Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Summer's Bounty Revisited

Last summer while visiting my sister in St. Paul her hubby kept an eye on the boys for the day and we took a girl's road trip over to Buffalo, MN. Antiques, gift shops, and best of all the garden center we passed by on the way home. Of course we turned around, and boy were we glad we did.

It was the end of the summer, and the owners of the little greenhouse were looking to get rid of everything and close up for the season. ALL their vegetables and herbs were FREE. Yep. At least four different varieties of tomatoes, parsley, chives, and best of all basil. Thankfully we had brought the truck, because we sure helped them out, also buying some hanging baskets and other things to spruce up our yards for one last show.

Let's just say I ended up with a lot of basil at the end of the summer. The strange weather we have had the past few years was just the right condition for it to flourish. I've never had luck with basil, or any other herb for that matter.

While going through my stash of thousands of recipes, I came upon a recipe for pesto. I had always wanted to make some, but never had enough basil to make it worth my time, as we don't have such exotic herbs in our small town. Okay, we do, but it's way too expensive to buy in bulk. And, I don't like pine nuts, the traditional nut used in pesto. But the recipe I found called for ALMONDS. And I like almonds.

So, I bit the bullet and sheared off most of the basil crop, leaving a few small fronds for one final Caprese Salad. It took me at least two hours to put it all together, but oh my. It was SO GOOD. I pinched myself a bit for not making it before. Some things are totally worth the time and effort. We enjoyed a few meals of it, then the rest ended up in the freezer to enjoy another day.

Now that I'm a single mom and Riley has dinner with his dad one night a week I have the opportunity to shake things up a bit in the kitchen, since there are quite a few dishes that he hasn't come to appreciate quite yet. I try to cook for my parents as often as I can, the least I can do for all the meals they've fed us. In preparation for tomorrow night's meal I grabbed a big bag of frozen pesto to thaw overnight, which I will add to some penne, sauteed chicken breast, and a grating of fresh parm. We will have a big green salad and some good red wine too.

My mouth is already watering.

On the nights I am all alone for dinner I make pesto just for myself. I added some leftover black olives from taco night to this bowl.

It was especially good that I didn't have anyone here to share it with, as I also really like garlic. Is it true that two garlics cancel each other out?


Kristi Pohl said...

YUMMMMMM. just imagine the herb garden you can have this summer!

Rachelle said...

Oooo, does that look good! Thanks for sharing a picture. Eat all the garlic you want! :o)

Rachelle said...

Okay Hanson Girl, whatcha been cookin' lately?? Hungry people want to know. :o)