Friday, July 11, 2014

Taking a Break ... and a Different Basil Pesto Recipe

I'll be taking a short break as I travel to the Seattle area for a visit with my best friend and her family. I am so looking forward to it! The weather will be sublime (hot, but no hotter than where I live and with less humidity). It's been six years since I've seen my friend and her family. Her son was less than a year old at the time! I'll be sure to take photos of the area and share them with you when I return.

Meanwhile, I wanted to share this wonderful recipe for basil pesto with you. It's different from the one I posted here last year. This recipe uses no Parmesan, which I guess makes it vegan. It's just as delicious as the version with Parmesan. In fact, my husband likes it even more! I made this batch the other evening because my basil plants are so prolific right now and I didn't want any to go to waste. I'm afraid they won't fare well much longer in this heat.

Basil Pesto (no cheese)

1 cup pine nuts, toasted at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes
8 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves
2 to 3 garlic cloves, chopped
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1) Bring 5 cups salted water to a boil. Add basil and quickly submerge leaves with a spoon. Immediately drain in a colander and rinse with cold water until cool, then pat basil dry with paper towels.
2) In a food processor, combine pine nuts, basil and garlic; season with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. Process until nuts are finely chopped. With machine running, pour oil in a steady stream through feed tube. Process until smooth. Use immediately or freeze for up to six months.

To use from frozen: defrost pesto at room temperature or at 30-second intervals in the microwave. Mix well before using in recipes.

Lastly, I harvested our first cucumber of the year. It's the first time we've grown cucumbers and I've been very excited about it, checking the plant nearly every day for signs of fruit. All of a sudden this beauty popped out. The plant is taking over the side yard. My husband has built an intricate web of stakes and string to keep it off the ground. 

I believe this has to be the most delicious cucumber I've ever tasted!


  1. Hi Claudia, your pesto looks great. All my basil plants got downy mildew last year, so I've skipped this year. I might have a change of heart if I find a nice healthy (mature!) specimen in a garden centre. Our growing season is so much shorter than yours!

    We have a cucumber farm close by so I don't even bother planting cukes. NOTHING tastes like a sun-warmed cuke - absolutely nothing!

    Enjoy your trip out west!

  2. Any tips for someone who doesn't have a food processor? So many great recipes that I have to skip.

    1. Hello there,
      Thanks for your inquiry. I'm afraid I don't have any tips for making this without a food processor. I was without one for a long time and finally bought one, and I'm glad I did. It's a bit of a hassle to haul out and set up, and the clean up is tedious if you don't put the pieces in the dishwasher. But it makes quick work of things like shredding cabbage and carrots for cole slaw, and making pesto. It is a useful tool.

  3. Hi Claudia, I make a similar Parmesan-free pesto and we love it. Congrats on your cucumber. Haha. :)
    Have a wonderful time catching up with your friend in Seattle!!! Xo Terri

  4. This IS new! I've never ever heard of blanching the basil. I'm about to make a batch or two and will try this. And actually, I never do add the Parmesan into the mix. We wait until it is served over pasta and add any cheese then. I had posted my recipe last year where I add some sweet Vermouth with the olive oil…. it helps to keep the mixture moist and not quite as oily!
    Have a wonderful time in Seattle!


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