I love my herb garden. I use something out of it every day. I have been ignoring it lately, however, and my basil has exploded. I have 3 basil plants, mostly because when I'm on a kick, I use so much one plant usually can't meet the demands I place on it. To me, one of the best things about summer is juicy, ripe tomatoes, chopped with some Vidalia onion and fresh basil (maybe some mint if I'm feeling exotic), salt and cracked black pepper. You can eat it with tortilla chips like salsa, or pile it on grilled bread.
The other way to use lots of basil is to make a big, beautiful batch of pesto. I did just that last week.
My pesto recipe varies, depending on what I have around. I happened to have the classic ingredients this time, so that's what I made.
In a blender I threw a huge handful of basil, a clove of garlic, some olive oil, a huge pile of grated parmesan cheese, some toasted pine nuts, salt and pepper, a few leaves of mint and a splash of balsamic vinegar.
The only pasta I had on hand was elbow macaroni, so I cooked it and tossed it with the pesto. For some quick protein, I sauteed some shrimp in garlic and butter and threw them on the top of the pasta. I would say it was a fairly successful summer dinner!