Valley Bounty: Basil
The popular summertime herb, basil, is at the peak of its season right now. It’s time to harvest the plants you have growing in your own garden or take advantage of the bounty at local farmers markets. Basil has a strong flavor that makes it great for adding flavor to your dishes without using butter or salt. But be careful: Don’t add basil to your cooking until the very end, the heat quickly destroys the leaf’s taste. Use basil to dress up chicken, in a Caprese salad or make a quick pesto: Toss 2 cups of hard-packed basil and a handful of nuts and a few cloves of garlic in a food processor, slowly drizzle in about a half cup of olive oil, then add a half cup of Parmesan, salt and pepper to taste.