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Have Basil, Make Pesto (pesto and dip recipes)

I might as well confess it: my garden is giving me bupkiss this year.  The plants are spindly, the cukes are shrivelled, the tomatoes are few and far between, and I got about 15 green beans total, enough for one batch of potato salad.  The eggplants seem to be doing nicely, and eventually I might get some zucchini, but even that’s looking kinda sad…

On the other hand, my herbs are doing beautifully.  I have a nice healthy rosemary plant on the patio, and my basil is kicking butt.  Serious butt.  So I finally made pesto.  Checked out a bunch of recipes and in the end, as usual, sort of made up my own.

Now, just to give the disclaimer: I was not trying to make a lowfat or particularly healthy pesto here.  I figure, hell, pesto’s one of those things you use maybe a teaspoon or two at a time, so why not make it count, in all its flavory and textury niceness? Why skimp on the olive oil? Or parmesan?

So, here it is:

Easy Basil Pesto

Add the following to a food processor, pulsing after each addition:

  • 3-4 cloves garlic.  If you really really love garlic, maybe make it 5.  If you get too crazy and make it more like 6 or 7, because you think you love garlic so much that it’ll be awesome, be aware that your result will be better titled “Garlic Basil Pesto.” Don’t ask how I know this. (It’s still awesome, though.) Pulse till basically ground/almost pureed.
  • 2 cups basil leaves. (To measure, pack the leaves down pretty well in the cup.  It takes a lot of basil leaves to make two cups packed.) Pulse again till kinda pureed. (From here on out there’s very little grinding; don’t figure on chopping the basil more later…)
  • While pulsing, dribble in half a cup of olive oil.
  • 1/2 tsp salt; 1/4-1/2 tsp ground black pepper; 2 tbs. lemon juice. Pulse to mix in
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese; 1/2 cup lightly toasted pine nuts or walnuts.   Pulse till you like the texture. (If you like more chunky pesto, only go a few times; if you like it smooth, obviously grind till it’s smooth. Seriously, maybe a couple of seconds might be enough.)

That’s it. Easy as pie. (A hell of a lot easier, actually. Pie is a pain in the tail, IMO.) This recipe makes a little over a cup of pesto, which goes a long way; I froze it in half cup containers to thaw as needed.

The secondary recipe:

Pesto Yogurt Dip

This is exactly what it sounds like: mix maybe 1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt with a couple of tablespoons pesto (to taste). Delicious for dipping veggies or crackers or whatever.  And  lot healthier than most other dip recipes you’re gonna fine.

It’s not a bushel of tomatoes to can and make sauce from, but as the fruits of the garden go, it’s something…

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Eat Your Peas, Ivy Louise

The peas are germinating.

They are incredibly cute. I didn’t know peas could be so cute.

The basil I planted in a pot a week ago is not germinating. I’m wondering what I did wrong.

peas,

J

p.s. the subject line is the title of a particularly delightful children’s book my kids both loved. It encourages small children to play with their food and hurl their peas out the kitchen window.  It was a gift from their grandparents, with whom, believe it or not, we are still speaking.