Inspiration, planted on my deck

As a blogger, I spend a substantial amount of time perusing other people’s blogs.  Being that I blog about food, I confess that I frequent the token food porn sites on occasion (read: tastespotting). Who can resist?! Perfect scoops of ice cream, decadent cakes, oh my! This weekend, however, I did – I resisted. I stepped away from my computer and celebrated the 4th of July with the rest of America.

Italy planted on my deck
basil plant

Once the 4th was over, I decided to continue enjoying the rest of my patriotic weekend outdoors.  In fact, just the other day Peter, at Kalofagas, posted an entry that showcased his garden and the stunning array of herbs that he has at his disposal.  Not only him, but Todd and Diane (aka White on Rice Couple) also have an outrageous garden that I swear has more fruits and veggies than my local farmer’s market. Drawing inspiration from two of my favorite bloggers, I decided that this weekend I would start my very own garden. And without even signing on to my computer, I set out to buy my new plants.

the newest member of the family: upright rosemary
upright rosemary

OK, so I don’t have a full garden just yet, but I did start my mini-paradise with some sweet basil and upright rosemary.  I’m not sure if using chemical plant food is absolutely necessary (or actually good for the plants), but the staff member at Home Depot convinced me that the plants wouldn’t survive without it. So if anyone has any opinions about this stuff, I’d love to know.

freshly plucked
basil leaves

The fragrance that was coming from the herbs was intoxicating.  Immediately after I finished my little project, my stomach was craving for some attention of its own.  Since this was the 4th of July weekend, I had extra hot dogs sitting in my fridge that were screaming my name.  And yes, I do eat hot dogs!  Or at least doctored-up hot dogs…

mise en place
mise en place

I gently plucked a few leaves off my new basil plant and went straight to the kitchen. I chopped up some onions, tomatoes, a clove of garlic and a spotty avocado I had laying on the counter. Everything came together with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil a tiny bit of lemon juice.  Some grated mozzarella completed the production and made for some killer dogs!

basil avocado relish on hot dogs
mise en place

Basil Avocado Relish

(yields approx. 1 1/2 cups)


  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 4 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 hass avocado
  • 6-7 leaves of basil, rough chop
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Putting them all together

  1. Toss all the ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Enjoy all summer long over hot dogs, in sandwiches or even as a dip for chips.


15 thoughts on “Inspiration, planted on my deck

  1. Hey Tony! I am not seeing the pics. I love my herb garden and although have a brown thumb when it come to gardening i really put in a bit of extra effort for the herbs. the hot dogs sound great – i wish i could see the pics!

  2. Antonio, still no photos here but thanks for the link. Your relish would great on a grilled or baked fish!

  3. Hey Tony, Great sounding recipe! (I like the other’s am not seeing a photo). I love avocados!!!!!
    P.S. I love the print option on your recipe too 🙂

  4. oops, oops, sorry everyone!! the problem should be fixed now… please let me know if you still can’t see the pics.

    Meeta – I hope you can share some of your pointers with me!! I’m so excited to expand my garden!

    Peter – I used it on everything this weekend and I’m sad that I used up the rest of it this morning alongside some scrambled eggs…

    HoneyB – ah! I’ve been obsessed with avocados this summer : ) I hope you enjoy the recipe!

  5. Looking at so many gardens around the blogosphere I want to have my own, even if it is only a small herb one. And those hot dogs look so delicious they are making me hungry.

  6. Antonio ~ I love your doctored up hot dogs. I’m sure each bite was a pleasure to taste. You’re starting with two great and necessary herbs for your herb garden. It is amazing to me that people have the energy to grow so much (like the bloggers that you pointed out). I start thinking about garden maintenance and give up on the idea. Hope this is the start of a wonderful project for you. Oh, I can’t wait to hear what people submit for their spin on hummus – I can never get enough of it.

  7. Talking of porn – your photos are making my mouth water. We’re in the middle of winter and the sight of basil brings back wonderful memories of summer.

  8. Those dogs look AMAZING! I am a bit fan of hot dogs, I must admit and this topping looks great!

    Your question about herbs and fertilizer…all I can tell you is that my herbs were NOT growing – I planted them from seeds in April and they grew a little and just stopped – they didn’t die, they just didn’t grow. So recently I was visiting my mom and she gave me some extra plant fertilizer because she had extra, and I started feeding my plants and now they are GROWING! I am so excited! I would love to find an alternative, but for now I will stick with the fertilizer!

  9. Great topping for the hot dogs Tony! And your garden…yeah!!! The basil is definitely right up your alley and we can’t wait to see all the stuff you make when your garden explodes!

  10. Well, I’ve not grown basil before but I do have food plants in my kitchen. They are fed once a week with this organic fertiliser concentrate (from diluted in room temperature water (about 5 ml concentrate to 1 liter water). My mother-in-law taught me to leave the water out to rest for at least 2 hours before using, as they are extremely cold here in Sweden. Since food plants are for eating (uh-duh!), I thought I’d leave some tips about choosing organic fertiliser. I hope your garden will grow well. It is a lovely feeling to see them lovely plants blossom before your eyes. And thank you for your recipe on the wine-braised mushrooms!

  11. How beautiful! Really, it’s hard to beat a dish made with anything home grown… As a bonus for non-gardeners like myself, herb gardens are so easy to maintain.

  12. Such a simple recipe, yet it’s full of flavor and highlights what summer eating is all about!

    Good luck with your herb garden. I really need to start one of my own, seeing as it’s kind of an easy thing. I’m afraid my cats might nibble on it, though, heh.

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