July 7, 2017

Hickory Hill Farm - First Harvest...

Fresh Basil Pesto
 
Remember the word I chose as my word for 2017? (It's over there in the right sidebar.) See it? It's Balance.

It seems, in retrospect, that I had more difficulty maintaining balance when we were in Florida. This time of year found me mostly in my studio to avoid the sweltering heat of subtropic summers. Such is not the case in Wisconsin. In fact, I have to smile when someone tells me that it's "so hot today". I know what hot is, and hot in Wisconsin is not hot by Florida standards.

At any rate, I now find myself dividing my time between indoors and out, family and studio. I'm finding the balance I've been seeking, and it's really wonderful. Take yesterday, for instance.

I was up by 6 am (I'm usually a night owl, but find myself turning in earlier here at the farm), and finished my first cup of coffee, fed the pups and was outside by 7. I decided to harvest some of the fresh basil in my little kitchen garden to make pesto. (Handsome had appointments today that took him away from home.)
 
Fresh Basil Pesto Ingredients
 
I went online over the weekend and found a recipe that I liked, so I made sure to have all the ingredients handy for today. The recipe is from Simply Recipes, found HERE. I usually have most of the ingredients in our pantry, but I wanted to have fresh Parmesan/Reggiano cheese to grate myself, and a couple new jars of pine nuts.

Fresh Basil From My Garden

I pulled my large Cuisinart™ food processor out and began the process with fresh harvested, rinsed basil. I made two batches of pesto, which yielded the four half-pint jars shown in my first image. (The recipe calls for 2 cups of fresh basil for each batch. I have plenty left in the garden, but didn't want to stress my plants by harvesting too much this time.)

Last night, we had tenderloin steaks on the grill and a fresh dinner salad. I served the steak with a side of pesto, and I was quite pleased with our new condiment. I'm looking forward to trying it on fresh bruscetta next. We'll have family visiting on the weekend, so I'll serve it then to our guests.

After I finished making the pesto, cleaning up the kitchen and starting laundry, I managed to process my outstanding orders for shipment and spend a couple of hours in the studio before Handsome returned home from his appointments. We made dinner and spent our evening together. I'm getting my life into balance...and I like it!

EDIT: I posted images of my jars of pesto on Facebook yesterday. I was asked if these jars underwent a canning process for preservation. They did not. I then did a little research to see if there was a recommended process for preserving the pesto long-term. 

From what I found, the only best long-term storage option is to freeze the pesto in ice cube trays, then transfer it to ziplok bags with more oil added to avoid freezer burn. It was also suggested to leave the grated cheese out until it's thawed for use. Should last up to a year that way. 

I hope this helps anyone who might consider making the pesto, and wonders about how to keep it tasting fresh longer.

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C Reeder PhxAz said...

Good info - it just never lasts that long at my house!!!

Createology said...

Balance is not easy and yet you are truly finding what is just right for you Sweet Donna. Your Basil Pesto looks delicious and I am certain it would also be so yummy on pizza and pasta and even fresh heirloom tomatoes. Thank you for sharing your recipe and storage tips. My tiny basil plant croaked in our not normal triple digit heat. 102F in the shade yesterday and hotter today I am told. Oy Vey! I shall be staying indoors. Balance Blessings Dear...<3

Kris said...

Good for you on the balance issue!! It IS hard to find balance and it sounds like you are well on your way!! I was one of the ones that asked about the canning process. Thank you for taking the time to research the topic! My basil will be ready in a week or so and since it is just me right now, I think freezing will be the answer!!

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