Roasted Red Pepper-Basil Dip

Check out this quick easy pepper-basil dip recipe! It is excellent as a vegetable dip or sandwich spread. Plus, you can use fresh herbs and veggies from your AeroGarden!

INGREDIENTS                                                                                                                  3 garlic cloves
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1 (12-oz) jar roasted red peppers, drained
1 (8-oz) package cream cheese
2 Tbsp sour cream
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper

PREPARATION (Makes 2½ cups)
With processor running, drop garlic through food chute; process until minced. Add basil; process 5 seconds until chopped. Add remaining ingredients; process until smooth. Serve at room temperature.

No time to cook?

How about a grilled cheese sandwich with a slice of fresh tomato and fresh basil leaves?
Delicious!

Here is another easy recipe with basil:

  • Grind-up basil, garlic, and olive oil into a paste. (Basil is a prime ingredient in pistou, a Mediterranean specialty.)
  • Add to cooked pasta noodles and stir.

In Italy, pine nuts and parmesan cheese are added to the paste to become pesto.

Extras: Try adding tomatoes and or bell peppers (fresh or roasted).

 

Tips: Want less carbs? Substitute noodles for zucchini noodles. (Psst! Did you know that you can grow zucchini in your AeroGarden with a “Grow Anything” Seed Pod Kit!)

GRILLED VEGETABLES

Make a deliciously smoky side for a BBQ. Use any combination of flame-kissed veggies, then brush and toss with this easy parsley and basil vinaigrette.

Prune your AeroGarden basil and parsley for the vinaigrette.

How to harvest basil

How to harvest parsley

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed with a garlic press
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and root end trimmed slightly, leaving end intact
  • 1 1/2-pound eggplant, halved crosswise, then cut lengthwise into 1″-thick strips
  • 1 large bell pepper
  • 2 1/2 pound mixed green and yellow zucchini (about 5)
  • 2 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil

Special equipment: Four 12″ skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes if wooden.

PREPARATION

Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over hot charcoal (medium-high heat or gas).

Whisk together garlic, herbs, vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl, then set aside 2/3 of vinaigrette for brushing. (set aside some of the chopped parsley and basil).

Halve onion lengthwise and cut halves lengthwise into 1/2″-wide wedges. Thread 1/2″ apart onto skewers (to hold layers together). Brush onion and eggplant with some reserved vinaigrette.

Oil grill rack, then grill pepper with onion and eggplant, covered only if using a gas grill, turning occasionally with tongs, until onion and eggplant are very tender, 6-10 minutes; transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet. Continue to grill pepper, turning it until skin is blackened, 1-2 minutes longer. Put pepper in a deep bowl and cover with a plate, then let stand while grilling remaining vegetables.

Quarter zucchini lengthwise; brush them and tomatoes with reserved vinaigrette. Grill, covered only if using a gas grill, turning tomatoes less frequently than zucchini, until tomatoes are just blistered, about 3 minutes; transfer to baking sheet. Continue to grill zucchini, turning, until just tender, 1-3 minutes longer.

Peel pepper and thinly slice flesh. Cut tomatoes into wedges and chop remaining vegetables. Add to bowl of vinaigrette along with remaining herbs and salt to taste, tossing to coat.

Cooks’ notes: If you aren’t able to grill outdoors, vegetables can be cooked on an oiled 2-burner grill pan over medium-high heat. Vegetables can be made 1 day ahead and chilled. Rewarm before serving.

Makes 4 servings

Courtesy of Epicurious

Tips for Herbs

  • Basil is usually the first seed to sprout and it grows rapidly. Harvest basil
    (and any other fast-growing herbs) to keep them an inch or two below
    the lights, and avoid raising the Light Hood until all other plants are well
    established.
  • Some herbs, such as chives, thyme, and oregano grow slowly and often
    get shaded by faster growing plants. Create space for slow-growing
    plants by pruning surrounding plants with garden shears.

SCALLOPS WITH ASIAN NOODLE SALAD

Fresh and tasty dish to use those herbs you’ve been growing, such as MINT, BASIL, and CILANTRO!

107069

YIELD
Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

Salad

  • 4 ounces bean thread noodles (cellophane noodles)*
  • 4 ounces snow peas, thinly sliced on diagonal (about 1 1/3 cups)
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 1 cup matchstick-size strips seeded peeled cucumber
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted salted peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons finely shredded carrot
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup Thai fish sauce (nam pla)*
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced serrano chili
  • 1 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce*

Scallops

  • 1 pound sea scallops
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped lemongrass*
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
 PREPARATION

For salad:

  1. Pull noodles apart; place in large bowl. Pour enough boiling water over to cover generously. Soak noodles until tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Drain; return to same bowl. Cut noodles in half (or in thirds if very long).
  2. Add snow peas, bean sprouts, cucumber, herbs, peanuts, and carrot to noodles and toss to blend. Combine 1/3 cup water and all remaining ingredients in small bowl; whisk to blend. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Stir dressing into noodle mixture. Let stand 15 minutes, tossing occasionally.

For scallops:

  1. Sprinkle scallops with sugar, salt, and pepper. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots, lemongrass, and garlic; stir 1 minute. Add scallops; sauté until just opaque in center, about 3 minutes.
  2. Divide salad among 4 plates; top with scallops and serve.

Available at Asian markets and in the produce section and/or Asian foods section of some supermarkets.

Courtesy of Epicurious

Easy Pesto Recipe

Basil is one of the fastest growing herbs in the AeroGarden so here is a recipe that focuses 100% on basil. Use right away on toast, in sandwiches, with crackers, mixed with warm pasta – or freeze and pull it out in the middle of winter to bring tastes of summer back when the temps are cold outside.

  • 2 cups of basil
  • 3 cloves of minced garlic (more or less to taste)
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup parmesean cheese (more or less to taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Pulse basil, garlic and toasted pine nuts in a food processor until coarsely combined. Slowly add oil while processor is running until mixture is smooth. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl and add parmesean cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately and store in refrigerator. If freezing, transfer to freezer safe bowl and top with olive oil.

What is YOUR favorite Pesto recipe? Please post them so we can all enjoy!

Trim Back Basil for Bigger Harvests

The most frequent mistake made by new AeroGardeners growing fresh herbs is in NOT trimming back basil.  Basil grows like a weed in the AeroGarden, and often excited gardeners raise the light hood quickly to accomodate it.  Don’t do it!  Raising the light hood diminishes light to all the other plants, and they need it more.  Instead, trim back that basil.  Again and again!  The more you trim basil, the more it bushes out.  For every one branch you trim, two new ones appear! 

Start trimming after the second set of true leaves and never look back.  Enjoy your harvests in soups, salads, pastas and more.  By aggressively trimming back your basil and keeping the lights down low, you’ll not only harvest more low growing herbs like thyme and oregano, you’ll also harvest more basil too!