I like knowing the "right" way to do things. I don't always actually do things the right way, but then at least I can identify the point and reasoning for my deviance.
This summer I realized I didn't know the "right way" to harvest basil. So I traipsed around the internet until I found a nice "scientific" method that has been working well for me.
I now present How to Harvest Basil (followed by some recipes):
Pull the leaves from the stems you cut off to use in your favorite recipe.
Pesto is the classic dish for using up extra basil.
I recently saw this recipe for lemon basil ice cream. I am so trying that!
Last summer we made delicious watermelon-basil lemonade.
I also got this recipe for tomato basil soup from my friend Ashley. It's so delicious!
Tomato Basil Soup Recipe
4 tomatoes peeled,seeded, and diced
4 cups tomato juice
14 leaves fresh basil
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Put tomatos and juice in a stock pot over medium heat. Simmer for 30 minutes. Puree the tomato mixture along with the basil leaves. (Use an immersion blender. Cheap ones are only $20 bucks and I use mine all the time--they are great for smoothies too.)
Over medium heat stir in the cream, do not boil. Season with any salt an pepper desired. (I find that canned tomato juice is usually salty enough.) Serve hot with crusty bread and pesto.