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Tag Archives | Basil

Lentil Citrus Salad with Pork Chops

Lentil Citrus Salad with Pork Chops is a savory, citrus salad with texture served on golden browned pork chops.

‘Great Sauces Transform Good Food into Gourmet’ 

Bay leaves and lentils

“People who say lentils are shaped like lenses have the reference backwards. Turns out that the world’s first lenses got that name because they were shaped, yes, like lentils. The lentils came first. Way first.” says Joe Yonan, Food Editor for The Washington Post. More from the Post on Lentils.

LentilsMy love affair with lentils sparked when I discovered you don’t soak before cooking. Their nutty flavor and texture makes them perfect for soups and stews. They’re one of the best plant-based sources of protein so bring ‘em on.

I love their flavor when boiled with fragrant bay leaves as detailed here. The 25-minute cook time renders the lentils tender but not mushy so they retain their flying saucer shape. No soak, fast cook!

Combine cooled lentils with bright citrus, fresh basil and creamy avocado. Serve at room temperature over golden browned boneless chops. Several taste testers widened their eyes with surprise partly because I usually serve lentils in soup and stews. One said, ‘I love the orange pieces’. Another, ‘These lentils are delicious.’ Hope you’ll love it too! Nutty, bright, creamy, fragrant!

You may also enjoy Mediterranean Quinoa Salad, Quinoa Salad under Stained Glass, Thyme and Garlic Polenta, Falafel with Tzakziki Sauce.

2013 AniversaRecipe – Cajun Quinoa Chicken Soup
2012 AniversaRecipe – Apricot Muesli
2011 AniversaRecipe – Shrimp Remoulade on Bibb Roses

Recipe: Lentil Citrus Salad with Pork Chops

Active Time: 22 Minutes | Total Time: 50 Minutes | Yield: 4 Servings

Lentils, Oranges, Avocado, Green Onions2 bay leaves
1 cup dry lentils, rinsed
3 oranges
1/2 cup rough chopped fresh basil leaves
2 minced green onion with tops
1 diced avocado
1 Tbsp olive oil, plus 2 tsp
4 1/2-inch boneless pork chops
freshly ground black pepper

Special Equipment – medium saucepan, baking sheet and skillet

Turkish Bay Leaves1 Place 2 quarts of water and bay leaves to boil in a medium saucepan. Add lentils and reduce heat to low. Cover with a round of parchment and simmer until tender but not mushy, about 25 minutes. Drain then spread on a baking sheet to cool.

2 Meanwhile zest one orange then juice it. Cut away the peel from the remaining 2 oranges, cut in quarters and slice each crosswise in 1/4-inch slices.

Orange Prep3 Once lentils are nearly cool, heat a skillet with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Season pork chops with salt and pepper. Cook pork until it just cooked through and browned turning half way through, about 6 minutes.

4 Meanwhile combine lentils, 1/4 cup orange juice, orange zest, orange pieces, basil, green onion, avocado and remaining 2 tsp olive oil. Serve pork chops with salad spooned on the top.

Covering the water with parchment keeps the lentils submerged until they absorb enough water to sink.

I love Turkish bay leaves. I buy them from Penzey’s. When I open the jar a most amazing fragrance wafts through the air. Turkish bay is more delicate than California Bay so if you can find it, I think you will love the subtle difference it makes in your cooking.

This lentil salad would also be delicious with chicken breasts.

Dish Designer

  • Exchange 3 oranges for 5 tangerines (section rather than slice).

Inspiration – Washington Post
Cook with Sauces
Lentil Citrus Salad with Pork Chops
Written by
Photography and Styling by Helen Horton
Updated: February 27, 2014

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Genovese Pesto

Basil sauce with pine nuts, garlic, parmesan cheese, butter and olive oil.

The Sauce: Basil Pesto – Bright green basil with Parmigiana-Reggiana cheese, pine nuts and garlic are combined for a fragrant no cook sauce with multiple uses.

‘Great Sauces Transform Good Food into Gourmet’ 

Summer pasta with pesto

Fresh basil grows profusely in Northern Italy where in Genoa, pesto was born. But it’s also nurtured by gardeners in locations all around the world. One summer while visiting my sister Holly at her home in Texas, we cruised through her vegetable garden. Besides rows of tomatoes and peppers, she had a whole row of bright green basil plants with leaves in full bloom. “What recipes happen between your harvest and table?

“Pesto,” she said. “We love pesto.” I’d never made pesto before. Since I love basil I asked about how she makes her pesto. Basil is the anchor ingredient. Rather than the typical herb flavor builder in sauces, soups and pasta dishes, it is the dish.

Pesto means ‘to pound or crush’ because it is traditionally made with a marble mortar and wooden pestle. This recipe uses a combination preparation, modern food processor plus muscle pump grating.

