Saturday, August 01, 2009

Cinnamon Basil

Cinnamon Basil
Originally uploaded by linfrye
Daily Practice
Plein Air

I sat in front of these blooming cinnamon basil plants in my garden last week, KNOWING that to get the best flavor from the leaves, I needed to snip the flowers so that the fragrant oils remained in the leaves. But mercy, I found them far too pretty to do that! LOL

I grow cinnamon basil to dry for winter use. I love the Italian, large-leaved varieties, Genovese basil and the rest, but when those leaves are dried for use in cheeses, for instance, their flavor evaporates -- and there is no 'basil' taste. But the spicy varieties, and especially cinnamon basil, all contain more of what I think of when I think of basil - a heady fragrance, a bit of a bite, a green herbness - a wonderful taste! And even dried, this variety KEEPS those flavors. The leaves are smaller than Genovese -- but PACKED with flavor.

I use the dried leaves in cheese mixes, pasta sauce, bruschetta and the like. I'll be giving an herb talk the week after next and sharing this recipe with them -- so I thought I'd share it with you too. Though fresh herbs can be used, I find dry herbs to contain far more concentrated flavor:

Goat (or Cream) Cheese with Herbs


10 1/2 ounces cheese, room temperature
2 teaspoons each (if fresh) 1 teaspoon each if dried):
Anise Hyssop
Italian Parsley (the flat leaved variety)
Sweet Marjoram
Basil (here I use cinnamon)

A dash of Chives and pinch of cayenne pepper
Milk for thinning

In a bowl, combine the cheese, herbs and pepper. Blend well. Add the milk if you would like it thinner, a small amount at a time, then mix again. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Bring to room temperature before serving with fresh vegetables and crackers.



Connie said...

Beautiful painting and I learned about Cinnamon Basil!

Joan said...

Beautiful basil and a recipe too!!!

Bonny said...

This recipe sounds like one I HAVE to try!! Yumm!! The only thing is, I've never seen cinnamon basil here in the stores, so I might have to substitute some other kind.

Love the sketch, too!

Pat said...

I stopped by to find out what you have been doing and find a new recipe. How thoughtful of you to share. Love your painting of the basil flowers. I know what you mean about cutting or pinching the blooms off. Or extra fruit also. I just can't do it.