Basil On My Window Makes Me Happy
A city girl, I’ve never had a backyard. We had a terrace, and though I have a few fond memories of my father planting tomatoes in large pots (with some cute pictures of a 3-year-old me holding a watering can), it was a while before I first felt fresh soil or walked through rows of crops. In fact, it wasn’t until college that I met someone who had been raised on a farm. Call me naïve, but I never connected food with the earth. It was always a product we purchased at a store, or tasted in a restaurant. The equation “farm —> supermarket —> table” failed to register in my brain. I had forgotten (or perhaps never realized?) that food was something we could grow for ourselves, eliminating the middle man.
Due to some reading and the latest trends, I have recently developed an interest in farmers markets. (Extremely original, I know.) NYC actually hosts quite a number of these and I’ve started frequenting one on a weekly basis. Some friends have also started building small window boxes on their ledges and planting herbs. I became very inspired by this idea; realized that rather than spending $2 each time I needed a herb, I could spend $3 on a plant and grow an everlasting supply. So I purchased a basil plant and placed it on my window ledge. The idea was “see what happens.” Yes, it’s kind of cheating, since I didn’t sow the seeds, but we all have to start somewhere, right?
One week later, my plant began to really blossom and I realized I could start picking the leaves. One easy way to use some basil? Caprese salad. I purchased a few tomatoes from the green market (how great are summer tomatoes?), some mozzarella from the store and set them together on a plate. Very simple and flavored with salt, pepper and olive oil. The verdict? A hit. H and I ate the salad together with another Italian staple – chicken marsala (recipe from J of C) – green beans and bread. It was delicious and I was excited to eat something that I grew and picked from my home. It may not be a garden, but it’s a start…