LUCY BURDETTE: It's that time of year where busy or not, the produce in our garden and at the farmers market is too gorgeous not to put some by for the cold months. So even though I have one book due in two weeks and another hitting bookshelves on 9/4, I'm freezing blueberries and chopped peaches and making bread and butter pickles. And then there's the pesto...
I didn't use to be a big fan of pesto, but after we started planting wads of basil to protect the tomato plants, I evolved. Now I usually make 3 or 4 batches in the summer and freeze it in small amounts to use as a topping for pasta, or my personal favorite, pesto pizza topped with sliced fresh tomatoes and slices of fresh mozzarella. The good thing about this recipe is that you can tweak to taste--add more garlic if you like a stronger flavor. Or substitute walnuts for the pine nuts, which are quite expensive. Up the cheese, up the oil, the choice is yours!
1 clove garlic
4 oz pine nuts (also called pignoli, can substitute walnuts)
4 oz good Parmesan cheese
3-4 Tbsp good olive oil
1 large bunch fresh basil, washed and dried (leaves only)
In the food processor, mince the garlic. Add the pine nuts and whir them to a paste. Cut the Parmesan into one inch chunks and add those to the bowl of the food processor, along with the olive oil. Whir to a paste. Add the basil leaves in three sections, and grind those up with the other ingredients. Taste and add salt or more oil if you think it needs it.
This list of ingredients made 3 half-cup servings which I will freeze and we'll enjoy pesto all fall!
Hope you enjoy! Or come on over and take a container from my freezer:). What summer treats are you putting away for this winter?
HALLIE EPHRON: Peach pie! Only how do I keep the bottom crust from going to mush?
Summer in New England is fish... I just made a fabulous bouillabaisse with lobster and fresh fish and local tomatoes. And real saffron, which trumps pine nuts for cost ($19.99 for a tiny little vial of threads... can't I harvest them from my crocuses in the spring??)
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Or you can use arugula or spinach instead of basil! I'm not...cooking this summer. Nada. nothing, zip. The only thing I'm cutting-is words from my new manuscript! And all I'm harvesting is ideas. So. I'm coming to your houses.
RHYS BOWEN: Since I'm away for most of the summer this year I haven't attempted to grow anything. I haven't really found any good English produce in stores in London so I'm looking forward to going to my sister-in-law in Cornwall for some home grown produce and eggs.
ROSEMARY HARRIS: Lucy's garden boggles the mind. Gorgeous. (LUCY--thanks Ro! And can't resist posting this picture of John who's just brought in the harvest for the day!) I have a mighty fine garden myself but you probably wouldn't want to eat anything I grow in my shady, rocky paradise unless one day I really do try sauteing the bamboo shoots in spring. Bread and butter pickles? Send them my way. Pesto? What a thoughtful holiday present (hint,hint..)
The only crop the deer, bunnies and squirrels have left to us are the blackberries..which I suppose I could make jam with..maybe Lucy/Roberta has inspired me. Other than that and grilling, which is the exclusive domain of Mr. Harris - I don't even know how to turn on the monster gas grill - my summer staple is watermelon, feta, mint and kalamata olive salad. YUM! I probably won't stop making it until the watermelon gets really white and tasteless.
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Like Hank, the only thing I'm cooking up this summer is my latest manuscript. In fact, Ross picked me up from the library the other day (when the kids are home for the summer, I have to leave to get work done) and innocently asked, "Have you thought about dinner?" I just laughed in his face.
Maybe because the teens have been so busy themselves, but Ross hasn't done nearly as much grilling as usual. However, he has been making lovely, luscious pies from locally grown blueberries and strawberries. Mmmm. Pie.
JAN BROGAN: I only grow herbs, and I only grow herbs that can survive a lot of neglect. I find it really demanding if they actually want to be weeded and watered.
This year that means chives, basil and mint. Although jalapeños are another favorite, but I just didn't get around to it this year. I still love to cook though, and also do a version of my own pizza, and Hank you'll be happy to know you can add microwaved chopped frozen spinach to the fresh basil and tomatoes and cheese and it's delicious. I add the mint to Giada's orzo salad recipe and Hallie, I have been making a single crust peach pie that you cook first (So it doesn't get soggy) and then add fresh peaches sautéed with honey and balsamic vinegar, topped with plain Greek yogurt whipped with honey and vanilla.
DEBORAH CROMBIE: I'm with Hank and Julia, the only thing I've cooked this summer is my manuscript. And once I finished that, it was too hot to cook anything!! Even grilling is torture. For the first time in I don't know how many years, I haven't even made it to the farmer's market... And like Jan, I only grow herbs. I decided years ago that getting anything else through the Texas summers AND working was beyond me.
My favorite summer thing is fresh buffalo mozzarella (Costco), good tomatoes, and basil with a little extra virgin olive oil and fresh ground salt and pepper. Heaven. And I would mention that I've discovered that a teaspoon of homemade basil simple syrup make a fabulous gin Bramble, but am getting a reputation about the gin:-)