Sunday, August 16, 2009

The oldest blog profession

I've been reluctant to endorse any product on this blog because I know what high esteem you have for my opinion, Gentle Reader. I did not wish to capitalize on the awesome power of my blog for something as common as filthy lucre. But I'm going to make an exception.

I really like cooking with fresh herbs, especially basil. It is just so fragrant and so essential to Italian cooking that the dried stuff is really just a pale echo of the fresh. Unfortunately, I can't really grow my own since it wants bright sunlight, which I don't have. I can't always find fresh bunches in the store, even at this time of year. Those little plastic tubs are expensive and somehow, even when I pick over them carefully, the leaves are brown and wilty even by the time I get the groceries home. Then I discovered this:

That's Gourmet Garden basil-in-a-tube. It's not the most attractive of delivery mechanisms, but it's really effective. I tried it once this winter for a recipe where I really couldn't omit the basil and none other could be found. I was expecting it to be bland and artificial, but it really wasn't. It smelled and tasted exactly like basil I'd just chopped fresh.

It's not the most attractive of presentations squeezed right out of the tube, but it's clearly finely chopped green basil in a paste. There are no particularly scary ingredients; no artificial preservatives, etc. I wouldn't use it where you really want recognizable basil leaves like on a pizza or added to Thai food, but for things like a tomato sauce or manicotti, it's really effective. Just add it toward the end of cooking, like you would fresh basil.

They've got some other products that I haven't tried, like cilantro, garlic, and parsley, but I think I will in the future. It's a bit pricey at about $3-4 a tube, but they last several months, and longer in the freezer, which is a lot more than the 24 hours or so I can get out of fresh herbs from the store.

I'm told that there's one local blogger that demands free swag from manufacturers in exchange for complementary blog posts. This is not such a blog post. I'm not that mercenary. Oh, who am I kidding, I just don't have enough clout to be that mercenary. If any major multinational would like me to be their corporate whore, the line starts on the left.

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