Ever since she was just a tiny thing, I’ve been taking Little Bird to the nursery section of Lowes and Wal-Mart where we have a grand time sniffing the herbs.
(This is Little Bird's potted basil plant. She is very proud of it!)
She had developed quite a good nose for different herb scents, with basil being one of her absolute favorites. Sis has a small container garden on her deck and Little Bird has her own pot of basil. At the beginning of the summer there was a bunny snooping around in their yard. When Sis told Little Bird that rabbits eat plants, Bird got an alarmed look on her face and ran to the deck rail to yell at the rabbit, “Don’t eat my basil”! Little Bird will actually pick and munch on basil leaves while she is playing outside.
That’s my girl!
I planted 4 basil plants in my herb garden this spring. I have been trimming them regularly… keeping myself in Caprese salads and pesto all summer. Even took up some to make fresh pesto for Little Bird’s birthday party.
But lately they have just gone nuts! It was time to do some serious cutting back.
I took enough to completely fill my large sink.
After a good washing, it was time to make the pesto. (Sorry, no pics… hands were too pesto covered to handle the camera!) I don’t really measure out my ingredients for pesto… I just make it. I use less oil than most recipes I’ve seen and NO cheese in the pesto itself, I’d rather add that myself at the table. And I add a bit of lemon juice to help keep the color bright.
Here’s a recipe that pretty much is how I do it:
Little Bird Pesto
5 cups basil
1/3 cup EVOO
1/2 cup pine nuts, heaping
3-4 cloves garlic
1 T lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste.
In food processor with chopping blade, process pine nuts and garlic until just chopped, adding a bit of oil to make it smoother.
Once that is done, start adding the basil and process to blend. Every so often, stop the food processor and push down the pesto with a rubber spatula to get everything blended together well. Add oil as needed to make a nice creamy paste. Add in the lemon juice, salt and pepper towards the end… tasting to get it where you want it.
Use immediately or put in a Ziploc bag with the air squeezed out. The pesto will darken on contact with air.
I use it on pasta as a sauce (it doesn’t take much) or on toasted garlic bread or it’s really good on a smoked ham or turkey sandwich with a bit of goat cheese.