Pesto Party


Dear Readers,

I get many of my seeds, particularly herbs and things that might fall in to the “vegetable” category, from Johnny’s Seeds. The quality of the seeds is awesome, plus the pictures are really enticing, which is how I ended up with a packet of Johnny’s “Basil Bouquet Mix.” Here’s what it says in the description:

A colorful and aromatic selection of specialty basils.

Johnny’s mix of specialty basils includes lemon, Christmas, Thai, and purple types. Versatile culinary uses include garnishes, salads, stir-fries, and other specialty dishes. Varieties subject to change. Avg. 19,000 seeds/oz. Packet: 200 seeds.

Even as seedlings, the little basil plants look totally different. I think I’ve made at least ten different pestos this summer, the basil completely changing the flavor, color, and sometimes even texture. At the top of this post, see a picture of the little basil seedlings that I took this morning (note how different they are from each other). Because of the ambiguity in the Johnny’s description, I either Google a picture of the kind of basil I am using, or I make Mystery Pesto.

My favorites so far are cinnamon basil, which makes a spicy kind of pesto. It has so much pungent oil in its leaves that it almost makes me feel nauseous when I eat it raw. I also love lemon basil because you can smell it across the room. There’s a basil that has both purple and green in its leaves– I think it’s Aromatto basil. Osmin basil is almost black, it’s so purple, and the leaves are shiny, making it look more like an exotic weed than a basil plant.

Point being, I am super into basil varieties, and I highly recommend trying some of them out yourselves! They are easy to grow, and have both anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. And they smell good.

My pesto recipe:

Two huge handfuls of basil leaves- the more, the better!

One generous dollop of olive oil

Three cloves of garlic


Small handful of cashews

Small handful of pecans

Food process all ingredients; add olive oil if needed to thin the pesto, add broccoli stem if you want to thicken it.

Laura Beth


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