It’s pesto season!


This week has been crazy busy at work and little time was left for food prep or writing.  My share consisted of: cabbage, carrots, green beans, scallions, tomatoes, basil, dill, cilantro, basil, flowers, jalapenos, summer squash, 2 types of lettuce, plus cherries, blue berries and onions purchased at the produce stand. Plus, this week my friend Barb generously gave me blueberries, raspberries, and garlic fresh from her garden. (A blueberry or raspberry just hours from being picked is one of summer’s best treats.)
Making pesto is relaxing, so bail became  walnut-basil pesto. On my deck are more basil plants waiting for their time on my cutting board.   Some of the pesto will be frozen  and some will be gifts. (Traditional pesto with pine nuts and a pesto with a Meyer lemon olive oil).   When preparing the pesto forgo the blender and use a cutting board and knife.  Stack the basil leaves, roll somewhat tightly, cut into ribbons/chiffonade, and then chop into smaller pieces. Chop the nuts and garlic, add to chopped basil and place in a mixing bowl. Grate parmesan cheese, stir, and olive oil a bit at a time stirring to incorporate the olive oil until you have your desired consistency.  Preparing basil this way yields a much better tasting pesto. Love it, love it, and love it.
On the menu for the week: slaw with tomatoes, slaw with cilantro, baked beans (onions and jalapenos) For my contribution to a BBQ meal  the onions and jalapenos went into baked beans, and blueberries and raspberries were made into single-fruit sauces for ice cream.  Half of the cabbage sits awaiting final disposition into pickled cabbage and a freezer slaw. 
The carrots and some onion were combined with parsnips and celery and herbs for a beef stock. This year I opted to oven roast the veggies and shin bone in hopes the stock will have an even better-than-normal flavor.  The cost of homemade stock can be more expensive than off-the-shelf stock. The cost breakdown $28 for about 7 pounds of bone and meat, $8 for the vegetables, and the herbs cost is unknown. . About four quarts of stock were obtained ($8 per quart) and one quart of stock is used for each soup. The average soup recipe yields about 6 servings, adding 1.33 to the cost of each of those servings. Keeping the cost of other ingredients low, the soup probably is less than what I can purchase off the shelf, but with increased flavor, no chemical preservatives, and no salt.  
Next up:  how best to use the lettuce.
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