Some of you may have noticed I have been on a blogging hiatus. Today, I would like to resurrect my blog, The Epicurean Ideal. In doing so, my post is today's personal epicurean experience making raw, vegan, garden pesto. Before you shudder and click the little "x" button in your browser, humor me and read on. I will be blogging on my typical topics of food and agriculture policy beginning this week. In the mean time, enjoy this fun and easy recipe.
Why "raw" ? Well, mostly because it is summer time and I prefer fresh, live foods.
Why "vegan" ? Those who know me well might guess that this is my way of sticking it to the dairy council again. While that may be partially true, I actually have noticed an increased intolerance to dairy as I have grown older. It has been said that humans stop producing lactase (the enzyme that breaks down lactose in the intestines) as we age, so it is not surprising as I finish up the Victory Lap of my 30's. For a more detailed description of lactose intolerance see here.
Why "garden" ? Well, uh, why the hell not, but if you must ask, because my neighbor and owner of theNectary, Kasi helped me plant a little garden in my front yard. theNectary helps clients design, build and maintain edible landscapes. Yum! Just make sure your community allows you to grow food. No, seriously! This lady is facing jail time for planting a garden. Anyway, it is scientifically proven that vegetables you grown yourself taste better. And my basil was ready to rock.
So lets get cooking. Today...Pesto. All you need is 3-4 bunches of basil, safflower oil, 2 heads of garlic, lemon juice, pine nuts (or other type of nut), olive oil and sea salt.
Harvest your basil by pinching off the larger leaves and groups of leaves.Wash and trim the leaves.
To make the "vegan" part of this pesto creamy, you will make a garlic paste. Just take your garlic heads and peel and clean the cloves. Put them in a food processor and add safflower oil, lemon juice (of 1/2 a lemon) and sea salt until you get a thick paste.
You can also add nuts. Note: always taste your nuts first. I had to learn the hard way once and it gave my pesto an inedible off-flavor. My pine nuts were rancid, so I used pecans.
Add oil to make a paste. I used safflower for the paste and then olive oil after I add the basil.
Add the basil and olive oil and sea salt until you get a thick consistency. Taste it to see if you need more salt or oil. The garlic will give it a great creamy zing.
Chill in the refrigerator. Eat on bread, crackers, veggies or toss with pasta.