After work today, I returned home to realize that my basil plant needed harvesting, again. The climate in my usually draught-stricken part of the state has been especially wet this summer. The farm manager, where I work, told us that the average precipitation in July, for this region, hovers around 2.5 inches of rainfall. As of last week, we had received 8.98 inches of rainfall, and the basil is loving it! I hear other gardens are doing well, too. Let’s talk about basil.
If you read about the healing properties of basil, you know that it’s an anti-viral. So, let’s look at pesto. I think it could be a near perfect food, in my estimation, because of the ingredients. It’s full of basil with its “green” power, protein from the pine nuts and the parmesan cheese, garlic is known as a vasodilator, and extra virgin olive oil is known for its healthy mono-unsaturated fats, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Here’s how I make pesto:
1 very, very large bunch of fresh basil leaves
5 large cloves of garlic (Glad we don’t live in Chicago in the 1920s when one could not go into public for 24 hours after consuming garlic!)
½ cup grated parmesan cheese (more or less)
½ cup pine nuts (piñon nuts) (more or less)
Enough extra virgin olive oil for a nice consistency
Of course, I’m not exactly sure about the measurements. I just add them until it “looks right”
Throw it all in a blender, and blend into a pourable consistency, or thicker, if you like.
It’s best to freeze it for a lovely green treat in the winter months. It looks just as green the day you take it out to thaw as the day you put it in the freezer!
So, what do you do with pesto?
It can be tossed in any pasta salad or anti-pasti salad. Just the other day, I cooked some whole wheat spaghetti, and I cooled them. To that I added grilled zucchini, onions, carrots, corn (on the cob), and eggplant (cubed after grilling). After the veggies have cooled, I added them to the cooled pasta. Then I tossed all with cubed mozzarella. Grilling the veggies added a special smoky flavor to the “salad”. Then I added the fresh, green, thawed pesto with just a bit of balsamic to add that tang.
Another is caprese salad, as shown in the featured photo. I had fresh garden tomatoes, so they called for basil leaves, fresh mozzarella (smeared with pesto), and tomato. Don’t you just love the colors in the photo. Do you think caprese salad was made to look like the flag of Italy? I like to drizzle a little balsamic. We ate a lovely supper, tonight, of the caprese salad, with canned sardines, and saltine crackers. It was a most satisfying meal with an accompanying glass of Sauvignon Blanc.
Thank you for reading.