Garden Abundance Pesto
Every February I start getting antsy to put in my herb garden. Now, for most people, February may seem like a strange time of year to think of gardening. I, however, live in sunny southern Arizona and February is the most perfect time to get your gardening on, particularly for herbs, tomatoes, and lettuces.
This year for the herb garden I planted Lettuce Leaf Basil, Sweet Basil, Lemon Basil, Garlic Chives, Lemon Thyme, English Thyme, Purslane, Spearmint, and I had Mexican Oregano volunteer from past years when I have let it go to seed. My only failure in the herb department this year was the Purslane. Frankly, it fails every year but I haven’t given up hope just yet as it is so pretty and everything I read about says that it is good in salads.
I have to say that my gardening thumb was particularly successful this year. Of course, it always helps when hubby takes over the watering chores. He never missed a day. In this part of the world missing a day of watering can be disastrous
Our lettuce pot was very fruitful and supplied us with lots of yummy varieties of leafy greens, kales, and chard up until the beginning of August when the greens simply surrendered to the heat. I do have leeks left in there that I am anxious to see through until they are big enough to harvest. I like harvesting them when they are babies with the lettuce leaves which gives you just a hint of onion flavor that is quite pleasant. We used up the last of the chard out of that pot just a couple of weeks ago. We simply cut up the stalks and lightly sautéed them and the torn up leaves with a little bit of olive oil and minced garlic. Yummy!
We enjoyed Super Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes all summer long and even now at the beginning of September there is another bumper crop getting ready to ripen. Since we don’t expect any frost here until November or December we are going to let the rather untidy but still fruiting tomatoes go to the very bitter end since they are so sweet and delicious.
Around about the beginning of September, when the days are getting noticeably shorter, I always feel that it’s time to tear out the summer garden and plan for the winter garden. Since the tomatoes are doing so well we have decided to just tidy up a little bit and see what else might be happy during this beautiful Indian Summer. I discovered some carrots and radishes that were hiding under the tomato plants which were a very pleasant and sweet surprise.
Last weekend I decided to make some pesto from scratch with my overabundance of basil. We used the basil all summer long and kept deadheading the blossoms. At this point in time the plants are almost two feet tall and they are intermingled with the two tomato pots of either side of them.
My bestest and only sister is going to be a little bit unhappy with this recipe because I didn’t actually measure anything but I’m pretty good at eye-balling so let’s see what you think of this thrown together Garden Abundance Pesto
A large armful of fresh basil branches from the garden
This breaks down to about 4 Cups of leaves, loosely packed and washed
8 cloves of garlic, smashed with the side of a chef’s knife
1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus more for texture
1 cup pine nuts
1-1/2 Cups grated Parmesan Cheese
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and Pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. You may need to add a little bit more olive oil or lemon juice to attain your favorite texture and preferred flavor. I tend to like a lot of lemon juice in my pesto for the tangy factor.
You will need to store the pesto in the refrigerator tightly covered in a non-metallac dish. The pesto may oxidize or turn a little bit brown. You can prevent this by keeping a thin layer of lemon juice over the top of the pesto. You should use the pesto within 7 days or freeze it to use later.
We ended up with about 2 cups of finished pesto. We used it on fresh tomato bruschetta with Burrata cheese, a couple of salads, two different pasta dishes and on some scrambled eggs. It was very, very yummy!!