Basil

Charred Squash Salad

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 pounds assorted summer squash (such as zucchini and summer squash), halved lengthwise

  • 1 large fresh red onion, halved

  • Cooking spray

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 1/2 cup torn fresh basil leaves

  • 1/2 cup torn fresh mint leaves

  • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

PREPARATION:

  1. Preheat grill to high.

  2. Coat cut sides of squash and onion with cooking spray; sprinkle evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

  3. Arrange squash and onion, cut side down, on grill; cover and grill 5 minutes. Rotate vegetables; cover and grill 3 minutes. Turn vegetables over; grill 2 minutes. Remove squash from grill. Continue grilling onion 4 minutes; remove from grill.

  4. Cool to room temperature.

Steak With Zucchini

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 teaspoons olive oil

  • 1 1/2 pounds strip steak

  • kosher salt and pepper

  • 1 1/2 pounds small zucchini, halved lengthwise

  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

  • 1 small clove garlic, finely chopped

  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (such as parsley, cilantro, or basil)

  • 2 tablespoons bread crumbs

PREPARATION:

  1. Heat 3 teaspoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the steak with ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper.

  2. Cook the steak to desired doneness, 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to a cutting board. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

  3. Meanwhile, return the pan to medium heat and add 2 teaspoons of the oil. Season the zucchini with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.

  4. Cook the zucchini, cut-side down, covered, until browned and tender, about 6 minutes. Cut crosswise into ½-inch pieces and divide among plates.

  5. In a bowl, combine the lemon zest, garlic, herbs, bread crumbs, and remaining oil. Sprinkle the mixture over the zucchini and serve with the steak.

Chilled Cucumber Soup, Persian-Style

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup walnut hearts, toasted and finely chopped

  • 2 cups plain yogurt (not Greek yogurt)

  • 1 1/2 cup ice water

  • 1/2 to 3/4 of a seedless English cucumber, finely chopped (about 1 to 1 1/2 cups chopped), plus a few cucumber slices for serving

  • 1 cup chopped fresh herbs (parsley, basil, dill, mint)

  • 1/2 cup gold raisins

  • Salt

  • 3/4 tsp sumac, more for later (optional)

PREPARATION:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together yogurt and iced water. Stir in finely chopped cucumbers, herbs, raisins, and toasted walnuts. Season with salt and sumac. Cover and chill for about one hour.

  2. When ready, divide chilled cucumber soup into four serving bowls. Sprinkle more sumac on top and add a few cucumber slices to each bowl. Enjoy with your favorite toasted bread or pita.

Sesame Cucumber Salad Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 medium sized cucumbers (about 1 lb total)

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 2 teaspoons toasted (dark) sesame oil

  • 2 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar

  • 6 basil leaves, thinly sliced (optional)

  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes

  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds (optional)

PREPARATION:

  1. Peel the cucumbers. Cut them into quarters, lengthwise. (If the seeds are bitter, scrape out the seeds and discard.) Cut the cucumbers again, crosswise, into 1/2-inch thick pieces.

  2. Place cucumbers into a serving bowl. Sprinkle with salt. Toss with sesame oil, seasoned rice vinegar, basil (if using), and chili flakes. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds if using.

Roasted Beets With Feta Cheese And Basil

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 medium sized fresh beets

  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, cut into thin strips

  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

PREPARATION:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F

  2. Scrub beets well and dry, then coat each with a little olive oil.  Place in an ovenproof pan, cover with foil and roast for 40-45 minutes, or until the beets are tender (a knife should easily go into the beets).

  3. Remove the beets from the oven and set aside until they are cool enough to handle.

  4. Remove the skin from the cooled beets and cut into bite sized pieces.  Place the cut beets back in the pan and toss with 2 tablespoons each of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  Roast for an additional 10 minutes.

  5. Place the cooked beets in a large bowl.  Add the basil with the remaining 1 tablespoon each of balsamic and olive oil and mix well.  Add feta cheese and toss gently, then season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve immediately or cover and chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.