Monday, July 26, 2010

Weekend Highlights: Pesto, Pesto and More Pesto

I would like to start the week off by saying that I am incredibly grateful to have gotten a break in the crazy humidity—that meant that we were finally able to eat meals on the porch without dissolving into puddles. Our back porch is where I fell in love with our house back in April when we first moved in and would eat dinner out there after painting or breaking down boxes. So heavenly.

I managed to put a huge pile of our basil to good use in the mother load of pesto batches. We ate some of it for dinner over steamed potatoes, squash and green beans and I froze two family-size portions to use come fall and winter. I plan to do this every time I make pesto through the rest of the summer to stock our freezer nice and good.

Here are a few hints on the pesto-making front:
1. Don't use the huge basil leaves, or if you want not to waste them, make sure that you have enough of the smaller ones to balance out the flavor. Having a goal to use smaller leaves might also help remind you to use it before it gets enormous.
2. If you have a fridge bursting with summer produce, like we do right now with our own garden goodies and our weekly CSA share, steam it, then pour pest on it. Trust me, the green stuff turns a plate of veggies into pure summery bliss.
3. Use walnuts instead of pine nuts. They are much cheaper and you'll never notice the difference. And skip toasting them!
4. Throw in a handful of flat parsley to help the color stay bright green. Add a bit of lemon juice for even more protection against gray. And don't skimp on the olive oil! (Because I knew I'd be making a bunch, I bought a big bulk jug last week at the store.)
5. Lest you think you have too much on hand, you can use it on pasta, on potatoes, as a sauce on veggies, stirred into scrambling eggs, stirred into a summer vegetable soup, slathered onto a sandwich, as a dip or sauce for grilled shrimp, chicken or meat, or in place of red sauce on pizza.



  1. Yum! What a delicious idea to pour pesto over vegeatables. I need to make pesto again, without the cheese, and using walnuts rather than pine nuts is another good tip. Thanks!

  2. Yay, summer! Thanks for the great tip on the smaller leaves. We've been freezing some of each of our pesto batches in ice cube trays for easy portioning during the fall & winter. Great to pull one out to spread on a couple of sandwiches.