Put the lime in the beef, you nut

My attention went immediately to two items in the latest CSA box: more lime basil and baby leeks. Baby leeks look and taste like green onions, but with a little more pronounced garlicky flavor. I figured I could use them the same way.

And that lime basil – my yard will be filled with it next summer, I assure you. I could smell it all day. The thing about basil of any kind is that after it’s cut, it’s as fragile and short-lived as a cool breeze in July. I’ve discovered that when the lime basil arrives, I have to use it within a day or so or I end up with black goo. Even recutting what stems were long enough to do so and putting them in a glass of water, like cut flowers, made little difference.

It was time for a sort-of-Thai lime beef. I started by stir-frying sliced flank steak. I added the baby leeks, fresh garlic (also from the box), a little carrot, fish sauce, soy sauce and lime juice. Some fresh Thai chilies would have been ideal, but I didn’t have any. I did have Thai chili-garlic sauce, which went into the mix in liberal amounts. At the end, just before serving, in went a good cup’s worth of the lime basil, just long enough for it to wilt a bit.

I love citrus flavors of all kinds, and will put a squeeze of lime or lemon into almost anything. It just perks up the flavors, I think. Lime is a lush flavor, though, and can be overdone more easily than lemon. Lemon is the sunny girl-next-door flavor; lime is her exotic sister, a little more aloof but worth getting to know.

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