Tag Archives: pesto

Thai Basil pesto

There are times, in the depth of winter, when I absolutely crave Thai basil. And here in Norman Oklahoma you can’t just pick it up at the local grocery, you have to make a special trip to Cao Nguyen. So two weeks ago I harvested all my Thai basil and made a pesto, which I then froze in those little snack-sized ziplock baggies. I intend to use it in fresh spring rolls, Thai curries, and on rice noodles.

Thai pesto (process the following in your blender)Thai basil

  • 1 – 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup peanut oil
  • 1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tsp fish sauce (optional; if you leave it out add 1 tsp salt)
  • 1/4 cup sweet chili sauce (or substitute hot chili and brown sugar)
  • lots and lots of Thai basil leaves (as much as you can jam into the blender)

If your blender balks at processing all this, gradually add a little water.

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Still life with vegetables

Mid-June harvest

Mid-June harvest

Here is an arrangement of today’s pickin’s from the garden.  Yellow wax bush beans, baby eggplant, serrano chili, bell pepper, and yellow cherry tomato. I’m going to use these in a tofu and noodle stir fry for dinner.

I also harvested a large bag of parsley, and am making pesto with it, adding in fresh oregano, mint, garlic, olive oil,  a squirt of lemon juice, and salt.

basil seedlings
basil seedlings

Tonight I’ll transplant my Genovese and Thai basil, which I broadcast seeded in the garden. Because I save my own seed I always have more than I need, and I’ve found that direct seeding in the garden after the soil has really warmed up works best for basil.  I even have lemon basil coming up on its own – voluntarily. Speaking of which – I have arugula sprouting underneath the patio table (where I harvested the dried seed). Funny, but the pebbles and chat underneath this table seem to be a perfect medium for seedings! I’ll transplant some of the arugula and see how it does in the middle of a nasty hot Oklahoma summer.

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Parsley – not quite so sparsely*

great northern beans, lemon juice, tahini, and parsley pesto

Hummus made with great northern beans, lemon juice, tahini, and parsley pesto

Well, the garlic scapes are done and my basil is just now sprouting, but I am flush with parsley. I planted it last fall from summer harvested seed, and I have quite a bit. I prefer the flat Italian variety, which seems to last longer (before it bolts) in Oklahoma. Yesterday I made tabouli, and today I made a parsley pesto, which I incorporated into a hummus.

You can find many variations of tabouli (see below) on the Internet and at restaurants which usually call for the fine grained bulgar wheat, but I prefer using the larger grain #3 or #4 grind. (Recently I was informed by an  imperious lady in the checkout lane at the Mediterranean Deli that I was doing it all wrong.) I use green onions, cucumber, tomatoes, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper, and lots of parsley in my tabouli. Occasionally I’ll add a handful of chopped mint. I soak my bulgar in cold water for about 20 minutes and then drain it adding the other ingredients.  Some of the recipes call for boiling water, but I’ve found that if  the wheat soaks up too much water the tabouli will be mushy and bland, so I’m sticking with my method.  I use very little oil when I make it, and no one seems to mind. Also, this isn’t something you can make on the spur of the moment – you need to let the mixture sit for several hours or overnight for the flavors to develop.

Another good use for parsley is in potato salad. Mike makes a great salad using about half mayo and half plain yogurt, mustard, dill pickles, red potatoes, onions, celery, salt, pepper, and parsley. Large amounts of parsley are also great in a Greek salad.

I’ve found a couple other salads to try, such as this parsley salad from the Food Network, and this chickpea, carrot, and parsley salad. If a nice bit of lamb comes my way, I may try this, too.

*Apologies to Dr. Suess

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Scapes continued

veggie curry, raita, and kiwi-mango fruit salad

veggie curry, raita, and kiwi-mango fruit salad

garlic scape pesto

I’m happy to report that the garlic scapes are a good thing. So far we’ve tried the scape and avocado (scape-amole?), scape and cheese grits souffle, and the scapes and spicy shrimp stir fry.Today for lunch I made a sweet potato and kidney bean curry and served the scape raita with it. Yum!

I think the best thing to do is make scape pesto (scapes, olive oil, salt) and add it to whatever you can. Yesterday I added this pesto to my lunchtime stir-fry, and to some mayo (scape aioli) to go on our veggie burgers at dinner.

This pesto would be great added to rice, noodles, soups, hummus, sour cream, salad dressings, on pizza, in  quesadillas, etc. And since we now have a dehydrator and plenty of scapes, I think I’ll try drying some as recommended here.

Mike and I spent the entire weekend working in the back yard, mostly pulling up violets and digging out daylilies. Actually Mike has been working in the backyard since Thursday, so now we have a huge pile of plants to chop up and compost (I say “we” but I mean Mike!). How can there be so much to do in one urban back yard? And we are by no means finished with our “to do” list –  bean tepees, tomato cages, plant squash, harvest leeks, fertilize, transplant perennials (where the daylilies came out), plant annual flowers, mulch the strawberries, and haul in a load of wood chips for the garden aisles.

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