Posted by: oceannah | July 24, 2012

Pesto oh, OH !

c:  “How many walnuts should I add Mama?”

a: “I don’t know, how many do you think feel right?”

c: “about this many…”

a: “hmmm, yeah, that looks about right, great job!”

This was the dialogue last night while making pesto with my daughter.  We had a great big basket of fresh basil and I had pulled a goodly helping of ‘cheater’ garlic a few days ago in preparation for this grand making.  Sometimes people get put off by such vague recipes.  With my daughter though, she’s used to it.  My goal with her as with anyone I’ve cooked with is to instill an intuitive connection to the food.  Sure recipes are useful.  But cooking/making food with intuition is the real alchemy of the kitchen.

The oregano, parsley and sages are on the drying rack, the basket is mainly filled with basil.  Such a heavenly scent.

Pesto is a simple way to preserve a wonderful crop.  There are only a few ingredients:  Basil, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts/walnuts.  Traditionally made with a mortar and pestle and served with all manner of accompaniments.  We used a small food processor.  I like the pesto to be more on the chunky side, reminiscent  of the mortar days…so no long processing.  Just short bursts.

I do not like to everything in the processor together.  I like to hand grate the cheese and monitor the nuts carefully.  I despise an overly homogenous pesto.

More of the cast of characters…This year the garlic is just delicious!  Nice and strong but not bitter or overly harsh.  Just so.

The whole kitchen is filled with the aroma of pesto.  After stirring it all together we had a celebratory taste, since it was after dinner we did not feast.  Tonight we will have pesto on everything though!  Have a wonderful day.


linked to:  Homestead Revival Barn Hop #71


  1. You do everything with intuition, Anna!! Yesterday, an elderly lady who walks by my house everyday, stopped to tell me about a piece of fish she had just bought for her dinner, “I’ve got something to go with your fish,” and I gave her one of my new potatoes and then picked a plump purple cherokee tomato and picked basil for the tomato, rosemary for the potato and dill for the fish. She was so happy! And that made me happy. Gardening is a gift.

    • I love the fact that you share your harvest so willingly Kaye. You are an excellent neighbor! YUM, I can almost taste the dinner with all those yummy herbs and goodies you supplied.

  2. I love pesto! In the vein of the last comment, a neighbour saw me buying garlic in the grocery store this morning and commented “You know, you can grow those”. I had to hang my head and admit I didn’t get the garlic in the ground last autumn, so we had none this year. Next year!

    • It’s coming on that time to think about the spot for the planting of the fall garden!

  3. I love cooking by sight, smell and texture. There’s something magical about it. Alas, the only one’s sharing my garden right now are the deer!! Young buck asks “what’s for supper deer?” Doe replies “I’m taking you out for a late dinner.” “oh? Where are we going?” “Just across the river to Joss’ garden. Beet greens, spinach and pole beans. It’s an all you can eat buffet.”

    • Oh dear Joss!! Those deer. I’m so sorry that you have the plague of cloven hooved locusts on your garden.

      • I’m investigating a natural product to deter them.

      • I hope you’ll keep me posted if you find something that works Joss. So many people have deer issues. We have a 13 foot fence…that has worked so far.

      • will do.

  4. Mouthwatering, Anna! Joss… Too funny. I can totally envision that!

    • Nom Nom…stir fried up a fresh zuke and finished it off with a dollop of that yummy pesto….

      • That ties it! I’ve got a zucchini sitting here just screaming to be sautéed and slathered in pesto. Gonna go get a bunch of that lovely basil and use up some (most/all?) of my old garlic right after I hit “send”. See ya!

  5. OMG: so absolutely gorgeous looking (in it’s parts and as the sum of it’s parts; ) Even if your daughter doesn’t know right now how incredibly precious these days spent with you in the kitchen are; for sure they’ll make for some amazing memories some day far in the future… Not to mention the skills she’s learning – what a lucky girl she is (you are; ) Hugs, D.

    • Thanks Deb, from the time she was 5 years old and I handed her a (very sharp) but small santuko knife and my husband cringed, she’s loved cooking. When she was 7 she wanted to make “the whole thing mama…” and she made a full meal AND it came with a beautifully illustrated menu….ooops, I better stop now I’m feeling a heavy brag on my girl come on 😉

      • LOL! By the sound of things you deserve to lay a HEAVY brag on about your daughter and I hope she reads the blog too (’cause it’s plain even from here, how truly proud – and deservedly so – you are of your talented daughter; )

      • Deb, you are so very sweet and generous. I always appreciate your thoughtful and interesting comments 🙂

  6. I can smell the pesto all the way over here.

    • It does have a way of filling the air with wonderful-ness, no? Thanks for popping in.

  7. I love the way you are teaching your daughter all about food and cooking. Recipes are wonderful, but being able to assemble a dish on your own or view a recipe and know it will be good are true talents to pass generation to generation.

    • Yes, I recall absorbing a lot in the kitchen while my grandma cooked…my job was to stir the gravy or some other small task from the time I was very young. *fond* memories.

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