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  1. Thai Basil Pesto

    Monday, September 16, 2013

    Yesterday and today I spent a couple hours making pesto! I made pesto out of italian basil and thai basil. This year I had a small herb and vegetable garden in my backyard, and I grew basil. My italian basil plant got huge! It grew into a "bush" nearly 4 feet tall! So once the weather turned colder I went outside and chopped down both plants. What to do with all that basil but to make pesto? :)

    In both pestos I used nearly the same ingredients. For the italian basil pesto I loosely followed this recipe from Simply Recipes. I substituted almonds for pine nuts because that's what I had. And for the thai basil pesto I just left out the cheese and used less garlic and nuts.

     Thai Basil Pesto
    adapted from here, makes about 1 cup of pesto
    (the recipe listed here is not the total amount that I made, which will be obvious in the pictures. Since I used an entire plant my pesto was made in several batches that produced quite a lot.)

    - about 2 cups thai basil leaves, packed
    - 1/4 cup almonds
    - 1 clove of garlic, chopped
    - extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil
    - salt and pepper to taste
    - food processor (a blender would work, but not as well and might have to be done in even smaller batches.)

    Add almonds and basil to food processor. 
    Turn it on and let the ingredients whiz around until they are finely ground/blended. You may have to stop it to scrap down the sides with a spatula to make sure all the leaves get blended.

    ^^Thai basil flowers, Thai basil is most easily recognized by it's purple stems and flowers
    With the food processor running, add in the chopped garlic. Stream in the oil until the mixture forms a loose paste. Season with salt and pepper to taste and pulse to combine.

    ^^the larger bottle is full of the italian basil pesto, while the smaller jar has the thai basil pesto. There is a slight color difference between the two, due to the color of the leaves.

    If you're making a large amount like I am, store your pesto in a jar or bottle with a thin covering of oil at the top to preserve the pesto from going bad. The layer of oil keeps the pesto from air exposure which will discolor it. Every time you use some pesto, ensure that there is still a layer of oil at the top. It will keep this way in the fridge for up to a year.