Birthday Basil in Chania, Crete

The whole crew at my birthday dinner 2018.

How did 2 months go by since I last posted? I have been in North Carolina, Nicaragua, London (again) and Crete since I last posted in March. I plan to do some historical posts alternating with some Cretan food adventures over the next few weeks. My birthday was at the end of May and I had a fun family celebratory day with my Mom and her spouse and sweetie Bob from Asheville AND with our two fairy god children, Will and Aidan and their kind and adventurous parents, Fiona and Dan.

Our first outing for the day was to the Saturday market on Minos street just a short walk from the flat we are staying in while we are here. Since I was planning to be here for 4 more weeks, I said that if we could find one, I’d like a basil plant for my birthday. The market is long and very busy so the contingent spread out in time and space and reconvened eventually back at the flat. The result? Five birthday basil plants!

IMG_3884 2
Four of the five basil plantlings after trimming

The trimmings from the five plants and the pesto fixings in the mini-processor. We found deliciously smoky paprika made in Chania in a specialty wine store. Medenagan (which means “nothing in excess” in ancient Greek) on Dasgalianni Street. So good.

On this day with the pesto we made pita pizzas. Very happy making. The wood fired bakery just a few door from us makes delicious pita. On other occasions we have had pesto pasta and boiled potatoes with pesto. It is a flavor I never tire of…good thing, too, with my 5 birthday plants!

Pita pizzas, before broiling. Eaten to quickly to be photographed when the emerged steaming hot from the oven.

Cretan Pesto Recipe–enough for 1 lb of pasta or 4 pita pizzas

4 to 6 cloves of fresh garlic, roughly chopped
2 T extra virgin Cretan olive oil
1- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, cleaned of stems, packed
1/2 cup of roasted hazelnuts
1/2 t smoked Cretan paprika
1/2 t salt

Chop garlic and cook stirring over medium heat in olive oil until just starting to soften. Put basil leaves in a food processor or mini chopper and add remaining ingredients. Process until a paste if formed. If the mixture is too stiff to spread, add water or a little balsamic vinegar or water to achieve a spreadable consistency. Adjust seasonings as needed,



One thought on “Birthday Basil in Chania, Crete

  1. Happy belated birthday AMY!!!!!!
    We had fun in Scotland, but their idea of a vegan meal in deep fried cheese and chips….

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