From Basin’s Backyard Garden to table: Shelly Kuntz

Shelly Kuntz

Basil from Basin’s Backyard Garden.

Shelly Kuntz

Shelly Kuntz, records coordinator III and Basin’s Backyard Garden volunteer.

How great would it be to cook with fresh basil throughout the year? Shelly Kuntz, records coordinator III and Basin’s Backyard Garden volunteer, has found a way. “I love cooking with basil, so I was excited to try this new way of freezing it with olive oil in ice cube trays. It’s quick and easy to do and now I just  drop a cube in when I’m cooking to have basil with my favorite Italian dish,” Kuntz says.

Try it for yourself. Here’s how:

1. First, fill the sink with cold water. Then, pull the leaves off the stems and put it in the water to rinse.  Next, put the leaves between paper towels to dry the leaves.

2. Finely chop up the basil. Then, measure a table spoon of basil to put in each cube. Next, fill each cube with olive oil.

3. Freeze for two days. Lastly, transfer the cubes over to baggie and store in the freezer.

Kuntz shared her very own chicken marsala recipe that would be great with basil.

1 ½ c. sweet marsala wine
2 Tbsp. butter
1.5 lbs. chicken breasts, sliced
2 c. flour
2 Tbsp. oregano
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
10 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced
½ c. chicken stock
1 onion, diced
½ pint heavy cream
5 oz. shredded parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. garlic
Salt & pepper to taste
Olive oil

Combine flour, 1 Tbsp. oregano, salt and pepper. Put olive oil in a pan and heat. Coat chicken in the flour mixture, add to heated oil and brown. Add oil as needed. Remove cooked chicken from the pan. Add butter and sauté onion and mushrooms. Add chicken stock to the pan along with garlic and the other Tbsp. oregano, let it simmer a few mins. so some of the liquid evaporates. Put chicken back in the pan, add the wine and simmer about ½ hour. Then add the cream, additional salt & pepper if needed and the parmesan cheese, cook another 20 mins. to let the cheese melt and flavors blend. If sauce is too runny add more cheese to help thicken. Serve over linguine.

Kuntz says she also uses this as her chicken alfedo recipe, minus the Marsala wine. “For the alfredo I usually add tomatoes and summer squash or zucchini as vegetables,” she says. “I hope everyone enjoys my recipe!”

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