Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Dog food: a formal review

Dear Reader,

Has another food writer so lovingly approached the subject of breaking bread with one's own dog?

Image by Jonathan Sharpe, Free Times
Please accept this holiday gift: one of the greatest lil food articles in history, by the Free Times' Tug Baker -- featuring human-compatible dog food by none other than TV star Dick Van Patten. (Weird.)

Beautiful photos by Jonathan Sharpe. Wow.

Free Times: Features - Holiday Surprise







Ho ho ho!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The new Charleston food mecca: Chef Sean Brock's Husk Restaurant

When in Charleston, SC, I find it quite difficult to resist scheduling my days around fabu meals at food nerd meccas.

Today's Sunday brunch meal period was open, and I've been hearing about Husk, this new resto by Chef Sean Brock of McCrady's, where locally, sustainably farmed/produced Southern food is the gospel. Have you ever come across Chef Brock's blog? It is COOL. And it is exemplary of the food at McCrady's, which leans toward the molecular gastronomy trend with its groovy foams and gelees.

Image courtesy Husk Restaurant
Husk, on the other hand, has a more casual menu of fancypants New Southern preparations, all sourced from SC and nearby purveyors.

Love the big blackboard in the main hallway noting each ingredient's provenance, as well as the in-depth vendor details posted on the Husk website.


Loved having coffee out of a Heath ceramics coffee set. Heath is that big-deal boutique pottery brand out of Sausalito, CA.

(Food nerds go ape for Heath, no? It's a clear sign of a high-quality enterprise if a restaurant uses Heath in its dining room.)











Note the drinking glasses made from recycled wine bottles; I asked if they were made by my pal Brenton Sadreameli of Mr. B's Bottleneck Guitar Slides in West Columbia, SC.

Image courtesy Mr. B's Sustainable Glassworks
In fact, those glasses are from out west, but the manager asked for Brenton's info (which I handily had on my Android phone thanks to the way it syncs with all of my Facebook contacts!), cause how cool would it be to source these eco-friendly glasses from right here in SC?

Brenton and his business partner will etch glasses and vases with whatever you want, and you can bring in special bottles to their studio (behind Old Mill Antique Mall on State Street, right next to that cute little plant nursery).

It's a great place to recycle wine bottles from events and parties, too.




Image courtesy Mr. B's Sustainable Glassworks
Since I'm on a Mr. B's tangent, I love this picture of Brenton with our own dear Bill Murray, taken from the Mr. B's website.

It's kindof like being photographed with God. He was the leader of the Ghostbusters, for crying out loud.















Anyhoo, back to Husk.

Image courtesy Husk Restaurant

Loved the location: a historic, two-story home w/porch balconies on Queen St., between King and Meeting Streets in downtown Charleston. Great for travelers on vacation who want to rack up the Southern charm. (It's right between local faves 82 Queen and Poogan's Porch, in fact, right around the corner from the Mills House hotel.)

Loved Husk's friendly, confident staff and their brown aprons. Loved the decor: stacked firewood at the entrance, old bank coin bags as bread baskets and dried okra pods in short vases filled with ground corn, in particular.

Loved the salad of Maria's baby lettuces w/dreamy buttermilk dressing and large pickled shrimp ($12). My friend Mary and I agree that we could be very happy ladies if we could have that salad with a glass of white wine about once a week from now on.

(There *is* a separate Husk bar building next door.)

The dressing was pooled at the bottom of the salad, not poured on top. I like.



Also, the tomatoes and cucumbers had been peeled and deseeded, a nice luxury touch that I don't always want or need (since the seed jelly holds so much flavor) -- but today? Loved it.

Loved the wood-fired SC beef tenderloin ($16) topped w/sunny-side-up farm egg. a chunky potato hash, and Benton's smoked sausage, too. Mamma jamma.

Also: loved noshing on a selection of fancy Southeastern prosciutto hams ($13), with house-pickled green tomatoes and homemade pull-apart rolls.

That little skillet? Full of whole grain mustard.








Did not like the fact, however, that our entrees came out literally 3 minutes after our starters -- a huge pet peeve when I'm there to take my time and savor each course. Huge.

And the supposedly amazing fried chicken ($13) was on the dry side, frankly, despite having been poached for 36 hours in buttermilk. However the crunchy fried fried on it was a total delight; apparently the chef leaves the chicken in flour for a half hour during the dredging process to achieve optimum crispiness.

