Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pesto or else:
the tastiest thing to happen to basil. ever. 

it's that time of year. if you've planned things well, you have so much basil right now that you're throwing it in the air and rolling around in a bed of it. it's really fun, but you think you might want to do more with it soon. and here comes the pesto train.

the recipe:
4 cups of basil (fresh fresh fresh!!)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup of pine nuts
2 cloves garlic (i used two garlic scapes)
salt & pepper to taste

there you have it. all the makings for a super solid pesto! 

first, a note on harvesting basil. to keep your basil plants producing more of the magnificent stuff, you have to pick it at the right place on the plant. also, frequent harvests keep it from flowering, which can make it taste bitter. so, make sure it has at least three sets of leaves, and ideally, is at least one foot tall. pick off the basil that is sprouting up between another two leaves, so that it will continue to grow from there, ensuring a plentiful basil harvest. i tried to photograph this process but did a really awful job. so! here's a helpful website! and here's a car dealership website owned by someone with the last name of basil!
oh, the wonderful world of basil.

remove all the basil from the stems (leaving a little is okay, it doesn't have to be SO precise) and measure it. it doesn't have to be 4 well packed cups of basil, but it should take up 4 cups worth without being too loosely packed.

put it in a food processor with the pine nuts and garlic. you can experiment with other kinds of nuts, too. i've heard of walnuts working well, i just have a strong personal affinity for pine nuts. it's in the early stages, though. no worries.

begin to mix it, and pour in the oil as you go. add salt and pepper as needed, and also add more pine nuts or basil or whatever you think it needs.

this recipe makes one cup of really rad pesto.

this brimming ball jar of pesto was too exciting for my camera to even focus on. wild, i know.

now that you have pesto, you should do these things with it:
-mix it and only it with pasta.
-have a hummus/pesto/cucumber/tomato/avocado sandwich.
-make sushi and put a layer of pesto on top of the layer of rice.
-put it all over veggie burgers.
-use it instead of tomato sauce (or in conjunction with) on pizza.
-attempt to use the leftover basil as currency at any local shops.
-throw a pesto party in which everyone wears green and brings their own starchy something-or-rather to cover in pesto. optional: pesto pinata?