Rain and wind, cool nights and shorter days, fall is officially here. However, this weeks share has a lingering summer flavor. You will notice a sampling of cucumbers, summer squash, tomatoes and basil. Unfortunately all of these crops hate cool, wet weather. The squash and cukes tend to get powdery mildew this time of year, while the tomatoes inevitably get blight and the basil turns a decrepit black from some other deathly disease.
In short, this may be the last you see of these veggies, which is why with regards to the basil, you get the whole plant. Hopefully this means a batch of pesto is in your future.
I found this very basic pesto recipe at www.epicurious.com. I have substituted pine-nuts with walnuts and left out the Parmesan for my lactose intolerant friends and it always turns out great. However, I also like to add in a little fresh squeezed lemon juice to give a little extra kick and prevent rapid oxidation of the basil. I might even add in those beet greens if I didn't have enough basil.
- 4 cups packed fresh basil leaves, washed well
- 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted until golden, cooled, and chopped fine
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan (about 1 1/2 ounces)
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil