Garden-grown basil can pile up fast. Here's a good use for it: basil-flavored oil, delicious on salads or drizzled over baguette slices topped with ricotta cheese. To make it, blanch 1 cup of basil leaves and blend them in a food processor with 1/2 cup olive oil and a pinch of salt. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer lined with a coffee filter. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to a week.
Dining at home this February 14? For a romantic prelude or finale to the meal, serve dried Calimyrna figs. When cut lengthwise, they look like little hearts. They're a sweet complement to cheeses, crusty breads, and salads. An added benefit: Figs are packed with nutrients, such as iron and potassium, which helps lower blood pressure.