I Have a Basil Problem

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“I have a problem,” I told Dan guiltily as I climbed out of the car. I had just made a trip to the garden center for some topsoil and mulch and I got a little…sidetracked.

He sighed, “how much basil did you buy?”

“Only 1 this time, I swear!” This brought my basil plant count to 18. We were running out of garden space for them all, but I couldn’t resist the new-to-me boxwood basil.

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So now we have one bed, one cold frame, and 7 containers filled with basil of all shapes and sizes. From the tiny-leaved boxwood basil to the Purple Opal to the citrus-scented lime basil to the traditional Genovese basil, we’ve got it all: lemon, lime, Purple Opal, Genovese, Thai, Greek, spicy globe, boxwood.

I need to go get another bag of mulch this week…don’t let me come home with any more basil!

More Savvy Garden 2012 photos can be found on the Savvy Eats Facebook page!

Turn Down the Heat

Living in a 120+ year old house, we don’t have the best insulation. Nor do we have central air conditioning.  Luckily, we’ve come up with a handful of strategies to keep the house relatively cool in the summers.

We sleep with the windows open, bracing a box fan between the sill and edge of the window, blowing cool air onto us and throughout the house. As the mornings start to warm up, we close all the windows and shades and curtains to keep out the heat and sun. Fans run throughout the house all day, including the whole house fan that kicks in whenever the upstairs gives above 76F.

On the hottest of days, the ones where the humid air settles heavily around your face and weighs you down, when you hope and pray for a rainstorm for a break in the humidity, we run our single window air conditioning unit in 20 minute intervals.

Whenever we can, we avoid using the stove and oven, especially during the day. If we must use them, we try to cook everything we need for the next day or two at once.  If I’m canning raspberry preserves, I’ll go ahead and bake some quick bread or some chicken. If we’re going to heat up the house with the stove anyways, we might as well make use of the oven.

This is where the crockpot and grill come in handy. The crockpot produces very little heat and we’re willing to face the humidity to grill if it means we’ll keep the house a few degrees cooler.

This week has been one long string of those heavy hot and humid days. I scratched my dinner plan for lentil gratins and instead opted for pork chops, green beans and roasted potatoes. They were exactly what we craved on such a steamy summer evening.

Herb-Grilled Potato Wedges

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Herb-Grilled Potato Wedges

I love the combination of rosemary and sage in these potatoes, but feel free to use whatever you'd like -- oregano or thyme would be great as well. I also can't wait to try mashing these after grilling this fall for a new Thanksgiving side!


  • 5-6 Yukon gold potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh sage
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Preheat the grill to medium-high.
  2. Line a 9x13" baking pan with a long piece of aluminum foil. It should be double the length of the pan.
  3. Wash the potatoes and slice them lengthwise into quarters. Divide each wedge in two to give you 8 wedges per potato. Spread the potatoes out in the pan, as close to a single layer as you can.
  4. Slice the butter into 6-8 pieces and distribute them evenly over the tops of the potatoes. Sprinkle the potatoes with salt and pepper, at least a teaspoon or two of each, or more to taste. Lay the fresh herbs evenly over the potatoes.
  5. Fold the aluminum foil back over the potatoes and crimp the edges together to seal the packet.
  6. Grill over medium-high for about 12 minutes, then peel back a crimped corner to check on the potatoes every 3-5 minutes after that. When they are fork tender and browning, they are done.