Fresh Basil Pesto
Nothing tastes as much like summer to me as fresh basil pesto. It was a summer tradition growing up to head to the farmers market with my mom and buy bunches and bunches of basil. Then, we’d spend the day washing, picking, processing and packaging pesto in containers for the freezer. Of course, we’d leave out several servings to eat right away, but freezing several more and tucking them away would make for the *best* treat in later months.
I've been growing a few basil plants in my raised-bed garden this year, and came home from a weekend away to an abundant crop that needed some trimming. One thing I've learned since starting my garden is that once herbs start to flower, they are much less productive. So, it's important to cut back the plants before they reach that stage so that they will keep producing lots of leaves all season long (unfortunately, as you can see on the basil plant in the upper right in the bowl above, I may have been a little late with a plant or two).
Anyway, having a few heaping cups of basil to use, I jumped at the opportunity to make my favorite spread. I used this recipe as a starting point, and modified it somewhat (I did not use sun-dried tomatoes, no pepper, and no salt - the cheese is salty enough!). Needless to say, it was absolutely delicious, and I'm happy to report I have a bowlful stowed away in the freezer. Now we'll see just how long I can wait before using it all up - not sure I have the self-discipline my mother does.