Pesto mixed with spaghettiLight and fragrant, fresh and colorful, pesto is a no heat, no simmer, fast and fabulous pasta sauce for summer dining. In the time it takes to cook al dente pasta, you can make pesto. Add a heaping spoonful of pesto and stir to coat the noodles. Basil is peppery, pungent. It belongs to the mint family so it has a fresh ‘barely there’ hint of mint. A distinctive herb, it’s frequently associated with Italian, Thai and Indonesian cuisines. Available all year round, pesto could find it’s way to your table for a week night supper.

You might also enjoy Italian Spaghetti Ragu, Florentine Lasagna Rolls, Herb Garlic Bread, Parmesan Zucchini Crisps, White Pizza with Arugula, Amatriciana and Capreze Salad.

2012 AniversaRecipe – Fish Tacos with Pink Adobo Sauce and Glazed Carrot Sticks
2011 AniversaRecipe – Hot Fudge Sauce

Recipe: Pesto

Prep Time: 5 Minutes | Cook Time: 0 Minutes | Yield: 1 Cup | Level: Easy

Pesto Ingredients

  • 2 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves, 4 oz
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely grated
  • salt
  • 1 oz Parmigiana-Reggiana cheese, about 1/2 cup
  • 3 Tbsp butter, softened

Special Equipment – food processor

Add Parmigiana-Reggiana1 Place basil leaves, olive oil, pine nuts and garlic in a food processor and process until fairly smooth. Pour into a bowl.

2 Finely grate Parmigiano-Reggiano Add butter to basil mixturecheese then stir into basil mixture. Add softened butter and mix until incorporated.

Substitute a blender for the food processor or hand chop the ingredients until very fine like an Italian grandmother might make it.

Store leftover pesto in the fridge up to 1 week with a thin layer of olive oil over the top to seal out the air. This will retain the bright green basil color.

Pesto can also be frozen. Freeze in small containers (1/2 cup or less) with a thin layer of olive oil. This will preserve the bright green color of the sauce. Another way to freeze pesto is in an ice cube tray (place a thin layer of olive oil on each cube). Once frozen, pop out pesto cubes and place in a freezer zipper bag to use small amounts in various recipes such as: dips, soups, salad dressing, Salami, Pesto Tomatoes, Olives, Mozz, Pepperoncinisandwiches and dressing tomatoes.

Use pesto for pasta sauce or in meat sauce or soup. Spread on pesto pizza and sandwiches. Make pesto salad dressing or pesto dip. Drizzle on pesto tomato wedges or mix into steamed rice.

Dish Designer

  • Exchange pine nuts for walnuts, pecans or cashews.

Inspiration – Marcella Hazan’s recipe
Cook with Sauces
Genovese Pesto
Written by
Photographs by Helen Horton
Updated: July 1, 2013

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Thai Chicken with Fresh Basil

Stir fried Thai chicken dish with fresh basil served with rice.

Thai fish sauce

Thai-Chicken-with-Fresh-BasilMy latest new sauce is Nuoc Nam or Thai Fish Sauce. Looking for a new recipe to try I ran a search with fish sauce and basil. I adapted a recipe from and found the collision of the potent fish sauce with fresh and fragrant basil was an excellent combination. The chicken is easy to stir fry. The sauce becomes slightly thickened as the sugar cooks through the sauce. Served over rice, some of the sauce drips down and coats the kernels with the caramel colored glaze.

Recipe: Thai Chicken with Fresh Basil

Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 8 Minutes | Yield: 4 servings | Level: Easy


  • 3 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced, divided
  • 2 serrano chilies, sliced
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  • 1 lb boneless chicken breast, cut in 3/4-inch pieces
  • hot cooked rice

Special Equipment – wok or large fry pan

1 Combine the fish sauce, water and sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.

2 Heat oil in a wok on high heat. Add garlic and stir until it smells fragrant, about 10 seconds.

3 Add 1/2 cup basil and the chilies and stir fry 1 minute.

4 Add the chicken and continue to stir fry until chicken is almost cooked through, about 3-4 minutes.

5 Stir in the sauce and cook until the sauce bubbles and thickens slightly, about 2 more minutes.

6 Turn off the heat, add the last 1/4 cup of basil and pour onto serving platter. Serve with hot cooked rice.

When buying fish sauce, buy a good quality brand. It only costs a few dollars but it will be worth it. It lasts a long time and makes a good base for marinated fish.

Dish Designer

  • Use either white or brown rice.
  • Reduce or increase the amount of Serrano chilies based on heat preference.
Cook with Sauces
Written by
Photographs by Helen Horton
Updated: May 17, 2012

Continue Reading · 1

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