Pesto Madness

basil 002

I’m getting ready to make pesto. I have nurtured these luxuriant basil plants since January, when they first germinated from seed. Each seedling was painstakingly separated from the herd (flock? gaggle? What the hell do you call a bunch of seedlings?). The tiny plants, no bigger than strands of dental floss, were lovingly placed in their own micro containers, sheltered under a clear plastic dome, watered with a teaspoon and exposed to every shaft of sunlight a Vancouver winter will allow (which ain’t much). You can see I had some time on my hands. But the payoff has been satisfying and it’s turned into quite a crop.

This week I’ll be breaking out the food processor and blending the basil with garlic, olive oil and some good Parmigiano-Reggiano. I will omit the pine nuts. The Frugal Frau is not about to spring for pine nuts in this economy.

Pesto: The hard way

Pesto: The hard way

The basil performed the best of all my garden herbs. I had enough rosemary to go around. The sage stayed leafy and green and the chives, no matter how closely cropped,  just kept on comin’. Chives are impossible to kill. I think they’re growing chives at Chernobyl.

Surprisingly, the mint foundered. Maybe it was all that heat in July. Most people have trouble keeping mint from running rampant in their garden. Mine just got a little leggy and never really performed. This put a major crimp in my mojito production.The only reason I put mint out there in the first place was so I could muddle it in my mojitos.

The basil harvest has incited a spirited debate in our home over pronunciation. Angie says it like ‘bay-zil‘. I prefer  baa-zil, as if it had just rolled from the throat of an errant sheep. Both pronunciations are perfectly acceptable.

Most of us have something we’re proud of in our garden. I once did a television feature on a man who had a zucchini the size of a canoe. Believe me, this was an intercontinental ballistic zucchini. It didn’t matter that it threatened to break down his fence or that it required a daily deluge or that it had grown past the point of being remotely edible.

This was his baby. A squash for the ages.

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2 Responses to “Pesto Madness”

  1. Karen Y Chester Says:

    Hi Dave,

    Enjoying your very funny blog!

  2. Sharon Lightstone Says:

    You can get big bags of pine nuts cheap at Costco and you don’t have to use many! The basil is great in lots of other stuff too, Dave.

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