Pesto: It’s Easy Being Green and a Summer Update from Parade

Can it really be the halfway point of summer? We are trying to hit all the items on our checklist of things to do for summer vacation.

Trips to the zoo, the beach, ice cream from the ice cream man when he stops by after dinner and the days of outdoor camp.

It has been a good season so far for farmers who are reporting good results for crops of corn, blueberries and peaches. This weekend we plan to grill some pork chops with a salsa of those blueberries and peaches that are at their peak.

The sweet juices of the ripe fruit pair so well with the smoky flavor of the pork chops cooked on the grill.

All you need for a salsa is some fresh fruit, some tartness of a sliced red onion, extra-virgin olive oil and a splash of red wine vinegar and a handful of chopped herbs.

All the herbs are exploding right now so it is the perfect time for pesto which can be tossed with pasta or top grilled meat or vegetables.

Pesto is traditionally made with a generous bunch of fresh basil, chopped garlic, pignolia nuts, grated parmesan placed in a food processor, or blender, and mixed together as a stream of extra-virgin olive oil is added in as the motor of the appliance runs.

Feel free to play with variations. The guys around here prefer using almonds in pesto, in plain form, or lightly toasted. They also like a combination of herbs instead of an all-basil mix. We throw in some thyme, chives and a hint of oregano along with the basil leaves.

When tender herbs are mixed in the food processor, or blender, they receive residual heat from the motor as it grinds the herbs into tiny specks. That heat will dull the bright green color of the herbs which is the appealing trait of the pesto.

In order to keep the green color of the herbs add a few bits of ice cubes to the pesto before pressing the button of the appliance.

The super-cold temperature of the ice cubes straight from the freezer will keep the pesto from warming due to the heat of the motor of the appliance running and will retain the green color of the pesto with the herbs.

Make sure to use the freshest herbs you can in a pesto. If you are not growing herbs, and getting them from the farmers’ market, store your basil in a glass of cool water on the counter. Other herbs can be placed in a plastic bag with a slightly moist paper towel in the refrigerator.

Check out some of my most recent posts over at Parade to keep your summer vibe humming along. Enjoy!


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