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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Summer is Basil Time

Hi Boys and Girls!

It is summer and you know what that means....BASIL!! But first, I want to show you a picture of last night's dinner.
Looks good, right? It was so easy...All ingredients are organic and the blueberries are from my yard. Everything can be purchased at your local grocery store.
  • roughly tear bite-size pieces of lettuce (red tipped or Rommaine
  • chop up one peeled orange
  • slice several strawberries
  • toss in blueberries
  • Make a salad dressing of 1 TBL olive oil, 1 TBL vinegar (I used homemade rosemary/garlic but any light vinegar will work). Whisk this in a small bowl with a wire whisk until creamy.
  • Pour over salad and serve!
Now for the basil. My bumper crop of 3 basil plants are about to bolt. http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/vegetable/what-is-bolting-what-it-means-when-a-plant-bolts.htm
So, that means it is time to make pesto! Pesto can be used for many things. Dipping French bread into pesto and downing with a nice red wine is HEAVEN! But you can also use pesto as your base for margarita pizza. http://papamurphys.com/?gclid=CI_7vs3TuaICFQ0hnAodfmFJ4g You can make it like Papa Murphy's or make it even better with the pesto as your tomato base.

First cut basil leaving more to grow. Wash and rinse basil to remove bugs. I like using the salad spinner.

Then, I assemble
the rest of the ingredients...virgin olive oil, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts and garlic.

We love garlic
so I always add more than the recipe calls for. Recipe to follow.
Measure the rinsed and spinned basil into a measuring cup. The basil needs to be packed down in the cup.

After all the ingredients are placed in your blender or food processor, puree until this becomes smooth. Stop and stir the basil mixture. Be careful not to stir while the puree is spinning...it will splatter on you and may break your spoon or spatula. The recipe calls for walnuts but I substituted pine nuts. I used Parmesan cheese and increased the garlic.
I made one batch at a time and put the mixture in a freezer bag. I needed help from hubby to keep the bag open. I labeled the bag Basil Pesto, 6/10. So, in December when I am craving some pesto I can go to the freezer and see the date when this was made.

Here is the recipe.
Easy Basil Pesto
(Adapted from Southern Herb Growing)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 or more cloves garlic
2 cups fresh basil leaves, hard packed
1/4 cup lightly toasted walnuts (optional)
1/2 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese (optional)
Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and purree. Use immediately for best flavor. Pesto can be frozen in small containers for later use. To have tablespoon-sized portions ready to use, freeze in ice cube trays. Package in plastic freezer bags to keep from drying out.
Yield: 2 cups

Have fun! Tell me how you like it. What do you have in your garden now? What are you doing with all your tomatoes? Herbs? Cucumbers? Beans?

Until next time...spend time getting dirt under your fingernails.

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