Found: A use for all that basil…

Hello, my name is Laura, and I love pesto –

Hi Laura…

It’s true, I really do! As I made a list last year of what I missed in my garden, basil was the herb at the top of the list. I did receive the gift of basil from a friend, but ALMOST ran out of basil pesto, which was almost tragic! Not this year – I just made my second batch of pesto today, in a jiff!, and it reminded me that other might be thinking, “What should I do with allllll this basil?!”

The answer, my friend, is not blowing in the wind – the answer is here: make pesto!

Pesto just means, ‘pulverized sauce’, in basic terms – so though we commonly think of basil pesto when we think of pesto, pesto can be made out of many things – tomatoes, black beans, cilantro, etc —

But today, I’ll tell you about basil pesto. Referring to my favorite cookbook (“Simply In Season, we know, we know!” the regular followers of my blog are all thinking!), pesto is “a very forgiving recipe”, and I would quite agree.

Here’s how I make mine:

1 – fill up my food processor (I have a 4 c. bowl) with basil leaves, and, as long as they aren’t excessive, some stems won’t hurt the process either, and will save you time and brown fingernails from picking all the leaves off one by one (which I sometimes do, but sometimes don’t – it really depends on how much time I have)

2- add 1/4 cup of nuts – pine nuts are traditional, but are a little too rich for my blood. I’ve used walnuts, soynuts, and sunflower seeds (all raw, unsalted, un-anything-ed).

3 – Add a glug of olive oil – about a 1/4 C. Add a half tsp. salt, then as you go, see if its is salty enough for you. I like to add garlic as well (fresh is best – 1/2 to a full clove, or even more, to taste) and some add Parmesan cheese right away, too (since I freeze mine, I do not add the fresh grated Parmesan at this point).

4. Process, scrape down sides, judge if you need more oil, process, scrape down sides, repeat.

Put in a jar, and then add some additional olive oil on top, letting it filter through any ‘holes’ in your pesto. Use a butter knife to get out the air pockets, and make sure the top is covered with oil to avoid getting brown and gross-looking.

I make a few jars at a time, and keep one in the fridge, and freeze the rest!

And what do I use it for? Throw over veggies, toss with pasta, spread over chicken or fish, make pesto french fries, put in mayo and use on a sandwich – and I bet there are plenty more uses out there, too!

This really takes only 15 or so minutes, and is a great way to preserve a bounty of basil – Enjoy!

What’s Up Wednesday for May 23rd

Oh, MAN! I am SO, SO excited!

Our first Lakes and Valley CSA delivery is tomorrow!

Also with the delivery will come the bedding plants I ordered. So, what’s up for my Wednesday? Deciding, finally, where these plant-babies will go. I’ve got a few things coming that I need to settle a home for. I’ll also be picking up my order from Azure standard, which will include some perennial herbs. I like the idea of a perennial herb bed – as I made a list late in the winter of ‘what I missed’ that my garden didn’t have, or I couldn’t buy at a local farmer’s market last summer: sage. rosemary. thyme. (Just need parsley, and we can cue Simon and Garfunkel).

Here is what’s up:

Already in the garden (most just newly planted last Satuday, some planted as long as last November…ok, just one thing, the garlic):

– two varieties of beans. One green, one violet (new thing!)

– transplanted chives, rhubarb, and the ever-present-no-matter-how-much-I-try-to-get-rid-of horseradish. Good thing we like it.

– beets – detroit dark red, chioggia, and golden

– snap peas – sugar daddy

– raspberries (which you can see above)

– 4 developing strawberries!

– parsnips

– quinoa (a small experimental row, the seeds of which were a gracious gift for my birthday)

– Cuban oregano, san Marzano tomato, Best boy tomato (stolen by squirrel, rabbit, or child. Not sure which), genovese basil, sugar baby watermelon (fried crisply. Too bad) (all of which I bought at an awesome plant sale at the Northern Plains Botanical Garden society! Most were $1!)

– garlic (which you can see above as well)

To be planted when delivered — tomorrow!!!! – Did I mention I’m excited?????

– brussels sprouts – Churchill

– zucchini – Elite

– tomatoes – brandywine, gilbertie, new girl and Matt’s wild cherry, and container tomatoes (oregon spring)

– bell peppers – ace and revolution

– hot peppers – jalapeno

– cucumbers – marketmore

– cabbage – kaitlin

– sage, lavender, thyme, rosemary

It should be an interesting plant shuffle.   I think I’ll harvest the garlic fairly soon (I’ve never grown garlic before, but apparently I’m supposed to wait to pull it until the first 3 leaves die back and wither…1 of the three has withered on several of the plants. Once that’s out, I’ll just have peas there, which won’t be a forever thing — so there’ll be some space. ) I have one raised bed for the herbs, and possible a cucumber or zucchini, and then one additional completely empty raised bed. There are 4 others, but they are mostly spoken for.  My other option is to put a few things in the strawberry bed. I had two surviving plants after winter, but hey — that’s a start. My lush raspberry crop was started with a gift from a friend of canes from her parent’s place, which I neglected to plant for…oh…about 4 – 6 weeks, after which 6 were plants, 4 survived. Now, I have thinned twice in 4 seasons! Strawberries, follow your fruity cousins and multiply – multiply I say! *I heart strawberries.

Anything up in your garden? On your patio? in your Terrarium?