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The frost is almost upon us! That means it’s time to harvest the herbs!
I work at The Celtic Cup Coffee House in the small town of Tullahoma, Tennessee. I don’t have my own herb garden, but The Celtic Cup does. I love getting to use the fresh herbs when I bake quiches, casseroles, and savory scones.
Today I harvested all the basil for the winter months. If you’ve never processed herbs before, you probably think it’s really complicated. At least, that’s what I used to think. I know there are a couple different ways to do it. Drying herbs actually does take a while, so I prefer freezing them. I think it preserves the flavors better, too. It’s really a lot easier and faster than I imagined. All you have to do is snip the entire plant, wash, pluck the leaves, and freeze on a towel-lined sheet pan. After about half an hour, the leaves should be stiff enough to store in a plastic freezer bag for the winter. It’s that simple!
While we’re on the subject of basil, last week I made some delicious parmesan baked tomatoes. I love how all the local markets are just bursting with fresh fruits and veggies from the garden this time of year. I bought some beautiful plump red tomatoes and thought I would get creative. All they needed was some leftover basil pesto and a hearty sprinkle of cheese. Voila! Parmesan baked tomatoes! So fast and simple, but delicious and comforting. They taste like pizza! You can make them as a side dish or just a healthy snack.
I’m not religiously gluten free or anything, but I think I feel better when I stay away from bread. So, to accompany the tomatoes, I baked some chicken and made fresh broccoli salad. This broccoli salad was at my friend’s wedding last weekend. It was so good I had to make it for myself.
Together it was the perfect guilt free/gluten free dinner! It only takes about 30 minutes to make, so I hope this meal will find it’s way into your week as a tasty and stress free option!
- 3 ripe medium tomatoes
- ½ cup basil pesto
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 415 degrees.
- Thick slice the tomatoes and place on a parchment-lined sheet pan
- Spread about a tablespoon (more or less to taste) of basil pesto on each slice.
- Bake for about 8 minutes.
- Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top and broil on high until the cheese is lightly browned (about 4 minutes).
- 1 head broccoli
- 1 head cauliflower
- 1 medium red onion
- ½ c. Craisins (dried cranberries)
- ½ c. roasted unsalted sunflower seeds
- ¼ c. sugar
- ¼ c. white distilled vinegar
- ½ c. mayo
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- Chop broccoli and cauliflower into small bite-sized pieces.
- Small dice red onion.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, vinegar, mayo, salt, and pepper.
- Add chopped broccoli, cauliflower, onion, craisins, and sunflower seeds.
- Toss to coat all ingredients.