getting this much basil every couple of weeks, if I keep this up I'll have quite a nice supply of basil slurry (just add pine nuts and you have pesto) in my freezer should I want to make a pizza or add it to pasta this fall or winter.

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Janet Rausa Fuller

Sun-Times Food editor Janet Rausa Fuller is always thinking about her next meal.

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This page contains a single entry by James Scalzitti published on July 22, 2009 7:06 PM.

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