The accompanying creamed collards (cooked sous vide, I believe, and still a fresh, bright green) would have benefited from a thin-sliced chiffonade treatment instead of being presented in unwieldy, waxy 2-inch wide slices bathed in an unappealing bechamel. But hey, that's just my opinion. And this isn't a formal review; I'm just excited about my brunch and I want to share with all of my fellow foodie friends.

I haven't forgotten that the restaurant only just opened in early November, 2010, either. It can take a few months for a new restaurant to work out the kinks.

The verdict? Husk is a must-visit.

Now I am going to go and have a super lazy afternoon and watch a bad thriller with a dear friend.

Xoxo!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

This is one awfully friendly armadillo

I saw my first armadillo the other day. It didn't seem too bothered by the fact that I am about 20 times its size.

Cumberland Island National Seashore, GA; at the ruins of Dungeness, Lucy Carnegie's winter home 
FYI I just did an at-a-glance measurement routine on myself to determine that remarkably useful stat for you, imagining an armadillo on my arm, on my upper arm, on my shoulder, etc., then counting them all up.

Because the internet is all about scholarly pursuits.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

SC makes alcohol permits illegal -- by accident

Seriously?

This goes pretty far beyond "whoops!" and likely is going to hurt a fair number of small businesses in the state of South Carolina.

Great.

Looks like it's letter-writing time, folks. Hit your South Carolina House rep and your Senator with some emails and phone calls before January, or...say goodbye to adult beverages at...weddings? Seriously?



Reposted from today's Free Times:
Issue #23.48 :: 11/30/2010 - 12/06/2010


“Somebody screwed up,” says Tom Sponseller

BY EVA MOORE

"Lawmakers are scrambling to figure out how a state law passed this year ended up barring businesses and individuals from serving beer and wine at special events.

Because of that law, starting in January, the Department of Revenue will only grant special-event permits to serve beer and wine to nonprofit organizations and political parties. They will stop issuing permits to businesses and individuals — promoters, caterers and other event organizers, for example — who must obtain licenses every time they want to serve beer and wine in a location without a permanent beer and wine license.

“Somebody screwed up,” says Tom Sponseller, head of..." (read the rest of Eva Moore's story at The Free Times website

Thank you, Eva, for reporting on this!

I'm glad that my nonprofit friends, clients and affiliates will be able to apply for alcohol permits more easily, but I get a sick feeling thinking about what this does to business for my friends in the catering industry, not to mention The Whig and The White Mule, two of the best low-budget bartender-for-hire services in town.

Here's a listing of members of the SC House of Representatives, so you can grab your legislators' email addresses and phone numbers...

...and here's a directory for the South Carolina State Senate.

Don't mess with my food & beverage industry people, y'all. They work hard as h-e-double-hockey-sticks to bring levity to this cruel world. Let's support them!



Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday Fashion, Groupon, Coupon!

Dear friends, my friend Anne has published some terrific Black Friday deals focused on locally owned, independent businesses. I think this is RAD.

Go to The Shop Tart and check out Anne's Black Friday magic!







What I've been up to:

Thanksgiving dinner by the sea at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island: white wine, fancy turkey panini + yukon fries!


In the meantime, here the daily deal from Groupon is pretty tight: for $25 for $75 worth of wine from internet retailer Barclay's Wine. Nice, whether you are on the West Coast or in the dear old state of South Carolina:


Go ahead, use my Groupon referral link! http://www.groupon.com/r/uu7866963

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Snow Leopard Wine? Hellooooo, Christmas!

Snow leopard wine? YESSSS.

Snow Leopard Conservancy - You Can Help

My favorite zoo animal growing up? The snow leopard.

Which I visited often at Riverbanks Zoo in my hometown of Columbia, SC. (Riverbanks is really quite the excellent zoo! This was confirmed when I visited the San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park last year!)

My friend Jeremiah is a zookeeper at the San Francisco Zoo (and he's a North Carolinian!); he sent me the info on this cool nonprofit fundraising initiative. Thanks, bro!

"I wanted to let everyone know about Long Tail wine, which is a project that we helped create about a year ago in an effort to support our dear friends at the Snow Leopard Conservancy. 

