It’s a pesto kind of day. Actually it started last night with severe storm warnings. We were lucky and just got very heavy rain and high winds that lasted about thirty minutes and then the storm ended quickly. The morning was still windy but sunny. Looking over the vegetable and herb gardens, Mother Nature didn’t do much harm…thank goodness. Leaves were twisted and tall herbs were laying down on the ground but the rest of the gardens were fine. Two of the basil plants were down on the ground and that was quickly repaired with staking.
The basil has grown well. I have sprayed with soapy water to keep insects off and the majority of the leaves are huge. Then I spotted the first Japanese beetle. I would have taken a photo of one of the villains of my gardens but my first instincts took over and I squished it. So much for his one moment of fame. Tomorrow the traps go out or his photo stand ins will be perched on every leaf…munching and waiting for their instant of fame.
One way to prevent the basil leaves from looking like they had been hit by buckshot is to pick, pick, pick. Once you have a bowl of beautiful of basil leaves, there are many wonderful ways to make use of them. One of my favorites is pesto.
Pesto is really easy. Basil leaves, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese. That’s the usual ingredients. If you look on the web for pesto recipes you will find recipes using different herbs, nuts, oils and cheeses. I think that pesto is like a blank canvas…paint your own picture using what you have on hand.
Today I made a pesto vinaigrette to dress grilled vegetables, a tomato and mozzarella salad, and as a sauce for sirloin tips that I grilled.
There is no exact recipe for what I prepared today. It was not a true pesto in that I didn’t use any nuts. My vinaigrette used a handful of large fresh basil leaves, one large clove of garlic, two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, one half of a squeezed lime, a tablespoon of parmesan cheese, salt and pepper which I then zapped in my mini processor. Fast, simple and great flavor for a summer meal.