Monday, August 9, 2010

Weekend news and basil-mint pesto

Besides swimming, we had other outdoor experiences this weekend. Our good friends Johnnie and Michele are living on Vashon Island this summer and caretaking at a cottage there. It's a pretty rustic cabin right on the water. We joined them for dinner on Sunday evening.

The last time we were there, on July 4th, my daughter and I picked up seashells off the beach (which the kids painted at my daughter's bubble party). This time, the tide was high and there was no beach.

However, there is a long, thick rope hanging from one of the trees in the yard. Michele said it was once a swing, but the seat broke off at some point. No matter: my daughter used the rope to play Tarzan and swing all over the yard.

They also have wild blackberries growing in the yard. I spent some time picking them (mmm, I love blackberries), and I have scratches all over my arm to prove it!

Johnnie and Michele's dinners are usually open potlucks for their friends. My contribution this time was a basil-mint pesto, made from the basil, spearmint and peppermint growing in our garden. It was a big hit with everyone, "addictive," as one woman called it. Here is the recipe I made (modified from this one at Post Punk Kitchen):



-1/4 cup each almonds and pine nuts

-2 c. basil and mint leaves (I cut off two tall stalks each of basil and spearmint, and five or six short stalks of peppermint, and pulled the leaves off the stems)

- juice of one lemon (tip: firmly roll the lemon around on a hard surface for about 10-20 seconds, and the juice will squeeze out much more easily)

- 3 T olive oil

- 2 garlic cloves, chopped

- 1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese

- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt.


- Using my Magic Bullet blender, I chopped up the almonds and pine nuts until they they resembled coarse crumbs and set them aside.

- I added the basil and mint leaves to the blender, along with 1 T of the olive oil, the lemon juice and the garlic, and blended until smooth.

- I added the chopped nuts, the rest of the oil, the parmesan cheese and salt to the basil-mint mixture and blended. The resulting mixture is lumpy.

- I served with whole wheat crackers.

For a vegan variety, you can replace the parmesan cheese with 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast flakes.

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