Thai basil is the greatest invention since regular basil.

I’m sorry, I’m really bad at life, and anytime I say “tomorrow,” just tack on a few extra days. I’m a terrible flake. But what else is new.

Well, some things are new.

  • My cat is no longer sleeping through the night. It is annoying, and I feel guilty threatening her.
  • I can no longer wear my favourite leggings as pants because I ripped the inner-thigh seam wide open. Too breezy for comfort.
  • I got laid off. It’s not so bad.

I know, the leggings as pants thing is a faux pas, but to be fair, I own more than one pair of onesie pajamas, at least thirty pairs of slipper socks, AND a knock-off Snuggie. I love comfort so much! All I want out of life is to spend all my time swaddled in soft fabrics while Johnny Depp in eyeliner feeds me pancakes and pie.

The job thing? A bummer I guess but I hadn’t been the happiest badger there anyway, and this may be the kick in the tights-as-pants I needed to figure out what I really want to do. I found myself in a good mood this evening, for the first time in a long time on a weeknight, which makes me think I was probably unhappier than even I knew. I had begun to view showering as a sacrifice I was making for other people.

I am confident though. My cat will improve her behaviour, I will continue to dress shoddily, and I will find another job – with luck, one that involves fame, fortune, and international travel. But none of that is the point of this post. The point is Thai basil, though I am beginning to think that getting to the point might not be my thing.

That green pasta the other day was made with a little pesto I made of Thai basil, cilantro, some green onions, and a few other delicious little things. It makes more than you’ll need to coat a meal’s worth of noodles, but that’s okay. Stir it into soups, or toss roasted veggies in a bit of it. It’s really different, extremely fragrant – aromas of anise and mint in addition to regular basil goodness, and a nice change from regular old pesto.

Thai-ish Pesto

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup packed Thai basil
  • 1/2 cup packed cilantro
  • 1/2 cup packed green onions (white and green parts) – about one bunch, chopped
  • 1 lime, zest and juice
  • 2 tbsp. minced lemongrass
  • 2 tbsp. peanut butter (natural, unsweetened preferred)
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 to 2 tsp. chili paste
  • 1 tsp. fish sauce

The mixing of this is best done in a food processor, but if you don’t have one, a blender should also work. You may want to add a bit of neutral-tasting oil, such as peanut or canola, to make the pesto easier to blend if using a blender.

Cram the garlic, basil, cilantro, and lime zest into your food processor’s mixing bowl (or your blender’s blendery thing), and squish the lime juice over top. Add the peanut butter, and pulse until well mixed, and until leaves are minced and the colour and texture is uniform. Remove blade.

Stir in soy sauce, sesame oil, chili paste, and fish sauce. Mix well, so that the liquids are thoroughly integrated into your leafy purée. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

This makes about a cup’s worth, and it will keep in a sealed container for about two weeks. Or, put it into ice cube trays in your freezer and use in individual portions as needed.

As I mentioned, it’s great on noodles – like soba noodles or udon – and lovely in soup. You could toss it with some stir-fried chicken, or use it with fish, or just add it to a bit of coconut milk for a riff on green curry.

You can find Thai basil in your local Asian market. Mine cost me sixty-nine cents for more than I needed. The rest of this stuff can be found in your local supermarket’s ethnic foods section. I always have it in the pantry, because these are such flavourful, inexpensive ingredients, and they are really versatile – I use them all the time.

Eesh. These photos are all terrible. I’m sorry. I’ve asked for a camera for my birthday, and for professional help. Maybe I’ll buy a tripod on payday. I have a lot more time now, so maybe I’ll learn to at least hold my camera still.

And don’t worry about me – there’s no reason to, though everyone I know has called/IM’d/Facebooked me just to make sure I’m not teetering on the brink or anything. And I can replace those leggings really easily.

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4 thoughts on “Thai basil is the greatest invention since regular basil.

  1. Oh, dear. Hugs!

    To the good, this looks wonderful and delicious. And when I dropped out of grad school 9 years in (yes, I’m in the social sciences) I was the happiest I’d been in as long as I can remember. It was a kind of “laid-off” situation — my committee chair dropped off my committee after telling me she wasn’t really that interested in my project, and I would have to start over with a new topic to lure in any faculty that weren’t already in, and I said, “I am too old for this! Screw it!”

    We moved home to be closer to my mom and brother, and started trying to have a baby. It’s been 3 years, and we’ve had 6 miscarriages, but we’re still happier than ever before.

    …And guess what? Yesterday’s test… was positive. So now blood tests and things and I am hopeful.

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  2. All of that wandering craziness was meant to be a pep talk: 1) I know you will be okay because changes in our life often take us right where we want to be and 2) hang in there, things WILL work out. And a parenthetical (OMG, that looks wonderful.)

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  3. Aw, thanks Linda! OMG, that’s exciting news and I will think happy thoughts for you!

    And thanks for the pep talk … Though I’ll admit, I’m not sad that I got laid off. There will be other opportunities that I will be much better suited to, that will with luck somehow involve food and/or writing and/or working from home in footie pajamas.

    Please keep me posted with your news! If something exciting happens for me, I’ll be sure to post it here. Cheers!

    Emily

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  4. I will do.

    And… 🙂 There’s something criminal about owning footie pajamas — multiple pairs! — and not wearing them to work in. So Amen to that.

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