There is so much going on in the garden it is hard to write a post on a recipe instead of the daily harvest. But I have to at least show you some tomato photos before I start picking them. I feel guilty for maligning my tomato plants so badly. Despite the unavoidable blight, they have produced many large fruits. I have this beautiful Paul Robeson on my kitchen windowsill that I’ve been watching turn from nearly green to purple (don’t you love the montage? The Virgin Mary that S. Lois gave me, the Robeson and the mutant cherry which I choose to see as having a big nose and furry eyebrows/glasses so get your mind out of the gutter).
The Paul Robeson plants in the garden (this is not one of those) are just loaded with fruit. The last time I planted one I received exactly two tomatoes.
And I always plant one giant beefsteak with a great name like “Mortgage Lifter” or “Boxcar Charlie.” This one has a more mundane name I can’t remember or find in my files! Anyway, it grows big tomatoes! We’ve eaten the first giant sliced on sandwiches and it was delicious. Now we’re just waiting for the heat promised to come next week to work its ripening magic.
OK. On to the pesto.
This is how menu development works in my house. Today, a great gadget arrived, a spiral cutter, recommended by a reader of the blog, one of Steve’s former students at Cathedral High School, Alisha Kirchoff. She recommended it on the zucchini post and I had this Amazon gift card from my birthday, so…
So it arrived. And it is German. See the great motto? “Nur Essen machen oder Kochkunst?” I love German because, basically, why say something in two words when you can use three or four? A literal translation is: “Only food make or cooking-art?” Who wants to make food when you can make culinary art?
I started spiraling everything, of course. (My assessment is that it works best on zucchini. If you had large carrots, that would also be good. But it produced a lot of waste with my stubby carrots and fingerling potatoes, because you can’t push those little guys through without shredding your finger [the finger guard is useless]).
Since we had salmon in the fridge, I was thinking Asian. I have lots of Thai basil in the garden, and haven’t done much with it besides throw it in herb mixes or stir fries. But wouldn’t it be great to coat these veggie noodles with a Thai basil pesto?
I love the internet. Love, love, love. Because in seconds I had a recipe for Thai basil pesto. I wish I’d spent more time looking through them, but I was hungry, so I went with the first one that had things in it that made sense– and didn’t make you scroll through the Chinese text first.
I also have not been attending to my kale. So I served the salmon on a bed of garlic/sesame-oil sauteed kale. With the pesto, the zucchini was by far the best. The carrots and potatoes were just too different a texture and not “noodle-like.” (I’ll spiral carrots in the future for salad and the potatoes for fries.) Also, this pesto would be amazing on soba noodles or spaghetti. I’ll give you the recipe with a few variations I’m going to try next time. And now I can make batches of this and freeze it as well!
Thai Basil Pesto
1 1/2 cup loosely packed Thai basil
1/3 cup raw peanuts (I used dry roasted, which other recipes call for. Any nuts will work, but peanuts make it more like Pad Thai)
1/2 tsp chili oil (I put in 1/4 tsp of Sambal Oelek chili paste and that gave it a good kick without overwhelming the other flavors. You could also use a fresh chili.)
1 tsp sesame oil
1 clove garlic
1 half-inch piece ginger
lime juice (some recipes also call for fish sauce… I left it out)
4 tsp oil (Peanut oil would be best. I just poured in vegetable oil at the end until it was the right consistency)
Blend all the ingredients except the oil in a food processor. Drizzle in oil while processing until it is the consistency you want.