Wednesday, August 8

Going Green

Nick Kindelsperger and Blake Royer of The Paupered Chef in an article in The Washington Post point us to a very familiar scene:
Cooking for one can be a frustratingly wasteful adventure, as we've both figured out the hard way. Even settled down with respective girlfriends after cooking-solo singlehood, we still find ourselves with the problem of herbs. One moment we're tossing heaps of beautiful fresh basil on pasta, and the next the refrigerator drawer (that alleged "crisper") has a large bag of unappetizing blackened slosh, which goes into the trash. Not only is it wasteful, but restocking the fridge every time a recipe calls for a teaspoon of parsley is expensive.
Rebecca Blood points us to several solutions. There's the bouquet method, where you plunk the bunch of basil in a glass with water, in room temperature and away from direct sunlight. The stems will later grow roots, and will probably last from a few days to weeks, given the proper conditions.

Another technique is what Mental Masala calls pseudo-hydroponics
which involves your basil, a glass or vase, and a plastic bag with holes in it:
When you bring your basil home, trim the stems with a clipper, remove the rubber band or twist tie, and place the bunch in a glass or vase. Add a few inches of water to cover the base of the stems. Then take a plastic bag and cut a few holes in it (the fresh shiitake mushrooms I buy come in a bag with holes pre-made, so I often re-use them for this purpose). Place a plastic bag over the basil leaves and place the assembly in a well-lit location, but out of the direct sunlight. Check the water level daily and add more as needed. If all goes well roots will start sprouting from the basil.
Here's a photo of how it looks like:

Now all I need is a really healthy bunch of basil. I think I've been watching way too much of Jamie At Home.

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