Homegrown basil, feta add zest to summer salad

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As I write this column, I am enjoying the beauty of the morning. The sun is shining, the temperature is just right with a slight breeze. 


Plus, our very own resident fawn is outside my kitchen window enjoying some delicacy from around the wild cherry tree. The hummingbirds are flittering around again, fighting over the homemade food I am now giving them.

They, too, are such a joy to watch this morning.

The pond that Bob made a few years ago has been a great source of water this year for the animals that visit our house each day. And all of this beauty is from my kitchen window. Am I blessed? I certainly am, and I am thankful for it every day.

Our garden, however, has not faired so well this year. Some of you may have had the same problem. 

We survived the bunny attack with only about 20 tomato plants left; the cabbages and eggplant did not make it through. But, I just scattered some seeds in my flower bed this spring, OLD seeds, and they all came up rather abundantly. What is this all about? That never happens to me.

The seeds were of two different types of basil, marigolds and dill. I have grown basil many times from starts I bought at the store, but it never really does very well. I found these seeds in our barn and thought, oh well, maybe they will come up and keep the deer away from some of my flowers. I have so many basil plants now, it is amazing, plus they are so healthy. Hurrah! No more eating my flowers, either.

Again, I am thankful, twofold.

Bob’s corn has not done very well, however, he has been able to harvest a few good ears off of those stalks, plus a friend gave us some of theirs. I wish you could have seen his face when he sunk his teeth into the first bites of corn this summer. I asked him if he was OK, and all he could respond with was “This is the best corn I’ve had this year.”

My husband, as I may have mentioned in past columns, can make a meal out of corn-on-the-cob and sliced tomatoes. He has been eating so many tomatoes this summer, that I’m almost afraid he’s going to break out in hives.

He did that once before. Our daughter told him to go sparingly on the tomatoes and his response to her was that you can never have too much corn, tomatoes and popcorn, as far as he is concerned.  I might also add, that he informed me years ago that when he gets to the pearly gates, if they don’t have popcorn, he is leaving. I am thankful that my husband has such simple tastes and is so easy to please; it sure makes my summer meals easy to prepare.

Today,  I prepared his favorite meal, but added a little spice to it. I put his corn on to cook and then made a really great salad for our lunch. I picked a bunch of that wonderful basil growing in my garden, washed it, and chopped it up to equal  ½-cup. In a bowl, I added the following:


4 diced  tomatoes

2 Tbp. of minced garlic

½diced red onion

Kosher salt to taste

About ¼ cup olive oil and  white vinegar (add a little more vinegar if you like)

Mix all together and place on a plate of lettuce, topped with a bit of feta cheese – try it. It’s good.