I admit it...I'm a foodie. I love eating good food, and making good food. One of my favorite things to do is hang out with my husband while casually making dinner, glass of wine in hand. Good wine, good food, good man...does it get any better?
My husband and I also love to grow our own good food...yes, it does taste better when you create meals from your own harvest. I can taste all of that hard work and sweat and tender care, and it's delicious.
We enjoy our garden so much that several mornings a week we get up early to drink coffee amongst the beans, squash, basil, zinnias, marigolds, and nasturtiums. We walk through our little corner of Eden and check on the progress of the tomatoes, pull a few weeds to feed to the chickens, and feel the warmth of the sun as it rises over the mountain.
The basil was abundant, and would soon form little flowers.
It was ready.
I grew several varieties of basil this year: Genovese, Thai, Purple, Lemon, and a new variety for me...Curly!
I brought my pungent harvest into the kitchen and checked the pantry. No pine nuts? No problem. Walnuts and cashews will do just fine. I can't do regular dairy, but I can do goat's milk, and I had a log of goat cheese on hand.
I love to experiment in the kitchen...and view recipes as suggestions...go with your heart and your taste buds, I say!
But, here's a good foundation if you're making pesto for the first time:
3 Cups fresh basil leaves, rinsed
4 cloves fresh garlic (OK, I use about 12)
1/2 - 3/4 Cup grated cheese(pecorino, parmesan, etc...I used goat cheese)
1/4 Cup pine nuts (the classic, but walnuts are great, too, and much less expensive)
1/2 Cup olive oil (extra virgin)
salt and pepper to taste
Put it all in your food processor and blend til smooth.
(A little hint: toast your cloves of garlic...it gives depth and a sweeter, mellower flavor.)
I looooove pesto(doesn't everybody?), and try to make enough to last all year, so I freeze it in snack-size ziplock bags. One bag is usually enough for a pound of pasta. This batch of basil made 15 bags, and I expect to harvest more soon.
(Tip: if you're freezing your pesto in glass or plastic containers, leave space on top to cover the pesto with a layer of olive oil. This will keep the pesto from oxidizing and turning a brown color. The color won't affect the taste, but the bright green is so much more aesthetically appealing, don't you think?)
And presto! Pesto!