Dr. Rodney Jackson and Darla Hillard have dedicated their lives to researching and saving snow leopards in the wild, and your purchase of this wine contributes directly to this worthy cause."


It's a Long Tail Revival!

Proudly re-introducing Long Tail wines, the Snow Leopard Conservancy's most delicious fundraising effort. Sip to our success and the Snow Leopard's survival, by purchasing Long Tail wines.
Created by celebrity winemaker Gustavo Brambila at Torchlight Cellars, these wines are well-balanced and in limited supply (just like the Snow Leopard!) so get yours soon.
Learn More
Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 Reserve
Put your wine dollars to work for snow leopards!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

White Wine Sangria w/orange liqueur for Thanksgiving Day!

This white wine sangria recipe is tasty, easy, and pleases a crowd in this crisp, Fall weather. Takes advantage of the autumn apple season, of course, and a kick of Citronge orange liqueur gives it a holiday lilt.

Naturally, the alcohol in this recipe is guaranteed to take the edge off for any Thanksgiving host(ess). Blessed be. Happy Thanksgiving!

White Wine Sangria with Orange Liqueur
Serves: 12-20
Prep time: 20-30 minutes
Ingredients:
  • 2 chilled bottles crisp, dry, unoaked white wine like pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc
  • 1/4 to 1/3 small (375mL) bottle of Citronge orange liqueur, or similar -- to taste
  • 2-3 crisp, heirloom variety red apples, like Fuji, Braeburn, Honeycrisp, etc., diced how you like (but a 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch dice works well)
  • 1-2 green Granny Smith apples, diced
  • 2-4 navel oranges, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 bunch red globe grapes or similar
  • 1/4-1/2 liter or so ginger ale (Schweppes is the best mainstream brand, IMHO)
  • Punchbowl or big ole pitcher
Assembly:
  1. Slice 1 orange and 1 apple into wide, flat slices for garnish.
  2. Dice your fruit. Don't make the mistake I made of cutting your grapes in half, as they will cease to float. See? No grapes in the pic above. Bummer!
  3. **Pour white wine over your cut fruit so that the apples don't brown. Fun fact you probably already know: The acid in white wine offers the same preventive magic for apple browning as lemon juice!
  4. Put all of the cut fruit in wine into the freezer until go time, so that your fruit can serve as ice cubes for the punch!
  5. Mix everything together in a punchbowl or pitcher, adjust for taste, and have at it!

**If you have time to make an ice ring out of the punch ingredients, that is particularly ideal. The Shop Tart taught me that one!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Weird Vintage Halloween Costume Ideas

Thank you, Dorothy B, and therefore thank you, Huffington Post, for this 13-pic slideshow of the creepiest vintage Halloween costumes ever. Awesome!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/20/creepiest-vintage-halloween-costumes_n_768513.html#s160548

"Unicorn Father," reposted via Huff Post via Thedailywh.at


Friday, October 22, 2010

Pink taffy mechanically separated chicken milkshake

I love that mechanically separated chicken looks like a really delicious strawberry milkshake-taffy snake, and that 20,000+ people, some rather angry, responded to this choice bit of social media, here:

http://early-onset-of-night.tumblr.com/post/1206666159/say-hello-to-mechanically-separated-chicken-its#notes

reposted from Michael Kindt, author of Early Onset of Night, Volume One


p.s. Hey everyone! My events + communications partner Debi Schadel dreamed up a great new local-to-national action campaign for our social media client, the nonprofit SC Small Business Chamber of Commerce. It's all about shopping independent and local (like our Shop Tart prescribes):

Buy SC presents:
Local Has It: Happy Hardware Day!
November 20, 2010
Location: Everywhere, U.S.A.!
Time: All day

All you gotta do is hit an independent, locally owned hardware store on Saturday, November 20! Anywhere and everywhere. Easy!

fab poster design by Karen Williford of ADCO


I love working with clients I believe in.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Crazy good pumpkin-sage tacos w/fresh salsa verde!

These pumpkin-sage tacos with fresh salsa verde are crazy good!

They are also really rather easy to make if you happen to have shopped already in hopes of making an impromptu fancy taco or ten.

I knew I had some soft corn tortillas in the freezer, some jalapenos and serrano peppers on the bush out in the garden, and limes in the veggie drawer, so the signs were pointing to Mexican anyway.

