Monday, June 27, 2011

Breakfast Herbs

Are you ever completely surprised by the end-product of a recipe that sounded straight-forward and easily imagined? That happened to me this morning with the Sweet Basil Smoothie (pg 209) from Giada at Home.

My basil plant is waging war against my rosemary, so this smoothie seemed like a good way to trim it back a little. First, you make a lemon syrup--water, sugar, lemon zest. Let it cool, then add it to yogurt and basil. The recipe calls for ice, but my blender is crap, so I omitted the ice and added a little milk to loosen up my Greek yogurt. Call me crazy, but I assumed that this would taste like lemon and basil. I was wrong, in the best possible way. For all that zest, the lemon was just a background note that worked with the sugar to draw floral tones from the basil. It was like drinking flowers, fresh from a field (as opposed to in an overwhelming, funeral parlor type of way).
I thought this would be greener.
I guess I've never really had basil as the primary flavor of a sweet dish before. I had one of those "WOAH!" moments, where a whole new spectrum of dessert possibilities spanned out before my eyes. (Sidenote to Yummychunklet--the basil/lemon/sugar combo would make a killer ice cream for your nifty machine). I might start throwing basil in everything, just to see what happens.

To continue my herb theme, I also baked Strawberry and Rosemary Scones. I remember seeing Giada make these on tv, and they sounded good, but I couldn't read the faces of her husband's coworkers, who she delivered them to. Either these men were really uncomfortable on camera, or they didn't like the scones. Now that I've tasted these first-hand, I've decided that they must have been uncomfortable, because these scones are f-ing delicious.
With finely chopped rosemary in the batter, a blob of strawberry jelly in the center, and lemon glaze drizzled on top, there are a lot of different flavors here, and they all work together beautifully. It's balanced. It's not like BAM! ROSEMARY! In a blind taste test, it might take me a few seconds to identify that flavor. The scones are buttery, moist, and not-too-sweet. They did spread more than I expected them to, so several of mine fused together, but that's not a big deal. I'll just know to leave more room next time.

Both of these recipes produced refreshing, happy food that made me want to go outside and lay in a hammock.

Conclusion: Love, on both counts.


  1. Nice Basil submission. Can't have it taking over the rosemary. Not when there's lovely scones in its future :)

  2. Sounds really yummy. I have also heard of basil lemonade- which would probably also make a super fabulous "spanish lemon brandy cocktail" 3-4 OZ basil lemonade mixed with 1 OZ Spanish Brandy and 1/2 OZ triple sec or grand marnier, and 1/2 TSP of turbinado sugar- shaken, not stirred- served with a lemon peel or tiny wedge and a basil leaf... yeah, I'm there!

  3. Well now that sounds pretty delicious. I'd been wondering what to do with all the leftover lemon syrup. BOOZE!! lol

  4. do you have spanish brandy? it is FREAKING AWESOME for brandy cocktails. learned about it late one night at the original Jaleo on 7th street. Here are the brands to look for:
    Soberano, Carlos 1 & 3, Veterano, Magno, Torres, Lepanto, Cardenal Mendoza.
    Seems like Texas MIGHT have them!? French brandy is a bit too refined as a mixer, I think. Spanish brandy has "taste cojones" to spare :)

  5. I don't have it yet, but I'll be on the lookout for it now. The only brandy I have in the house is cheapo cooking brandy.

  6. and if you don't have any brandy handy- here is another suggestion: shake 1 OZ vodka ( flavored is a plus but regular will do) w 2 OZ lemonade and a TB lemon syrup- and then float a TB of lemon sorbet( if you have it), lemon peel or small wedge, and a couple of raspberries, blueberries, a strawberry and basil leaf in the glass...

  7. here is the recipe for the classic and very fine lemon drop cocktail:
    1 1/2 ounces vodka (use a good-quality vodka)
    1/2 ounce orange liqueur (Triple Sec, Grand Marnier, Cointreau, etc.)
    1 teaspoon superfine sugar or to taste*
    3/4 ounce freshly-squeezed lemon juice
    you can just sub your lemon syrup for the sugar/lemon components- but you do need the orange liqueur for flavoring.

  8. and so having recommended the lemon martinis, which are fine in their own right, I maintain that the spanish brandy lemon cocktail is asuperior concoction - similar to the mid-century NYC brandy based "sidecar", but not quite as strong- and most refreshing and "old world" delicious when made with the tasty Jerez brandies of Spain!

  9. Ooh! Right when I read the basil comment, I thought of ice cream as well! I'm going to try this combo this weekend! Your smoothie sounds delicious!