Friday, October 2, 2009

The end of balcony basil, the beginning of two great Pesto feasts

While we moved into our Arlington condo last fall, this was our first season as balcony gardeners. We started slowly with a mini herb garden of basil, rosemary, and parsley, and were delighted with a bumper crop of basil. (Note this basil needed water and pruning just about every other day -- so not low maintenance, but excellent to have on hand all summer)

As we slipped from summer into fall this past week we noticed that our basil plants would soon suffer from the cold and wanted to take advantage of their bounty.

So we turned to one of our favorite cookbook authors -- Ina Garten (aka the Barefoot Contessa). Her pesto recipe ( is delicious, calls for 5 packed cups of basil (yes this is a lot, but worth it) and the addition of walnuts to round out the flavor. And voila, 8 ingredients processed with the help of a Cuisinart food processer and the sacrifice of our basil, the perfect pesto is complete (and you will see below, our basil is finished).

The two plants yielded two batches, so while we enjoyed one right away, we will get to fondly remember our basil later this fall when we take the other batch out of the freezer. I recommend linguini (whole wheat or regular works fine) and some freshly grated Parmesan to round out the dish.

B & I completed our meal the right way with a fall fruit tart from Quail Creek Farms ( and while your at this website scroll to the bottom and check out their holiday items for pre-order - yum!), that we picked up at the Arlington Farmer's market that morning.

Their tarts, while a bit pricey at $5.25 per slice, our splendid -- creamy custard, flavorful crust and really fresh fruit including my favorite fall fruit -- figs (which always make me want to be back in Sonoma this time of year when figs are sold on the honor system on the side of the road... but I digress).

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