Since avocados were on sale at the Piggly Wiggly the other day, I bought a few, plus a handful of little green, husky tomatillos.

And as for the pumpkin:


Inspired by my friend Claudia, who had an impromptu little pumpkin decorating party last night, we went to the store and got ourselves a couple of pumpkins to carve.




Jay's is incredibly artful, of course. I copied his nose-making technique and I think it's really the way to go (for me, at least) from here on out when it comes to pumpkin face noses.

I haven't carved a pumpkin in years! It was fun. Gorgeous autumn weather, an impossibly perfect blue sky, squirrels rustling in the pecan trees.

Mine, on the bottom, was an excuse to make a guy with a really big mustache. I just realized, though: it looks just like the Pringles man

Awesome.






While hollowing out the pumpkins to carve, we noticed two kinds of pumpkin innards coming out.


The gross, slimy, wet, clingy stringy bits attached to the seeds (the really orange-y stuff on the left), which are wholly unappetizing...




...and these firmer, fleshier, more opaque strands, which looked like they'd actually be rather good to eat...













...all fried up in a bunch of sage brown butter, perhaps?

Happily, nerd that I am, I have some sage growing in my container garden.

Just like Steven Seagal, it's hard to kill. (Um, btw you should def click on that link--there's a sweet excerpt from The Onion Movie.)









And good thing I didn't completely give up butter when I did the "Roxanne overhaul" on my pantry and fridge. (I do still use coconut milk creamer, Earth Balance, millet-flax bread and agave nectar instead of half & half, butter, wheat bread and sugar, among many other groovy next-generation health food substitutions.)

See the way the butter gets foamy? That's the fatty milk solid business. It's what gets brown.

Mmm. Fried sage.

(Seriously, all that is in that cast iron wok is some  butter on medium heat, into which I dropped about 10 whole sage leaves. Yummah.

I'm sure vegan butter would work just fine, btw.)







Now the pumpkin strands and a sprinkle of kosher salt. For 2-3 pats of butter, I used just over a cup of pumpkin flesh strands.

Again: not the clear, slimy strands -- just the firm, 1/16-inch strands that ultimately pack together so tightly on the inside of the pumpkin that they form its flesh.

Those ones.

I'd say you can get about 4-5 cups of good pumpkin strands out of 2 medium-sized pumpkins.






Me, I had some cooked field peas in the fridge, thawed and simmered up in some vegan bouillon and water, from back in the summer when I put up a huge batch for the winter.

After a few minutes of browning and frequent stirring on medium heat (which is pretty hot if you use a gas stove, btw), I added about a half cup of those field peas (or any beans will do, I think!) and a TBSP of chopped scallions. More browning. Yummah yummah.

Easy Salsa Verde
While the pumpkin strands and field peas were busily browning further (smelled so good), I grabbed my tiny food processor and whizzed up the following:

3 big tomatillos
1 very small, de-seeded jalapeno
1 very small, de-seeded serrano pepper
10-12 sprigs fresh cilantro, stems and all
juice of 1 lime
dash of salt & fresh ground pepper

Done!





I love to see an avocado sweat.


It's like it knows.

That it's almost taco time.











Did you know that vegan Tofutti brand sour cream is awesome? I learned this from Roxanne. Less calories, more protein and nutrition.

I probably wouldn't eat it plain by the spoonful or anything, but as a creamy, cold condiment it pretty much rules.

I would like to whizz it up in the food processor with something amazing and bizarre and unusual. What should I use?





OK. Taco time!

I sauteed up a corn tortilla, then I filled it with these delightful things:

-browned pumpkin-sage field pea scallion magic (above)
-salsa verde (above)
-vegan sour cream
-sprigs of fresh cilantro
-and...






 ...a smidgen of this smoky habanero hot sauce from Salsas Asheville. Thank you to The Shop Tart, who got me some last time she and @Tankblack were up there!

This stuff is like crack. I would put it on anything. Even chocolate cake. (Would I really?)






