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Summer Time Flavor

📷Even though it has been really hot so far this year and we have had very little rain there is still a great deal of fresh herbs and produce to be had and one thing this time of year that always inspires me is fresh basil.  I absolutely love basil and it can be used for so many things in Italian cooking.  I grow a mix of a lot of different basil's that I use to make our fresh pesto.  All of the basil plants I have are from my good friends at Heritage Cottage Urban Nano Farm in Ocean Springs,MS.   They are one of my neighbors every week at the Ocean Springs Fresh Market.     I have a mix of sweet basil, Thai basil, lemon basil and lime basil.  I love all of them for different reasons.  They all grow equally well together as one big happy family. They also blend well together when you are making a basil pesto. ( I will say though that the lemon basil is a great compliment to just about any fish dish but we will get to that on another day.)     Today I would love to share a great recipe for basil pesto with you and your lovely basil plants.  Hopefully everyone has at least one.  I promise it is the flavor of summer and it pairs so well with another one of my summer favorites TOMATOES!!! We will absolutely have tons of recipes for tomatoes coming up this summer also. For now please enjoy the basil and great the pesto recipe and if you don't have any basil or just don't want to make pesto yourself you can always come see me on Saturday morning at the Ocean Springs Fresh Market where I will be happy to sell you a jar of my own.  We are there every Saturday (rain or shine) from 9:00 to 1:00.  Hope to see you soon.

Ciao Bella

Chef Danie's Basil Pesto 1 lb fresh basil (any variety) 2 cloves fresh garlic 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 3 T toasted pinenuts 1/8 c fresh grated parmesan cheese salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor add garlic cloves that have been peeled and pulse until finely chopped.  Add basil leaves (flowers can also be added but not the stems) and pulse until finely chopped.  Add parmesan and pinenuts and pulse again.  Then while the processor is on add extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper.  Blend well and then store in an airtight container. 

You may find it is just cheaper to buy it from me.  This can get quite costly to make unless you just have an excess of those beautiful basil plants.

This pesto is great to use on a sandwich or to use on saute shrimp.  It is also great to top fish or chicken with but on movie night at home it is great to put on top of warmed cream cheese and serve it with crackers or a fresh loaf of Italian bread. YUM!!

Posted 28th June 2011 by Chef Danie

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