The most delightful part of our garden is our herbs. We grow only a few--basil, parsley and cilantro. But wow, do they go into a lot of what we create.
And worry not, bella, because if you like them, too, these herbs are inexpensive to buy in the store.
Today, we make a nice little repast, gloriously lead by basil, parsley, garlic and good Italian olive oil.
What is it?
Why, your own pesto!
In a blender (in order of appearance here), stack 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves. Tear them off the stem, cara. Same with 1 cup of parsley. Add in 1/2 c. of olive oil. 2 large cloves of chopped garlic. And 1/3 c. freshly grated parmesan. (Add pine nuts if you like, but they are expensive and I tend to skip them.) Blend! Pour into a glass jar, freshly washed, and then refrigerate.
For your afternoon delight, buy a good bottle of valpolicella, a red from the eastern areas near Venice. Also, buy a few Italian salumes like hard salami, cotto and if you like prosciutto, all sliced very thinly.
Then buy a package of cherry tomatoes, good mozzarella in a chunk. Cut up the cheese into cubes. Alternate a tomato with a piece of cheese. Add green and yellow or orange pepper slices for drama. Arrange on a plate and serve atop a light dusting of fresh greens, toothpick edge fanned out so that you can pick them up easily. Drizzle all with your fresh pesto. (Use the rest of your pesto as a base for your own salad dressing, and for a rich addition to chicken dishes, close to the end of cooking so that you do not brown the herbs!)
Serve with your red wine and selection of sliced salumes.
Be sure to save your greens--and toss with a full salad later.
But for your air today, buy a candle of lime or lemon. The aroma is fresh and will complement the strong flavors of your pesto.
CIAO, my darlings! Until next Thursday, be well, eat heartily and live long!
(copyright 2009, Cerise DeLand)