To recap:

Pumpkin-sage tacos w/field peas and fresh salsa verde
Instructions are above, but for your shopping ease, here is the ingredient list:

Main taco stuff: 
1 cup of the non-slimy type of pumpkin strands, carved out of a fresh whole pumpkin (I bet shredded or julienned butternut squash would be really great, too)
1/2 cup field peas or beans
8-10 fresh sage leaves
1-2 TBSP butter 
pinch salt
small soft corn tortillas (an already crispy, all-American taco shell just doesn't do it for me)

Salsa Verde
3 big tomatillos
1 very small, de-seeded jalapeno
1 very small, de-seeded serrano pepper
10-12 sprigs fresh cilantro, stems and all
juice of 1 lime
dash of salt & fresh ground pepper

Additional toppings: 
Sliced avocado
(Tofutti!) sour cream
reddish, smoky hot sauce (Salsas Asheville!)
Fresh cilantro
Want to add cheese? Go nuts! Add cheese!

BTdubs, I tried this taco recipe first with my fave garlicky, oregano-y spinach-millet wraps, and it did not taste right. Not right at all.

But with a plain old corn tortilla? OMG. I think I am going to make another one right now!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Forage your own floral arrangements!

Down in the Lowcountry last weekend, I happened upon a giant, 6-foot tall American Beautyberry bush in a harborside wild spot -- it was positively popping with gleaming little purple berry clusters.

Thanks to Amanda McNulty ("Making It Grow"), who used it in her inspired, all-foraged arrangements for the 2010 CVSC Green Tie Luncheon, I'm kinda crushed out on purple beautyberry right now.

In a major way.





Since the beautyberry bush in our front yard is a tad spindly, I retrieved my pruners from their permanent spot in my car and clipped a few branches to bring home and add to an arrangement I'd done for the SC Small Business Chamber's networking seminar last week -- making sure to leave the bush looking balanced and still full of berries despite my little harvest.

Beautyberry is an important winter survival resource for birds.

(I really want to learn more about which wild plants and flowers are endangered or rare, so that my increasing forays into roadside greenery cutting don't inadvertently screw the pooch.)









Meanwhile, I'm really enjoying using wild, native, and "weed" plants, as well as bits from friends' yards (and my own) in floral arrangements -- not just because they save a great deal of money when it comes to an event budget's bottom line -- but also because there's some really cool stuff out there!



Image: The Shop Tart
This was fun; I did a bunch of dining table centerpieces for Tom and Julie Hall's big wine dinner with NYC/CHS authors The Lee Brothers out at SMOKE this past May.

I found those rad little ball-on-a-stick alliums and some lavender-colored spray flowers on the roadside near Heathwood Hall; noticed the dark pink wild roses in a mini-forest near Owens Field; took Julie's recommendation that I clip rosemary from their yard; and followed up on Tom's text message tip-off that there was a whole mess of light pink wild roses on the road shoulder near their farmhouse in Blythewood.

All I bought for these 30-odd arrangements were a few dozen roses to fancy things up a bit. ('Cause fancy is fun.)








This was a fun project, too! I had the best time gathering wild greenery for the recent "Green is the New Pink"  benefit at Momo's, for the Share Our Suzy breast cancer charity.

Shani Gilchrist (a.k.a. Camille Maurice) is such a lovely hostess!

I bought a few dozen roses and some gladiolus for something hot and bright and showy, and that's where the financial outlay stopped.







I found these big sprays of hardy, lime green, pre-bloom goldenrod (or ragweed?) to use as fill, again on the roadside near Heathwood Hall. Why pre-bloom? The flower buds were such a cool shade of green, plus I wanted to avoid triggering party guests' allergies! (Although I just read somewhere that the ragweed/goldenrod allergy thing is actually not true?)

I also found wild, ferny, dilly-smelling dog fennel; super-tall, graceful grasses; and these delicate little light pink accent flowers on a roadside near a feed & seed warehouse. Had a great conversation there with one of the distributors about how his wife likes to gather greenery for arrangements from the roadside, too!

Then I cut a few wide, dark green fatsia leaves from our yard; despite its unseemly name, fatsia is one of my new favorite decor tools. The SC Arts Commission's visual arts director, the amazing Harriett Green, taught me the wonders of using long-lasting, dramatic-looking fatsia leaves -- as well as spiraling, striking curling willow -- in her arrangements at 701 Center for Contemporary Art.





All that remained was to jam in a few sprigs of purple beautyberry and a big branch of dried okra, all of which I had recycled (with permission, of course!) from the remains of Amanda McNulty's all-local arrangements for the Green Tie Luncheon.

Oh, and a few pears that one of undefined magazine editor Cindi Boiter's friends had brought from his tree to one of her fab little country gatherings.

