When I am not busy taking care of my two energetic little boys, or working on an interior design project~ I play in the kitchen! For the last 15 years, I have been juxtaposing new flavors and ideas; it’s finally time to document my recipes...

I believe in fresh & affordable meals.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Basil and Spinach Salad


Hey (Trader) Jo, you do well with your product placement!
I fell prey to creative marketing today. You know that HUGE container of Basil, perched so perfectly next to the ruby red tomatoes? Well, I bought it. What was I thinking? Unless you are producing 500 Caprese salads, or making loads of Pesto- its way too much Basil for my family to eat in one week.
After I got home (with a little buyers remorse) I was determined to use each and every leaf before they wilted. Although I think the boys and I have a hint of green to our skin tone, not a one basil went a brownin'.

Here it goes....

Handful of Chopped Basil
Pinch or Handful of Grated Parmesan Cheese
Pinch or Handful of Pine nuts ( I add handfuls of the "fillers" cause I like lots of goodies on my salad)
1 chopped Yellow Bell Pepper
Croutons (I cube up old bread- mix it in olive oil, parm, salt & pepper and put under the broiler for 5 mins. Soooo much better tasting than those fake flavor tons at the grocery)
Creamy Balsamic Dressing
*** Tonight I made my dressing with mostly "follow your heart low-fat ranch" a lil balsamic, a lil dijon mustard, capers (i take them out after I toss cause the consistency is gross to me- but they add a good salty lemon flavor), and salt and pepper.

Toss all ingredients and enjoy!
I will add my pesto recipe soon. You know, pesto is REALLY easy to make and it freezes well. Its great on pasta, salads, and sandwiches. 


An array of flavonoids exist in basil, which help to protect cells and chromosomes from damage. Studies have shown that two of these flavonoids in particular, orientin and vicenin, are useful in protecting cell structures and chromosomes from damage by radiation and oxygen.
Essential oil of basil has been shown to inhibit the growth of several types of bacteria, many of which have become resistant to antibiotics. This essential oil has been found to inhibit growth of the widespread staphylococcus, enterococcus, pseudomonas, and e. coli bacteria, among others. Adding basil to your vinaigrette will both enhance the flavor, and ensure that the fresh salad greens are safe to eat.
Eugenol, which is found in essential oil of basil, provides an anti-inflammatory effect, by blocking an enzyme called cyclooxygenase. Aspirin and Ibuprofen work by blocking this same enzyme. So, basil can have healing benefits, and provide relief from the symptoms of inflammatory problems, like rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel conditions.
Basil is also a good source of vitamin A, which helps to prevent damage to the cells by free radicals. Vitamin A also prevents free radicals from oxidizing cholesterol in the blood stream, preventing the cholesterol from building up in the blood vessels.
Magnesium is also present in basil. This essential mineral helps the heart and blood vessels to relax, improving blood flow. Other nutrients found in basil include iron, calcium, potassium, and vitamin C.
The fresh, spicy flavor and scent of basil will wake up any boring salad or soup. Use fresh basil whole, or shredded to add a burst of flavor to your dinner. If you are using fresh basil in a cooked dish, add it towards the end of cooking, so that the volatile oils will not be dissipated by the heat.

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