a pretty harvest

this year the pride of my garden was a basil plant, grown next to a tomato plant, in an earthbox. tomatoes this year?  not much sun or heat, so not too many.

monster basil plant

the basil plant, on the other hand, was a thing of beauty – easily as big as a full grown tomato plant.  i kid you not.

and so out of that giant and the 3 small mangy ones i had in pots, i managed to get 8 containers of pesto.

a personal interlude.  i fell in love with pesto when i accidentally ordered it off of the menu at a fabulous restaurant near my university.  i had no idea what it was, but it tasted mighty good.  and i proceeded to order it again and again.  since then, i’ve gotten into either growing my own basil or buying it from farmer’s markets to put a bunch away for the winter months.

pesto making

i use the basic recipe out of 1000 Vegetarian Recipes by Carol Gelles, which is my all time favorite pesto recipe of all. why you ask? because it’s pretty. very very pretty. and here’s how you do it.

Pretty Pesto

2 cups packed basil leaves
1/3 cup pine nuts
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt

1) food process the basil until finely chopped. move to a medium sized bowl.
2) food process the pine nuts until finely chopped. move to same bowl.
3) stir in oil, garlic, and salt

stir in 1/2 cup parmeasan cheese and enjoy!

pretty pesto

suggestions and options:
– i don’t add the parm for freezing, you can though.  it just takes up more room in my freezer.
– freezing pesto in ice cube trays is awesome, but i rarely get around to doing it :)
– try half parsley or half arugula/half basil
– try other nuts. walnuts are nice.

the key to drop dead gorgeous pesto? separating the ingredients in the food processor, only processing until finely chopped and then mixing them together.  i love that this pesto makes you say look!  a chunk of garlic.  yum.

what do you find yourself harvesting this autumn?

19 thoughts on “a pretty harvest

  1. some great tomatoes this year, a few stragglers still left. our single container cucumber plant keeps yielding cukes, and right now we have beans coming in. your basil is beautiful. yum!

  2. Brilliant! I almost went to hand-chopping because I wanted exactly that texture, how smart to just process them separately (and how simple, yet I would never have thought of it!) Yay for pesto!!

    I may get one more small haul of basil from my plants, I hope! And a couple more tomatoes. We just put up some pvc frames over one of our beds though, and I’m hopeful if we can get our act together we can get a late fall/early winter harvest of some greens & such.

  3. Oh I love pesto! I decided I’m going to grow basil next year because we did get a very tiny one this year and it didn’t go well indoors… I don’t know what I was thinking lol!

  4. The pesto looks really tasty and pretty too. :)
    I don’t have much in the way of harvesting but I am going to save my cacti from the cooler temps.

  5. I love pesto! I fell in love with it accidentally as well.. someone in a shop I worked at ordered a (famous “Illegal Pete’s” in Boulder CO) chicken pesto burrito and split it with me for lunch.. I was hooked ever since. Your basil plant is amazing! My plants died this year (too much sun) and my tomatoes produced a pathetic 3 pieces of tiny fruit before curling up and dying in our recent cold snap.

  6. I love pesto. We have some frozen from the trimmings of my basil plants (kept indoors this year) and from our CSA. Unfortunately, in the last batch I forgot to add garlic–guess I’ll have to stir it in when I defrost it. (Pretty lame that I can forget one of about 5 ingredients.) We have a ton of green tomatoes we hauled in that are currently turning red and orange and we got quite a few anaheim chilis and some nice kale this fall.

    • i always forget the salt. in everything. including this batch of pesto. i always wonder why things taste not as good as last time and ben always asks if i remembered the salt. ha!

      and yum! anaheim chilis. mmm.

  7. Oh my!
    can’t believe you’re talking about pesto, it’s the typical sauce of my hometown, Genova – in Italy!!!!
    The recipe is correct, though almost here every family has its own little secrets, or think they grow the best basil….

    Taste it!

      • …well a secret cannot be told…
        perhaps that’s the balance of oil and cheese, to get the best creamy consistence.
        Here the habit is to eat pesto with “trenette” (sort of spaghetti) boiled with some potatoes and green beans, that have to be chopped and added to the whole dish with butter as well….
        or you can try a spoon of pesto added to a bowl of vegetable soup just before eating it…

  8. I completely agree with you re: pesto! Gelles’ cookbook is one of my absolute favorites. Last time I made pesto I went the lazy route and just threw everything in the food processor, and it was not nearly as good.

    BTW, my other 2 all-time favorite cookbooks are Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home and Main Course Vegetarian Pleasures.

    • yay! i don’t think i’ve ever found anyone else who was a great fan of that book! i also have those other two cookbooks on my shelf. all of the vegetarian pleasures books are so good.

  9. Pingback: five senses friday – first of october « cosymakes

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