Walnut, Pumpkin Seed and Lemon Pesto
I now hate blog posts that begin by talking about a particular season and how it makes the writer want to eat.
Fall is in the air so naturally I turn to soup.
I now hate blog posts that begin by talking about geographic place and how it makes the writer want to eat.
Here in the Pacific Northwest we love our salmon.
I now hate blog posts that begin by complaining about family members and how it keeps the writer from eating what she wants to eat.
I love kale, giant piles of kale. But when I’m cooking for the kids and hubby kale is just off the table.
So, how in the world am I supposed to figure out how to start this blog post? Or any blog post for that matter? You take away season, place and family and what are you left with? I’m not quite sure, but I can tell you one thing: I’m pledging to figure out a different way. And while we’re at it, I’m also pledging to stop saying delicious. Because when you think about it, as a descriptive word, delicious really doesn’t say anything about food.
PHEW! Glad I got all that off my chest. Now let’s get down to business.
I have a real love/hate relationship with the CSA we belong to. I think it’s common. When you sign up everything is exciting and you can’t wait to get your first box. Then your first box arrives and it happens to coincide with a week where you’re extra busy at work so you can’t quite get around to cooking all the stuff in the box. Then before you know it the second week sneaks up while the first week’s greens are rotting away in the fridge and what in the hell are you supposed to do now? It goes on and on until finally you get a handle on it: you get the box, you go through the box. You save what you know you’ll cook. You give the rest to your neighbor or your officemate or you just plop it down on the breakroom table with a note reading “someone please save us.”
It took me five weeks this year to figure out the CSA dance. And now I’m on it. Nothing wasted, nothing unnecessarily composted, nothing even sacrificed to the break room table. I’ve got us eating eggplant three times a week and loving it (although I can’t wait for eggplant season to wrap up!)
One thing we seem to have a literal too-much-of-a-good-thing-is-too-much situation on our hands with is basil. So much basil. Pounds and pounds of basil.
So much basil that I now have a freezer literally stockpiled with pesto. Of various varieties. For all our pesto needs pretty much all year long. All the pesto for all the days.
Our favorite of the pestos of the Great Basil Flood of 2013 is one made with walnuts and pumpkin seeds.
Here’s how you make it:
Walnut, Pumpkin Seed and Lemon Pesto
Makes approximately 6 cups
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 3-4 big cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
- zest and juice of one good sized lemon
- 7 1/2 well-packed cups basil leaves
- 2 cups best quality olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
Make the pesto:
- Dump the walnuts and pumpkin seeds into the bowl of your food processor. Add the garlic and the lemon zest and juice. Turn on the food processor and let all this good stuff whirl around until it turns into a paste.
- Cram the basil leaves into the food processor and turn it on. Slowly but surely add the olive oil in a steady stream. At first it will seem as if nothing is happening, then the leaves will start to catch and incorporate themselves into what is becoming pesto.
- Once the leaves have all been chewed up, stop the machine and add the Parmesan. Whirl it around a bit then add some salt and pepper to taste. (I start with 1/2 of salt and 1/4 t pepper and build from there. I don’t add a ton of salt now because I usually finish all my dishes with flake sea salt from Jacobsen Salt Co.)
And now you too can have a stockpile of pesto in your freezer. How? Simply ladle the pesto into freezer-safe jars and pour a bit of olive oil over the top to seal and protect the basil-y goodness. Put these jars in the freezer. When you want pesto, simply remove a jar and let it thaw in the fridge - it will thaw faster than you think.
I’ll be back as soon as pesto-ly possible to share with you a recipe involving eggplant and this pesto. Just you wait!