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Posts Tagged ‘fresh herbs’

basil mint walnut pesto

fresh basil spice

Are you finding bunches of fresh herbs in your CSA box? Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme?

Hmmm, I wonder if Scarborough Fair was the first Farmer’s Market? If any of this rings a bell, you’re dating yourself to 60s crooners, Simon and Garfunkel. And maybe even feelin’ groovy. Without revealing age-specific details, I’m glad I experienced the 60s. As far as decades go, that was by far one of the best. Definitely much cooler than the 80s, wouldn’t you agree?

Bellbottoms and tie-dyes or mall-bangs and leg-warmers? Need I say more?

And the music? No comparison.

It would have been a better recipe segue for me if the lyrics had been parsley, dill, mint, rosemary and basil. Not nearly as melodic. Nonetheless, I find it quite romantic that the original love song was written long ago and involved a bonny lass, fresh herbs and a farmer’s market.

Only in Scotland.

I’m growing the rosemary and mint myself, but the rest of these herbs have been in my farm-share box the past several weeks. I can’t use them all, so I’m in the process of drying the more “dryable” herbs (a post on that will follow). The basil I have no problem using immediately. I love basil, the smell alone is enough to send me straight to the kitchen.

This recipe can be adjusted and played with in all kinds of ways. I’m having a love affair with pesto lately and am finding that you can create pesto using almost anything you find in your CSA box. Zucchini? Yes. Spinach? Yes. Garlic scapes? Wow! Onions, basil, parsley? No problem. Be creative. Here’s another one of my “launching pad” recipes to get you started.

basil mint pesto (and/or whatever else you want to throw in)
what you need

2 cups fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
1 cup fresh mint leaves, washed and dried
1/2 cup chopped walnuts *
3 cloves garlic *
1/2 cup good quality olive oil
juice of 1 small lemon
1/2 – 2/3 cup freshly grated asiago or parmesiano reggiano cheese (a hard Italian cheese)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

what you do
* The walnuts and garlic are wonderful if toasted first, but it’s not necessary. If you decide to try it, preheat the oven to 325F. Place walnuts on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring once or twice, until golden brown (watch carefully as they burn fast). In the meantime, cut the ends off the garlic, but don’t peel it. Toast them in a small skillet on medium heat (on the stovetop). I have a small cast iron skillet that works great. Turn the cloves periodically so they cook on all sides, but don’t burn. The garlic should be somewhat soft and tender. Let cool and peel.

Put basil, mint, lemon, and half the oil in a food processor and pulse until well blended. Add garlic, walnuts, cheese and drizzle in the rest of the oil. Pulse until smooth. Add salt and pepper, pulse and adjust as needed (add a touch more oil if needed). It should be a past-like consistency.

You can also skip the mint and pulse in some shredded zucchini. Zucchini has a lot of moisture in it, so make sure you don’t end up with the pesto being too sloppy. You might have to cut back on the lemon or the oil. Serve on pasta, fresh roasted vegetables, toasted bread, as a side with fish or chicken or as a spread for sandwiches or veggie burritos. If you want to save some for later, put it in an ice-cube tray, freeze it and use individual servings as needed. This is a great way to have “fresh” pesto all year.

Feelin’ groovy,

Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for informational and educational use only and should not be used for diagnostic purposes. Consult with your physician regarding any health or medical concerns you may have.
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