Tag Archives: basil

Bo Luc Lac (Vietnamese Shaking Beef Salad)

Last week, after my German class, I went to Lily’s for lunch. Weather was so hot that I did not feel like to have curry with rice or Pad Thai which I normally would order. I wanted to have something like and wanted to try something new, so I saw Bo Luc Lac and gave a try. I was a little worried if I would like it but I took the courage and came out from my comfort zone. I have never tried Bo Luc Lac in Hong Kong or Asia so I cannot tell if this is a really good one. But it came out to be a very light and refreshing dish, the beef was very tender and was cooked just right at medium. I was so happy to know this dish and tempted to make something similar at home the following day.

I searched online and found that you should use watercress but I have never seen watercress here, so I used salad cress and baby spinach instead, and I used the garden herbs I have namely thyme, small leaves basil and oregano. Most recipes I saw used oyster sauce in the marinade but I skipped it as I got a piece of US entrecôte and with good quality beef, it’s not necessary to use too much or too strong seasonings.

This is a great summer salad, I was lighter after having this no carb salad 2 times. I felt so satisfied and did not feel hungry without any carbohydrate intake. I highly recommend this as a fitness salad and it is so easy and quick to prepare as the ingredients for the vinaigrette are stock at home at all time.

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Mini Tomato Mozzarelline Skewers

In Switzerland, it is very easy to buy mozzarella, in all sizes. These mini mozzarella (mozzarelline) is perfect to serve as a snack with an aperitif. I have a lot of basil leaves at home and wonder how I can use them, by chance I saw these lovely different colors cherry tomatoes in round and oval shape. Would be a pity if I don’t buy some. The other day I had the same snack at an apéro, but they did not taste very well. Too simple, they just put the whole cherry tomato and peppered mini mozzarelline together as a skewer. Therefore with that in mind, I improved my version by giving an extra effort by cutting the tomatoes into halves and seasoned with a little fleur de sel and pepper and drizzled some extra virgin olive oil and aceto balsamic glaze as a finishing touch. It immediately made a total difference.

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caprese pasta with balsamico blanco

yellow cherry tomatoes

This summer we have some wonderful yellow pear cherry tomatoes from our vegetable garden (thanks to Philly again for introducing this special tomato to me), the normal tomatoes do not harvest well this year due to too much rain but these cute yellow light bulb-shaped ones surprisingly came out very well. They have a wonderful sweetness taste and not not acidic at all. So how should I consume them? I have made a simple and damn easy caprese pasta inspired from Christina and Peter Sturken’s blog. Ideal for hot Summer days!!!

The original recipe called for raw tomatoes but I preferred to have the tomatoes briefly roasted as I like them slightly cooked.

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best way to preserve garden herbs: freezing method in ice cube trays

Freezing self-grown basil herbs (basil) in ice cube trays for winter use

as seen in #21975 TasteSpotting/18.09.08; #5524 foodgawker/18.09.08

 

This year the summer was over in Switzerland rather early, I remembered when I first arrived Basel three years ago, also in mid-Sept, it was not this cold. I felt the warm weather just disappeared all of a sudden without any signs or saying goodbye to us, the daytime temperature dropped from 25°C to 15ºC sharply one day to another. I am missing the warm weather, I don’t want to put on winter clothes yet.

Last week, I have harvested and preserved the basil leaves from our garden so to enjoy them in the winter. My neighbour, Philly gave us two different species of basil that I had not come across in the supermarket: small leaves basil (Fig. 1) and purple leaves basil (Fig. 2).

 

Fig.1 Small leaves Basil

 

Fig.2 Purple leaves Basil

I have searched in the internet, there are so many different ways of preserving herbs that I did not know which method is the best, so I could only use my best guess. In the end, I have chosen the ice cube method (see below for details) for the small leaves basil as I do not need to chop them into smaller pieces, this seemed to be the most convenient and cleanest method.

As for the purple leaves basil, I divided the leaves in batches and wrapped them in cling film and then I used kitchen paper as separator between each batch so they will not stick together. Lastly I put them in a zip-lock bag and placed in the freezer for winter use.

 

Freezing Basil using Ice-cube method:

  1. Harvest the basil leaves, pick the healthy ones (Fig. 3).
  2. Wash, pick the leaves off the stalk and then use the salad spinner to spin out most of the water (Fig. 4 & 5). 
  3. Pat dry with kitchen towels (Fig. 6).
  4. Stuff the herbs in ice cube trays.
  5. Fill the tray with water. Using your finger push the leaves down into the water as much as possible as they tend to float. Place the ice cube tray in the freezer (Fig. 7).
  6. Once the ice cubes are frozen, remove them from the tray and transfer to zip-lock bags.
  7. These cubes are now ready for use, simply add the whole ice cube into your dish during cooking.