Monthly Archives: July 2011

Pesto

Wanting to make pesto but you are low on basil?  While researching pesto recipes for my Farmer’s Market booth recipe handout I came across many ideas for using various herbs and other ingredients in pesto.

Basic Pesto

6 cloves garlic, sliced

1/3 c. pine nuts

2 c. basil leaves, packed

1/4 c. parmesan, freshly grated

1/2 c. olive oil

Place all ingredients in blender or food processor and pulse until blended.

Pesto can be made with other types of basil such as lemon or cinnamon or with other herbs including basil, tarragon, rosemary, mint, parsley, spinach, cilantro, arugula, or thyme.  Try other cheeses and nuts instead of pine nuts or parmesan.  Avocado can be substituted for the oil. Lemon juice, orange juice, hot peppers, and olives are other additions you may want to try.

I recently made this pesto and used it as a baked potato topping, spread on toast, and in a salad.

6 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 c. olive oil

1/2 c. basil

2 T. oregano

1 c. fennel fronds

6 sage leaves

Pesto can also be used as a vegetable dip, a pizza topping, added to minestrone or vegetable soup, burritos or wraps, and of course tossed with pasta.

Herbs for Hot, Dry Areas

Many well-known herbs do well in hot and dry areas so if you are wanting to xeriscape with herbs you will have quite a few to choose from.  These herbs also are available in other varieties in addition to the common types.  Generally if a plant has grayish leaves it is drought tolerant. Check the label to be sure it will survive in your climate. Remember to water regularly until established.

Sage – Other varieties include Purple Sage (purple colored leaves), Tricolor Sage (green, white, and purple varigated leaves), and Golden Sage (yellow varigated leaves).

Oregano – varieties include dwarf, white flowered, purple flowered, and varigated.  If you will be using the leaves rub and smell before purchasing – oregano can vary quite a bit in scent and flavor.

Thyme – varieties include Silver Thyme (leaves have white edges), Lemon Thyme (lemon flavor and scent – some have green leaves, some yellow varigated), Oregano Thyme (oregano scent, larger leaves), and many other flavors and scents some shrubby, some low growing.  Wooly thyme is non culinary thyme which makes a great ground cover and releases a nice fragrance when walked on.

Lavender – various types of purple or lavender flowered, pink flowered, and white flowered, gray leaves or green leaves.  Some lavenders are hardier than other so as with other plants check the label or other information to see if it will survive in your climate.

Some other herbs that may do well: Artemesias including wormwood, Agastaches, Echinacea – available in white, yellow, and reds in addition to lavender colors. Aloe Vera ( In many climates will not survive the winter outdoors.  Mine turns pale if planted in full sun), Goji berry (Wolfberry), Dianthus, hot peppers, Winter Savory, Santolina, yarrows, yucca,  Russian Sage.

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