Window Box Herb Garden and Basil Pasta

Last week I told you about our "garden spot" and all its successes and failures. Now let's take a look at the window box herb garden on the deck.  I wanted to plant the herbs in a location close enough to the kitchen that I could just walk out the door and get what I needed. I also wanted them to be high enough off the ground so that they would be safe from Jack, who has quite the reputation with plants around these parts.

Thus, the window box herb garden was born. It is actually not in a window, but hangs off the side of our deck, using metal-window-box-holder-brackets (I have no idea what they were actually called and I can't find them online) that we got at Lowe's early in the summer.You simply hang the brackets on your deck railing and then insert your window box containers. We used plain plastic planter boxes that are a lovely fake terracotta orange. Plastic pots may not be the prettiest, but they were inexpensive and were really the most functional option for this little project. We needed something that was lightweight and that would hold a reservoir of water for our thirsty plants in the sweltering heat. I actually really liked the way they turned out  in the end.
The window box herb garden contains thyme, oregano, chives, cilantro, parsley, basil, and rosemary. It smells wonderful. You would like to come sit on the deck and smell the herbs...I'm sure you would. I do.

Herbs typically require full sun but next year, I think I will grow my parsley and cilantro in a shadier place and grow more than one plant. They grew pretty well, but I think they got a little too much sun or we may have clipped them too rigorously...we love parsley and cilantro.

It is so much fun to have all of these great herbs right outside my back door. I add them to everything, omelets, marinades, pastas, etc. There have been few dishes that have come out of my kitchen un-herbed since we planted these.

When we were up to our ears in basil this summer, we used it to make Basil Pasta. Not pasta with a basil sauce, but pasta made out of basil...crazy. I happen to be in possession of a pasta maker attachment for my beloved Kitchen-Aid mixer. My main man David gave it to me for Christmas. I think he may have had some ulterior motives, but I love it none-the-less. Homemade pasta is delicious. It will change your life. Let me show you how it's done.

First, I made my pasta dough in the food processor. Easy peasy. I used a  recipe from which is an great resource when you are looking for a something specific, say if you have a heap of basil and a pasta maker attachment you're itching to use.  The site is a Southern Living affiliate, so you can trust them with your whole heart.

Basil Pasta for Two
3/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons water
2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Using a food processor, process basil leaves until chopped very fine. Add 1 1/2 cups of flour and pulse two or three times, or until combined. Add egg, 1 teaspoon oil, and the water until dough forms a ball shape. If dough seems dry, add a bit more water. Wrap dough in a piece of plastic wrap which has been coated in a few drops of olive oil. Refrigerate dough for 2 hours.

Now comes the fun part! David loves to be my pasta machine assistant. Look at him work...

Take the dough out of the fridge and run it through your pasta machine. It is basically just like the little play-dough pasta press you played with when you were little. Except you can eat your results. Without getting in trouble.

If you do not have a husband that buys you kitchen gadgetry, you can also roll the dough out very thin and use a knife or pizza cutter to make fettuccine noodles. Still delicious, just not as much fun.

I try to let my pasta dry for about 30 minutes to an hour before I boil it. Sometimes I am too hungry to wait.

Boil the pasta  in salted water until it is tender. David, my pasta assistant, likes to test the done-ness of pasta by flinging the noodles onto my kitchen cabinets...if they stick they are done, if they fall down, then you need to keep on cookin'.

Use these basil noodles with a tomato or cream sauce...delicious!

I can turn anything into a carbohydrate,


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