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Walnut Pesto

You know how it’s nearly impossible to ever have just one potato chip, or just one M&M? The term slippery slope must have been coined from this very dilemma. One turns awfully quick to two, three, and then whooops, that once full bag is suspiciously empty. At this point, I’m usually quietly looking around to see how swiftly and inconspicuously I can bury the evidence.

The other night this precise scenario took place, not with a bag of chips or M&M’s, but with a batch of homemade walnut pesto.  I had my first bite of walnut pesto at a local Island restaurant where its served alongside a heavenly antipasto plate.  Walnut pesto is the more laid back, country cousin of the traditional pesto. Walnuts are not as fancy (or pricey) as pine nuts, and they leave their own distinctive crunchy mark behind.

Being such a long time pesto fanatic, I am happy to report I may never have to buy another bag of pine nuts again. This walnut pesto is dangerously addictive and my new favorite.  Perfect in sandwiches or with pasta, though I love it best on its own – smeared on thin slivers of a toasted baguette.  Lethal stuff, I tell ya.  And it’s a little harder to bury the evidence when there’s an empty glass jar involved.

walnut-pesto

WALNUT PESTO
Kiss My Spatula’s version of the walnut pesto from the Four Swallows

Walnuts can be stored up to 6 months in a sealed air tight container in the refrigerator. They can go rancid very quickly when left in warm conditions.

Music Pairing: Selfish Jean, Travis

Ingredients

  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves, rinsed and dried
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 4 tbsp freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
  • 1/4 cup good extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • big squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

Pulse together basil and walnuts in a food processor (I used my mini one for this batch – easy clean up – but feel free to double the recipe if you’re in need of a bigger batch). Add garlic and olive oil. Pulse again. Add cheese, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Pulse until just blended. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula and pulse a few more times. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator. Add more olive oil before serving, if taken straight from the fridge.

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Lunch was on the horizon and hunger was setting in after a long morning toiling in the garden pulling weeds, amending soil, pruning, mulching, composting and planting new perennials.  Yes, this is what you do when you live in the countryside on a Sunday morning.  Get smelly and filthy dirty!  Not so long ago, Sunday mornings consisted of waiting in line at the hottest local brunch haven in the city and then slowly proceeding home for a long cat-nap.  I must admit, I really don’t mind digging and being knee-deep in the earth’s soil.  In fact, I quite love it.  For me, it’s good for the soul.

view-from-deck

However, on this particular day, I did know something even better for the soul.  The second batch of homemade mozzarella had been taunting us for hours and the basil in the garden was calling its name.  That’s right, what else could it be but a light, refreshing caprese salad layered with fresh homemade mozzarella, juicy tomatoes, fresh basil straight from the garden, plenty of good olive oil, sprinkled with some salt and freshly ground pepper.  No recipe – just some lightweight assembly.

caprese-salad

Served outside under a sunny afternoon sky with a cold, tall glass of raspberry lemonade and views of the sparkling blue water and sailboats passing by sure beats standing in line for anything.  Even if you are smelly and dirty.

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