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Monday, June 30, 2014

Gardening (and cooking!) Today: Pesto

In recent months (and years, too!)  I have enjoyed pesto dishes at various functions.  Whenever I complimented the chefs on the pesto they told me how easy it was to make.  This year I wanted to make some myself, so I purchased a flat of basil plants.

The first flat of plants was eaten up almost overnight but some invisible creature, INSIDE OUR HOUSE BEFORE THEY WERE EVEN PLANTED!  I still decided to plant them.  The next day there were even more holes in the leaves.  I went to a local garden center and asked what I could do and was told a particular substance would kill the invisi-bugs who were doing this damage.  To tell you the truth, after dosing the plants, I could not see any difference.

Flat number two of basil plants went into the garden, but after a few days they did not look as happy...no holes but just sort of yellow-y green.  After several weeks they are finally beginning to green up a bit, but don't look like anything I can harvest yet.

Basil plants, number three, were a set of three large pots with strong healthy basil plants, three or four in each pot, that were all ready to harvest!  I could not resist since the whole shooting match was only $8.99 at a big box store!  The very next day I harvested 2 cups of leaves to make my first pesto ever!  (I also went to the garden and pulled three leaves off the flat number two plants, so they would not feel left our...).

Pesto pasta with my first-ever homemade pasta from our own basil plants!

This is what I did:

Wash and spun dry 2 cups of basil leaves and put them in our food processor.

Added 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup of walnuts, and 5 previously-frozen garlic cloves (from when I had an over-abundance of garlic that I did not want to go by...I used 5 because I was not sure how much of the garlic flavor would survive freezing.)

After putting all these ingredients in the food processor, I pulsed them a few times to get the grinding process going.  When it began to look like a real mess, I began dribbling in 1/2 cup olive oil.

When the olive oil had been well incorporated, I added some Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste.

In the meantime I was boiling ruffled pasta.  When the pasta was cooked and drained, I put 4 cups of pasta in a bowl and added 1/2 cup of the pesto sauce and mixed it well.  It tasted so yummy.  I loved it!  Dear One sniffed, then ate two bites but was not inspired.  When I asked if I should take it to the children and grandchildren, he said yes immediately!  Win some, lose some...!

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