Right about now you are probably hearing lots of people talking about their gardens and how much zucchini, lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers they have, right? Wrong, in my garden. The leaves on every plant strangely crinkled up and didn’t grow – they are still as small as they were the day I planted them. I recently begged my master gardener neighbor to come examine my tomato plants and tell me what was wrong with them. I can’t recall the exact name, but the verdict wasn’t great – they have some disease that blows in on the wind on hot dry summer days (as was typical in early summer), and I should simply pull all the plants. She said that even if the plants do grow vegetables they will taste terrible.
She was right – yesterday I tasted the one sad looking tomato that did grow, and it tasted downright nasty. This disease affected my tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchinis, and more. I am pretty grumpy about this – I actually *bought* zucchini at the grocery store last week, which was just an assault on my gardening ego. BUY a zucchini? It’s sacrilege.
As baffling as it was to have this strange disease in my garden, it was equally baffling to watch the basil explode. I bought and planted four small plants in May, and as much as the rest of the garden lacks, the basil has more than made up for it. It’s as if the basil sucked all the energy out of the rest of the plants.
I harvested these giant, super-sized plants last weekend, and brought inside two large vitamin cottage grocery bags, stuffed and overflowing with perfect, lush basil. Of course I made pesto to freeze- enough for 20 dinners. After I ran out of pine nuts, olive oil & garlic, I tied up large bunches to dry in the garage. Then I gave about 5 large grocery sacks to anyone who would take it. I still had a large mound of freshly cut basil sitting on my kitchen counter and after much searching online, I discovered Lemon Basil Garlic Butter. I added it to broccoli that night and could not believe what a boost of flavor it gave. But of course – doesn’t everything taste better with butter? It does with lemon basil butter.
The recipe is so simple, and variable! No doubt you could make this with any combination of herbs from your garden.
Take out 2 sticks of butter and leave it on the counter all day until it softens.
Throw it in a kitchen aid mixer. Now add 2 cups basil, juice of 1 lemon, sea salt, and some garlic powder. Form a log on some wax paper, roll it up and freeze.
When it is frozen, slice the log into slices and store in snack size ziplock baggies.
Use it to season broccoli, asparagus, chicken, salmon, steak…I truly think this butter would be good with anything and a little bit goes a long way.
SJPmama is the schemer, founder, and the editor at San Juan Parent. She created San Juan Parent because she wanted to find fun activities for families in the San Juan Mountain Region that would tire her kids out and make them go to bed at a decent hour. She has been banging away on computers for longer than she can remember and freelances at various tech jobs. She considers herself extremely lucky to have such awesome friends and family who are willing to let SJP feature their stories on the interwebs.