Monday, August 4, 2014

What is Even Better than Pesto?

Basil, for me, is an almost perfect plant. It's ornamental.  It smells nice.  It comes in colors - green, purple, purple and green, variegated.  Some varieties have white flowers, some purple, and one, Cardinal, even has ornamental red blooms.  

Some varieties are tall and upright.  Some mound.  Many can be grown in containers.

It's a flavoring for tomatoes, and more.  It makes wonderful pesto.  And you can make something else with it, even better than pesto.

Go out to the store and price basil.  Yes, I'll wait.  At $3.00 for a small plant with a few leaves, like the local supermarket here in upstate New York sells, you will save yourself a lot of money if you have the room to grow a few plants.

Make yourself comfy, dear reader, while I show you some basil.

This is one of the two basils I have in a container.  Pesto Perpetuo - ornamental, and culinary, with a hint of lemon.  Yes, it's a variegated light green and white.  I've grown it for some four years now, and it has never disappointed.

Here's my other container basil - Thai basil, with its beautiful purple flowers.  It's wonderful for cooking.

Sweet basil.

Spicy globe basil, bordered by two of my purple basils.

And, now for the recipe you've been waiting for.  It's a French style pesto called pistou, and it is on a blog that I love for so many reasons I can't fit them into this post.

I hope she doesn't mind if I stea copy some of the ingredients to start you off.  If you want to know how much of each, the rest of the ingredients, and the instructions, you'll just have to visit Amy's blog.

  •  garlic cloves
  •  (packed) fresh basil leaves, shredded
  •  salt
  •  olive oil
 Doesn't that sound good?  Doesn't that make you want to grab your blender, and run to the garden? (And, about that "smell o'blog" blog plug in I keep threatening to invent...)

Because it doesn't have nuts in it, pistou is a bit more Weight Watchers friendly than "regular" pesto, too-for me and my spouse, a bonus. (we'll have to play with the recipe some though.)

So...ready to pistou?  I am!


  1. I love pesto and almost always use pine nuts when I make pesto, because I like them! I didn't know I was actually making pistou the time I was out of pine nuts! I like to toast the pine nuts first and add them in at the very end so they don't get completely ground up and lost in the mix.

    Yesterday for lunch I made sandwiches with grilled zucchini, tomato slices, fresh mozzarella, basil leaves, and balsamic dressing. They were good, but a little bland. I think a nice schmear of pesto would have added some good flavor!

    I like all of your varieties. The purple is gorgeous. I'll have to go beyond my usual row of sweet basil in the garden next year!

  2. I like pesto as a pizza topping,its quite tasty when combined with chicken...

  3. Certainly looks like an easy recipe and I like easy! Thanks.

  4. I love basil. I will have to grow some next year. And I've already copy Amy's recipe!


  5. Oh. Oh. Oh. SEE, now THIS is exactly why YOU are my favorite, Alana! Thank you so much for the mention. You're such a sweetheart. And a basil lover, like me! I have a question for you: what would you do with a large amount of licorice basil?? I planted gobs of it and now it's ready and I haven't come up with anything brilliant to do with it. Again, thank you so much, my dear friend!

  6. Alana, pistou, yum! I must try it! Plus, you've inspired me to look for other varieties of basil. I had a small Thai basil plant, but it didn't take to the Feng Shui Garden :-(. Thanks for a wonderful piece full of inspiration! Now I'm hungry and must go create dinner using some basil.


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