It's late July and after a long spring here in the northwest, local produce is finally getting a move on! Shawn's mother Vicki and his stepfather Jim, have a beautiful piece of property scattered with fresh herbs, vegetables, fruit trees, flowers and grape vines. It's a little piece of paradise. You instantly relax when you arrive.
I brought my camera along with the intent to document some of my favourite things in Vicki's garden. A bit of photography practice for the photography challenged! I was also fortunate to leave with a big bag of fresh garlic and basil. You'll find the recipe for my Basil Pesto at the bottom of the post.
Enjoy the pictures. I hope they bring a bit of the beautiful Rogue Valley to your home. :)
|English Ivy, wild Wine Grapes and tall Maple Trees create a secret hideaway down by the stream.|
|Fresh Garlic right from the ground - boy are we lucky!|
|Picture Perfect Pears :)|
|Lemon Balm - Vicki has giant bushes of this everywhere.|
|Patty Pan Squash|
|Sunflowers - Do they make you as happy as they make me?|
|Tomatoes - Just a little more heat and they'll be ready to go!|
|Fragrant Sweet Peas|
|Wild Wine Grapes!! We don't know the varietal yet - we'll have to check back in the fall.|
|Cacti Blossoms - A gorgeous plant you wouldn't expect.|
|Shawn and nephew Wade picking apples :)|
|Apples - Just begging to be picked|
|Fields of Lavender|
Fresh Basil, bagged and ready to be taken home to make pesto! Without pine nuts that is. Pine nuts are like gold. Their price per ounce is ridiculous! I use either cashews or almonds and believe me, you won't notice the difference. The peppery basil and fragrant garlic are the stars of this pesto!
Basil Pesto without Pine Nuts
- 2 cups of fresh basil
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 cup of almonds or cashews
- 1 tbsp of lemon juice
- 1/2 to 2/3 cup of olive oil (I use canola....gasp! I know! But it's cheaper and we still think the pesto is delicious)
- 1/2 cup of grated aged parmesan cheese
- *salt and pepper to taste (optional - I get enough salt from the nuts)
- Add basil, garlic, lemon juice, and nuts to a food processor. Pulse until chopped. While pulsing, pour the 1/2 cup of oil into the opening at the top of the food processor slowly. Process until smooth and all ingredients are fully incorporated. I always start with just a 1/2 cup of oil and add more gradually if the pesto needs it.
- Add the cheese and pulse 1 or 2 times for a few seconds.
- Serve on top of pasta, fresh bread (sandwiches) or pizza dough (pesto pizza). Remember with pesto - a little goes a long way :)