Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Monday, September 12, 2011

What to do when overwhelmed by life's circumstances.

First you have to plant some Basil in the spring. So that by September you can go out into the garden and pick enough to make some delicious PESTO.
You shake off the beetles, wormy things, spiders and such. Come inside and pinch off the leaves until you have  about 4 cups of them. Then you rinse them well and drain them in a colander with paper towels in it.
Then you take a DEEP breath. Breath in the wonderful fragrance. Oh, that aroma...
Then put them in the refrigerator for a few hours... or overnight. You want them fairly dry...not full of water.

Now you get out the old blender,or a food processor, which I don't have.
A processor would probably be easier.
Collect some olive oil, Parmesan cheese and a lot'a garlic...
Some Pine Nuts, from Costco, with the recipe on the back...
A cup of parsley that I use with the basil. Cut with scissors. Use only the leaves. This adds good flavor and fills in if you're a little short on the basil.
Then mix it all together according to the recipe. Add a little more olive oil if you need to.
And take another DEEP breath. Oh, doesn't that smell divine.

Don't add any salt or pepper. I do that when I use the Pesto, later on, for pasta or chicken, or ...yum... sliced pieces of toasted sourdough french bread. I also add about a half teaspoon of lemon juice to the batch. This keeps the color light and lovely.
Find some cute jars ... These were kind of pricey. There were four glass bottles with lids for about $7.00 at Raleys, but I give these as gifts so I like them and they are ITALIAN... what else can I say.
Any pretty jar will do if it has a good tight lid.
Wash and dry the containers and lids. This should be done ahead of time.
Take one last DEEP breath...
Load the jars with the Pesto mixture, leaving about an inch for expansion in the freezer and seal them up.
They don't have to be processed if you are freezing them.
Very easy and beautiful...
I doubled the recipe and got three full bottles and a forth one about 3/4 filled.
Now they are in the freezer and ready for winter gifts ....or winter dinners.
If they are gifts, you can cut 4 1/2" by 4 1/2" squares of fabric from your shelf of "What will I do with all this fabric I bought because it was so pretty and never use." stash and use pinking shears to cut them out. Cover the lids and tie them with a pretty ribbon or twine.
Just remember that a gift you make means more than anything you could buy.
A bottle of wine, a loaf of bread and you, PESTO, beside me... in a basket. Oh yes!
I could make a meal of just this... No wonder I never lose weight.
Oh, wait a minute. This is suppose to be a gift isn't it?
So.. let's put it all in a basket and give it to someone.

It does a person good to plant their own food, even if it's only tomatoes and basil...
Why would I say "only"? They are the mainstay of our summer diet. Our passion in the Winter.
My Italian grandmother always said "Pomodori e basilico...Ciò è così buona "(This is so good.). It's true! My grandmother would do all this in very small batches with a mortar and pestle but I think she would have loved a processor.
Remember... anyone can plant a small garden... in pots.  You do need a sunny place.
Uncle Sam thinks so...
I live on 42 acres and the basil, parsley and tomatoes all grow in pots near the house.
It's just easier that way.

Now, take a DEEP breath and continue on....

Buon Apetite


  1. My mother always cooked her way out of a crisis. It was a big part of growing up, knowing this about my mother. I have found myself doing it, too. It's calming, isn't it? It's a good way to get through to the other side of a sadness or a problem....

  2. Connie, I could smell the aroma all the way here to Alabama. Your post brought back many great memories when my mom cooked. Being Italian she was one wonderful cook. I only wish she would have taken the time to teach me. We had some good tomatoes again this year, but they are gone now. Have a blessed evening. Madeline

  3. smells divine...and I know I'm feeling less stressed!! Hope you are too..take care Farmlady.

  4. waving his hand....if you need someone to give it to i can help...smiles. sounds lovely....

  5. We'd make a great team. I CLEAN my way out of a crisis because I don't cook. This post sounds as foreign to me as your Mom's Italian.

    I also declutter. I purge. Throw away. It's a control thing. You're in control cooking and me cleaning.

    Yep...you cook, we'll eat, I'll clean :)

  6. I have two very large basil plants that I use constantly when cooking for my seniors. I think I need to make some pesto. I could live on pasta with cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, parmesan cheese, garlic and olive oil...and a giant loaf of rosemary garlic bread. Yep, doesn't make dropping those pesky pounds easy, does it? Oh well. Some things in life just need to be put on the back burner for awhile.

  7. ...then...you cut small tomatoes, lemons and oranges into very very thin slices, set the oven at 200 or lower, place the slices on cookie sheets (parchment underneath), drizzle the pesto on top of each slice (I know more work, but worth it!) and slow cook them till they begin to turn to leather.

    Afterward let them sit out over night, so any moisture is removed. Place tomatoes into jars and cover with white balsamic vinegar and olive oil and seal. Lemons and oranges just get put into air tight containers.

    Use these to eat or chop up for bruschetta or in sauces. They even go well in tossed pasta with a bit more pesto!

    My blog friend Rachel came into town from the UK and we were just talking about this last night! I love my blog friends and my foods like this...they and it will love you back...

  8. It wasn't hot enough here this year because of our late summer so I am GREEN with envy...much like the colour of your pesto...hopefully I will find someone who was smart enough to plant some in the greenhouse. Yum.

  9. Love home made pesto Farmlady. I don't use parsley, & I use pecorino rather than parmesan & sometimes lime juice if I have no lemons.
    it's all good!

  10. LOL! I'm always wishing I could pick up my brand new grandbaby right through the computer screen, and NOW I'm wishing I could smell that wonderful aroma right through the glass! I hadn't thought of doing PESTO - what a wonderful idea! Thank you for inspiring me.


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