Tidbits #7 – The most versatile spice in the mint family.

What can I say? I love basil…   If I had it my way, I would have had basil leaves sprinkled on our honeymoon bed in lieu of rose petals (Oops, forgot this was family-friendly blog…).  I grow them in our living room – nothing like the fragrant aroma of basil mixed with Starbucks Ethiopian dark roast percolating @4:30 in the morning.  This versatile spice of the mint family really does add bright, slightly sweet flavor to just about anything you cook – from omelets to Vietnamese pho to Korean short ribs

  • Choose – I never really understood when folks smell watermelon before purchasing.  With basil, you really have to take a good inhale.  Look for smooth, green leaves that are fragrant.
  • Store – If roots are attached, put it in a glass filled with water at a room temperature.  If roots are detached, wrap it in damp paper towel and refrigerate (this works with just about any other spice).
  • Prepare – I like basil as a whole even if the recipe calls for sliced and diced.  Simply detach from the stem and cut off any browning portions on the leaves.

Some of my favorite basil dishes in addition to the three mentioned above include: basil lemonade; basil aioli; and basil, watermelon and feta salad (drench in olive oil and add salt and pepper to bring out sweetness of watermelon and the leaves).  Ahh, spring is in the air… 


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About Richard Lee
Experienced finance and operations professional. Currently partner in five companies, adjunct professor of economics at Columbia College and executive contributor to a small business blog (www.SMBmatters.com); following corporate finance, M&A and management consulting tenures with Orbitz and Diamond Technology Partners; and six years of service with the United States Army.

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