Monday, June 14, 2010

Celebrating Basil!

I believe it is fair to say that one of the best things about summer is all the fresh ingredients. Growing up I never really had much access to right off the vine anything. We were primarily a canned or frozen food family. As an adult I have come to look forward each year to going to the Farmers Markets or Farmstands that are plentiful here in New England. As we work through the summer I am sure that I am going to have numerous posts on our fresh fruit and veggie adventures. Especially now that we belong to our local organic vegetable food share that starts on June 16th.

This weekend I kicked of our fresh veggie season with one of my favorite summer treats, basil picked right from our herb garden. In the past Jay and I have used this in various ways. One of our favorite summer-time snacks is crusty bread, basil, tomato and sharp cheddar cheese. Assemble it and place under the broiler to melt the cheese. Simple and delicious! This year we are growing a lot of basil so we decided to finally make our own pesto.

The first thing I needed to do was get over my fear of the food processor. Jay insists that it is irrational, but he is the one that stressed to me over and over how sharp the blade was when we first got it. Gee, I wonder why I was frightened of it? In the end it was not that scary, and kind of fun after a stressful week at work to demolish something like that…even if it was basil, garlic and nothing like the old Bass-o-Matic from SNL.

Here is the recipe for the pesto. We used a recipe from fellow Foodbuzzer “Great Eats With Petes” as a guide. You can check out the recipe and process at We made a few adjustments to customize it to our taste and it came out great!

1/4 cup pine nuts
4 tsp minced garlic
Bunch of basil (2 cups, lightly packed, minimum)
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Olive oil to desired consistency
1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese

Chop the nuts & garlic in the food processor. Add basil, salt & pepper and pulse to combine. Add oil and pulse until you have achieved the desired consistency. Add the parm cheese and pulse to combine. Eat it!

Jay is on the trail to become a sommelier and decided he needed to try to make basil infused vodka. He is pretty weird, but this seemed to be an OK idea. It turned out alright, although his first Basil Martini was more basil than anything and not very good. The Basil Vodka Gimlet on the other hand was savory AND sweet in one mouthful, and very drinkable. Here’s to a summer of exploring more flavors of basil!




Magic of Spice said...

Love pesto, and basil in general...A great and versatile herb.

Anonymous said...

This pesto looks great.


Basil is my all-time favorite herb!!! This is a lovely pesto recipe. Thanks for sharing!

Spice Sherpa said...

Simple and straightforward---a perfect pesto recipe. Of course when I make it I eat it by the spoonful and have even considered trying to make a basil ice cream. Basil rocks! Looking forward to more.