I haven’t blogged in a while. I know you’ve noticed and I have to admit that I’ve felt more than a little guilt over this. I have to say from the start, however, that it wasn’t totally my fault. I intended to tell all of you about my recent road trip to Branson, Missouri. I meant to discuss road food delights. Fried Pies in Denison, Texas, amazing Italian food in Krebs, Oklahoma and greasy burgers in road-side diners were on my mind. I anticipated such wonderful eats. I looked forward to it for weeks and absolutely planned to share the goodness with all who cared.
Much to my dismay, the timing worked out in such a way that there were no fried pies, no dinner in Krebs, Oklahoma and I didn’t see a single open diner along the way. We drove at night. I still looked forward to what I would find when I arrived in Branson. Surely a place that hosts more than nine-million tourists each year would be a wealth of good dining opportunities. This is what I thought… turns out I was wrong. From the moment we pulled into town, I realized that Branson was a haven for most major restaurant chains. In the first 48 hours, I ate at Cracker Barrel, Panera and Chilis and the week pretty much continued in this manner. Aside from a delicious picnic at Table Rock Lake and some mildly interesting food finds in Silver Dollar City Branson was unremarkable from a cuisine standpoint.
Needless to say, by Saturday, I was tired and very ready to come home. I missed my bed, my shower and honestly, my cooking. I was tired of eating out and tired of mediocre food. Due to a myriad of issues, I had been on my own with the kids and no car since Tuesday. I was dependant on others to get me where I needed to go and not always in control of my destination. Needless to say, I was more than a bit pleased to learn that “our ride” was leaving Branson a day early. We would be home by Saturday night.
We left Branson at 11:00 a.m. We fully intended to make one final attempt at road-food success with a stop at the famous, Lambert’s Café – Home of the ‘throwed rolls”. We headed north to Ozark, our mouths watering at the thought of delicious home cooking and our smiles wild with the anticipation of dodging flying bread. When we took the very well marked exit, it became apparent that we were not the only ones with “throwed rolls” on the brain. The crowd outside the restaurant was thick. The wait was long. To me this meant that the food must certainly be good and we were in for a treat. To my “ride” however, the wait was unacceptable. Which Wich became the next best thing. I must admit that I was a bit disheartened but honestly couldn’t think of a more appropriate end to such a week. Leaving with the high-note of Lambert’s might have been more goodness than the week deserved. I took comfort in this and happily ate my Cuban sandwich before climbing back in the van and heading toward Texas.
Around 9:00 p.m. we turned onto my street. It was nice to see home. The grass was freshly mowed, the house freshly cleaned and smelling of candles. Within a few moments of opening the door, exhaustion overtook me and I quickly fell into bed.
The next morning, I awoke and dove into the pile of laundry that inevitably awaits most everyone returning from vacation. Around midday, I stepped into the backyard and was surprised to see how much the herb garden had grown during my week of absence. The basil plants, especially, had taken off and needed to be plucked down a bit. My mind raced with ideas of what I could do. Having no pinenuts, pesto was out. Then it hit me.
A few weeks back, I had momentarily regretted my decision to not plant mint. Mint can be an invasive herb and I had thought, during the planting season, that it wasn’t worth fooling with. Then I discovered how much I enjoyed an ice cold Mojito in the 100+ degree weather. By the time, I realized my mistake mint was nowhere to be found.
Yesterday, I pulled out the rum and Club Soda and set to work making a Fresh Basil Mojito. The result was beautiful, refreshing and delicious. Arguably, better than the original mint version. I chose to use the Sweet Basil growing in the yard but think that it would be equally good with the Cinnamon or Purple varieties.
So grab a handful of the basil that does so well in this area. Make yourself a unique drink that will surprise your friends. But be careful – they’re easy to drink and very delicious but potent all the same.
Fresh Basil Mojito
- 10 leaves fresh basil
- 1/2 lime, cut into quarters
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- crushed ice
- 1 1/2 ounces white rum
- 1/2 cup club soda
In a high ball class, place basil and 1 of the lime wedges. Muddle until juice is released and leaves began to moisten. Add remaining lime and sugar. Continue muddling until sugar and juice are well combined and leaves are well mashed.
Fill with crushed ice and then add rum and club soda. Stir well and enjoy.
Makes 1 serving.