Pesto Much?

Today I spent time making some pesto, following a modification of a recipe from Ottaviana’s Kitchen (an old Geocities site that is cached and no longer active).  The recipe follows:

3 cup fresh, packed basil
1 cup olive oil, extra virgin olive oil
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup fresh parsley
4-5 cloves garlic, or to taste


Walnuts are a substitute for pine nuts, which are traditionally used in pesto.  Pine nuts give kind of a rustic, woodsy flavor, and I think a little bit of a richer flavor.  Walnuts give body to the pesto, but seem a little bitter.  I settle for walnuts because they are cheaper.  For the cheese, you can use Romano or Parmesan; I have also used Asiago.  Use as much garlic to your liking.  I like a ton of garlic, to which point the pesto is hot on the tongue once it is first ground.  My wife isn’t into that, so I have to tone it down (which is something I don’t understand as she is Italian).  Work in batches, get a little basil chopped up a little into your blender so it is easier to work with, top with the parmesan, walnuts and garlic.  Glug some olive oil, glug, glug, and grind away.  About the olive oil . . . don’t get hung up on the recipe.  Drizzle that stuff in until the blender starts to really mix stuff up and churn the mixture into a sort of smooth consistency.  If you’re fighting with the blender, then it probably means you have either too much basil in at the moment, or not enough olive oil.  Salt to taste, add pepper if you wish.

I brought in quite a haul of Sweet Basil from the garden (approximately 5 quarts packed).

Sweet Basil, ready to get washed

Sweet Basil, ready to get washed

And below, getting my ingredients ready for the NINJA!!!!

everything in place for a batch run of pesto

everything in place for a batch run of pesto

that's a lot of green

that’s a lot of green

8 quart pan, nearly full

8 quart pan, nearly full

feerst wee steer de pestooo, den wee salty-talty!  Bort! Bort!

feerst wee steer de pestooo, den wee salty-talty! Bort! Bort!

they come in pints?!

they come in pints?!

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Garlic Dill Pickles

Okay, so we got some help from Brainy Smurf on the pickle front.  He is bravely dictating Papa Smurf’s favorite pickle recipe.

Some handsome cucumbers, washed and pokes removed.

Some handsome cucumbers, washed and pokes removed.

Brainy Smurf inspecting the cuke

Brainy Smurf inspecting the cuke

washed and rolled in salt

washed and rolled in salt

Closeup of the dill.

Closeup of the dill.

ready for assembly

ready for assembly

myself making sure I'm understanding the process and the recipe

myself making sure I’m understanding the process and the recipe

endgame

endgame

Drummer Dean Zimmer

My uncle posted this video about a guy from his hometown, and I couldn’t help but to post this.  This drummer is amazing, this will be a good 6 minutes of your time well spent.  I promise!

Garden Photo Journal 3

Welcome again to my continued adventure with my garden photo journal.  We’re into the peak of this summer, and where I would expect at least some kind of decent benefit from the garden, I am starting to see some payoffs, and some things lacking.   One thing I’ve been waiting for (impatiently) are my zucchini and yellow summer squash.  Both have only yielded male flowers, so seeing each and every blossom fall off after a day has been a disheartening experience.  Going out to the garden this morning, I was delighted to find some surprises.

female zucchini flower

male zucchini flower, note the lack of ovary

male zucchini flower, note the lack of ovary

a closeup perspective of female blossoms developing

a closeup perspective of female blossoms developing

another closeup perspective of female blossoms developing

another closeup perspective of female blossoms developing

another perspective

another perspective

honeybees happily working away

honeybees happily working away

And got a surprise on the butternut squash vine:

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Tomatoes are looking good:

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The cucumbers are looking fantastic:

burpee straight eights, I only have 2 so far :(

burpee straight eights, I only have 2 so far 😦

burpee pickler hybrid

burpee pickler hybrid

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Jalapeno and cherry bomb peppers below . . . my red pepper plants follow, but no fruit as of yet:

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This red pepper plant is probably the healthiest of the plants, and grows happily under the shade of the cucumber plant leaves next to the trellis. I’m curious if these plants do better in such a situation. More to come on this later.

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Say hello to my little friends

spice-bush swallowtail butterfly caterpillar, munching away at the fennel

spice-bush swallowtail butterfly caterpillar, munching away at the fennel

basil and dill are looking good:

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Dill heads waiting on my cucumbers to finish up growing.

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