Ok, I have been informed by several people that by not posting on Monday they were sure that Busy must have arrived. Sorry to disappoint - he's still planning his entrance. We're doing great, all of us. I will confess that I am hotter than I have ever been before in my entire life, and this girl has seen both the Central Valley of California in summer as well as a few blisteringly hot months in South America. Seriously, it's like I might burst into flames at any moment. B laughs at me because I literally start shedding clothing from my body between the car and the front door. Nudity is my friend in this battle. I am busting out all the tricks: wet towels, lots of ice, cool showers, refuge under the ceiling fan. Turns out a large wet towel can work miracles, don't laugh. Anyway, when we first got pregnant I swear that every other woman who asked about my due date told me that June was a great time to have a kid, and I thought they were being polite. I get it now, I do, and they are right. Anyway, other than roasting, all is well. Busy needs to do a little shifting in there to help his mama avoid back labor, so my midwife has ordered me to clean the floors on my hands and knees. Right.
So that basil up there. It took us one summer of bolt-y overly strong basil to learn to pinch. I suppose if you live somewhere with super mild slow springs, you might not have to contend with this, but here, when 90 degree weather hits in May and June, you must pinch. And even if bolting is not an issue for you, pinching will give you big bushy plants that are sturdy and full. Basically, you pinch the two leaves at growing tip off (EARLY - like not the first true leaves of the plant, but also not long after those), the plant responds by sending up two shoots where there was once just one, then in a little while you pinch the growing tips off of those two shoots, and the plant responds by sending up four shoots where there were once just two. You get the idea. We really have to keep up with this, and at the beginning you end up with awkward amounts of basil (although soon enough you end up with enough to start packing away pesto for the winter). In these earlier days we throw it in salads, stick it in grilled cheeses, put it in bun or spring rolls, etc. But we just finally got around to making the Thai Chicken with Basil from the January Cook's Illustrated, and it will both use up your basil pinchings and make your day. It's awesome, although I'm warning you that you put raw chicken in the food processor, which is definitely a little gross. Hang in there, it's worth it.
I was about to type up the recipe, but looky, here it is. Go forth and pinch happily.