Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dying for Pesto?

So with the exception of the tomatoes, which got a little behind schedule with the cool & rainy first part of the summer but are finally beginning to ripen, the garden's been doing great this year. There's the basil last weekend, the lighter green stuff, shortly before I pillaged it for the purpose of pesto. I made the first batch of the summer this weekend.

For regular cooking, I've gotten into the habit of keeping a bottle of that pre-minced garlic in the fridge. For the pesto, though, I decided to get fresh. I totally forgot that the bottled stuff loses some feistiness in the processing. I also forgot how much a bag of basil that looks to be an amount the size of a small HAYSTACK when first emptied out into a bowl to be washed shrinks once it's been run through the handy-dandy twenty-dollar Black & Decker electric minichopper that I bought somewhere around the time I was making my third batch of pesto.

So the pesto came out to be a bit on the, er, shall we say, assertive side. I do like garlic, but this was a bit ridiculous & I wanted to add some more basil to the mix to even things out. I wanted to do that soon so I could get most of the batch into the freezer before it got too old.

Now I live in NYC and that means that I could have just bought a bunch of basil at any one of half a dozen stores I pass on my regular commute home - but NO, this is my Super-Dee-Dooper Halfway-Homegrown Semi-Organic Pesto di Canarsie so the basil has to be basil I grew myself if at ALL possible (I let myself off the grow-it-myself hook for the garlic, olive oil, pignoli & parmigiano, hence "halfway" and "semi").

I'd ended up working a 14 hour day or so yesterday, just got going on a project that I wanted to finish & put away. Today I was kind of tired so I decided to give myself a break & leave shortly after 6, tackle the next big ugly project tomorrow.

I decided to go out & get the basil. I didn't even think to check the forecast. What a maroon! I got to the club in a light drizzle. I started picking. The sky to the west started grumbling. I picked faster. The rumbles got louder.

I finally decided it was time to go -- only I was a little too late. I walked the half-mile to the bus stop right smack in the middle of this!

& I was thinking, as the lightning flashes got brighter and brighter & the thunder got louder and louder -

"Boy, am I ever gonna feel DUMB if I get hit by lightning because I absolutely, positively HAD to go pick basil tonight."

btw, at least according to the one-mississippi method (which is totally, completely, scientifically accurate, right?), the lightning never really got all that close. But it was definitely some dramatic weather to be out in!

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