Tomatoes, Cubanella Peppers and Basil
The first tomato harvest of the year! What a difference a little, well a lot, of sun makes. Growing tomatoes in my home garden has been tough because my side yard gets limited sun and my patio container garden gets about half of a days worth of sun. My community garden plot, on the other hand, gets full sun all day. The difference in production is amazing. My tomatoes at home are growing slowly but still green. The tomatoes in the community garden plot are growing like crazy and turning red in half the time. The cubanelle peppers could have grown a bit bigger but I could not wait (well, Calvin would not wait). So we picked them. We also harvested more basil (there types as shown in the photo above) and created our second batch of pesto. (See earlier post for recipe.)
Can’t wait for the tomato production to get to the levels that I can start canning as we go rather than do the summer end canning with purchased tomatoes. My plan is to can only the community garden tomatoes and combine them with the weekly Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) delivery. Maybe, just maybe, there will be enough tomatoes to make and can spaghetti sauce too! Woo hoo! Well, I better not get ahead of myself…..
Purple Basil Pre-Pesto
This evening we went to the community garden plot to plant our newly acquired rhubarb, thyme, chamomile and catnip (for Hagrid the cat who hardly deserves it given his escapades during my tomato seedling season). While there, I decided it was time to whip up a batch of pesto using the purple leaved basil that was growing strong in the plot. After harvesting an appropriate amount of fragrant leaves, we headed home.
After dinner, Calvin and I turned to our favorite recipe and got to work. Calvin loves to make pesto because he loves to eat pesto. It is that simple. Plus he enjoys sneaking bits of the parmesan cheese and walnuts as the pesto making process moves along.
Presto! The season’s first pesto!
Purple Basil Pesto by Colette and Calvin
Here is our favorite recipe from Simply Recipes (http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/fresh_basil_pesto/)
Fresh Basil Pesto Recipe
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
- 3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Special equipment needed: A food processor
1 Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.
2 Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Makes 1 cup.
Serve with pasta, or over baked potatoes, or spread over toasted baguette slices.