Pop those bad boys onto bamboo skewers, and voila!





Similarly, you can stick bananas, citrus halves -- whatever -- onto bamboo skewers (or whole pineapples on bamboo sticks!) and jam them into a floral arrangement for a luscious effect.

Just watch out for drippage when it comes to those pineapples -- if they're super ripe it can get really really sticky, really really fast.

I learned that one while prepping this centerpiece for the Free Times' 2010 Best of Columbia party. My event planning colleague, the awesome Debi Schadel, was very patient with me while I figured out how to mount the pineapples without making a giant mess and toppling the whole thing. Pineapples are heavy!











I had a real blast doing arrangements for master gardener Jenks Farmer's recent nutrition soiree at the historic Seibels House, which I just learned is the oldest house in Columbia! 











Lucky me: I had the great pleasure of clipping treasures for the party from Jenks' glorious yard! He's all about perennials, which is inspiring; his perennials blog is fantastic and full of practical advice (as is his monthly Columbia City Farmer blog on The Shop Tart!)  I plan to plant more perennials over time, so that my yard becomes a year-round cutting bonanza.

That's right. A bonanza!

(Thrift store containers like this vintage coffee pot thinger make nice, inexpensive vases, btw.)

I bought some roses and glads for the Seibels event, but the financial outlay was truly minimal. There are so many groovy -- and sustainable -- ways to do floral decor without breaking ye olde banke.





You can put together an entire arrangement, in fact, with zero dollars -- like the centerpieces I assembled for SMOKE's Andy Friedman wine dinner at Momo's Bistro earlier this summer. I wanted to try to do the whole thing foraged; it was challenging but very fun!

Again I clipped some rosemary, as well as magnolia leaves & seed pods, baby figs & fig leaves from Julie Hall's yard. (I love your yard, Julie!)

I then found these wild white hibiscus-looking flowers with groovy pods out by the water treatment plant; and I collected orange trumpet vine from a railroad right-of-way. Boom! Done.


Granted, it will consume a fair amount of your time -- many hours, often of the sweaty, suncreen-slathered variety -- to hunt these things down, harvest them, and remove their many scraggly, unappealing bits and bottom leaves which could, if submerged, not only look yucky but also poison your arrangement from below.

Each project is a welcome reminder for me that there's a *really* good reason florists charge a bundle for those pretty, perfectly processed, ready-to-go flower bunches and arrangements, and it's not just because shipping cut flowers from Ecuador is pricey. 

Word up to professional florists, especially those like local star Floral & Hardy, who take a sustainable approach to growing, cutting and arranging flowers!

But when I have the time, I totally enjoy rambling around country roads and wildflower-strewn industrial areas with my water-friendly sandals, bramble-resistant knee boots, a panoply of gardening gloves, pruners, scissors, bath towels, and my sweetheart's Corona saw (pilfered and as yet unreturned to him!), as well as giant water buckets, bungee cords galore and NPR blaring from the open car windows -- on a hunt for something strange and pretty to use in an arrangement.






What do you do to be green, save money, and jack up your creativity when it comes to decor? I would love to hear about it.

Til then, happy autumn, and see you on the roadside!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

High five from a bumble bee!

Basil harvest!

Temperatures are dropping to the 40s at night here in South Carolina, so I get the feeling I'd better get most of the big leaves off of the 12-15 sweet Genovese basil plants I grew from seed this summer in the garden.

For making pesto! Which I will freeze and use all year when I am feeling lazy!



I've found great success harvesting basil by picking the big leaves and the very tops as well, so that the little guys budding by the stem can flourish and become big, themselves.

And so the plant doesn't flower and therefore go to seed yet, so I can keep maxing out my basil supply.












I like to use the pesto recipe from The Silver Spoon cookbook as a rough guide to making my own (thank you again, Wendy, for giving that book to me!); and subbing in toasted walnuts for pine nuts seems to work real, real nice for my taste buds right now.

(Doesn't hurt that the modest, pedestrian walnut is cheaper than the astronomically expensive pine nut.)











Meanwhile, my green shiso plants are flowering in a very basil-like fashion, hopefully meaning lots of little shiso plants scattered about the yard next growing season!















This bee is puttin' five on it.
















What are your herb harvesting tips? Pesto recipes?

Let's nerd out.