CULINARY THRILL SEEKING — When friends bring basil, try this. Also, enjoy Milkboy Swiss Chocolate.

Published 7:00 am Monday, September 26, 2022

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When friends bring the basil, we make the pesto.

I was thrilled when a friend brought a tall clump of basil cuttings that were larger than any plant I’d mastered. People say it’s easy to grow, but I say it’s easier for me to eat it.

I rooted some (fingers crossed) and, of course, made pesto. A little trick I learned is that walnuts make a good sub for pine nuts. They’re easier to find and less expensive on the whole.

If you have other ideas, let me know. Pesto is great on pastas, breads and other vegetables.

This is why I went right to basil in the index when I started enjoying a coffee-table quality book called “Plant-Based India: Nourishing Recipes Rooted in Tradition” by Dr. Sheil Shukla.

One option: Sheero with Grapes and Basil has been a treat for the author since childhood. It’s a warm pudding of cream of wheat or semolina topped by fragrant basil leaves and grape slices.

The photograph shows thinly-sliced purple grapes that make me want a knife good enough to replicate the look.

Healthy, flavorful options help home cooks celebrate combos of rice, nuts and vegetables with nuances of coconut, vanilla, cilantro in seemingly endless variety.

Autumn in Switzerland means milk boys lead cows descending from a season of enjoying juicy grass in the Alps. They’re ready to give the milk that makes Swiss chocolate famous.

Cocoa beans on the Milkboy Swiss Chocolate label that also features a classic Alpine setting made me think about how far the rainforests are from these mountains.

I’d never thought about how it’s the milk that the Swiss are so proud of in their blends. Milkboy is thinking about stability in those rainforests so they’re using certified product.

I’ve only tried the rich powder that transforms a cup of warm milk into a creamy cocoa experience. It was so good I could pretend there was snow outside.

Use this powdered base for other warming beverages, too. Learn more at

Darragh Doiron is a Southeast Texas foodie ready for a change of seasons, as long as it’s mild enough to support her herb garden. Reach her at