Thursday, October 01, 2009

Garden Bounty 2009: Boring Pesto

Last week, I harvested my pitiful basil crop. We'd had two frosts and I figured it was time. Why was it pitiful? Well, for some reason, basil doesn't grow well for me. It's always stunted and pale, and this year, since it's been a bumper season for insects such as ear wigs, ants, and other nasty creatures, my basil was rather munched on and browned. I don't know if I'll grow it again; last year's wasn't stellar, either.

So, I salvaged what I could. I decided to make some pesto, since I really like having it on hand for things such as a quick pasta dish, a nice roasted chicken breast, sandwiches, and I've even put it in bread!

I got about a cup of basil leaves, which I bathed & patted dry. I stuck them in my food processor with lots of garlic, some Parmesan cheese, and a handful of pine nuts. As this whizzed away, I drizzled in olive oil until I got a nice, pesto-y consistency.

I tasted the pesto and it was good. Yet, later on that day, when I added it to some penne & shrimp, it was bland. My pesto lacked punch! WTF? Because my basil was pale - not a nice dark, lush green - I got a paler pesto. I suspect my basil was just lacking in punch in general, and hence my pesto was flat.

But, all is not lost! This will still be tasty on sandwiches and on chicken. I got about a cup of pesto in the end, and I will certainly be using it sparingly over the next little while.

10 comments:

Coleen's Recipes said...

I'm glad to hear I am not the only one who has trouble with growing basil. Mine was big and lush and then (it seems like overnight) the leaves had big bug holes...Grrrrr!!

Palidor said...

My sister managed to grow a bumper crop of basil! But her tomato plants died a horrid death - too much rain here this summer. Have you tried making fried rice with pesto?

highlandsranchfoodie said...

I hear ya. I've never had good luck with basil. I don't know what I do wrong. But I keep planting, year...after dissappointing year.

A Year on the Grill said...

An herb garden is one of my goals for next year. Have not decided if it's an inhouse window garden or clay pots in the back yard, but I know even less about this than I do about cooking so a possible tip posting in a few months would be welcome.

Do most of you real cooks grow their own herbs?

Cathy said...

I find basil is really hit and miss.....I've had years where it tastes great and years where it is bland....

Bob said...

I can't grow basil for crap, it's very frustrating. You know, I've never made my own pesto. I really need to.

Xiaolu said...

Sorry it went all bland on ya. You should try making pesto with Thai basil. It really packs a punch.

Shelly W said...

I had the exact problem with basil this year. Last year's crop was great, and this year's was puny and sad. Really irritating! Look like you definitely made the best of it, though, with your delicious pasta!

Cinnamon Girl aka Reeni♥ said...

I love pesto!! I'm sorry your's is kind of boring! All of my herbs did horrible this year. I like pesto on grilled cheese, so yummy.

Chris said...

Sorry about your basil. Our tomatoes sucked arse this year but basil? Wow, it grew out of the ying yang for us this year. We're ready to make basil ice cubes for stretching it through the winter.

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