Thursday, September 28, 2006

Walnuts + Basil = Pesto

Fall means walnut season for us. The squirrels are busy in the trees collecting the nuts and running all around scouting places to hide them. All this squirrel activity irritates Jolie to no end. She works over time trying her hardest to put an end to something that won't stop until the nuts are gone. (There are a LOT of walnuts on our two trees) We really appreciate Jolie putting in the extra hours, because the squirrels are messy & rude. The debris they leave behind includes green casings, intact walnuts, partially eaten walnuts, shell fragments; and they dig holes in the grass, flower gardens, planters, garden, and anywhere else you could hide a nut. There are lumps all over our grass with buried nuts. I collect the intact nuts to use throughout the year, and to put back to feed animals in the winter. All this keeps us busy, and is a frenzied Fall ritual for us. Don't get me wrong, we love our walnut trees despite the extra effort. They provide a cool canopy during the summer, food for animals and us through the seasons, and of course, help reverse the effects of global warming.

Here's a close-up of a green globe about to release a walnut to the ground. Sometimes, the green globes open up, and perfect walnuts fall to the ground (I collect those) - Other times, the green balls will fall to the ground and the squirrels will peel the green to expose the nut (it's theirs!). If I find a green globe, I toss it over the fence onto public land -- it'd be great if it grew, but that hasn't ever happened. Instead the birds, squirrels, and countless other animals enjoy the feast.

Here's some basil and tomatoes freshly picked from our garden.

We had the pleasure last weekend of getting to know a Celebrity Canadian Chef! "Who?" you may ask -- which is exactly what I asked when Art said he made friends with Chef Rob Rainford on the airplane. When Art told me, I didn't know who he was --- We don't have cable, so we had not seen his popular TV show; and we don't eat meat, so we had not heard of his cookbook. We put our differences in diet aside, and he came over to Art's studio to hang out with us after his gig. We had a great time getting to know such a fun and likeable guy!

This is 'Walnut Basil Pesto' from Vive le Vegan! pg. 111, and it's served over quinoa
pasta shells, with a sprig of fresh basil. The circle of walnuts represents 1 day's harvest from our walnut trees. I've also made 'Classic Pesto' from Vegan with a Vengeance pg. 132, which similarly features walnuts & basil, but the results are totally different. Vive's pesto is more creamy & perfect for tossing with pasta. VwaV's is more traditional and green, which I think is delicious with pasta as well as spread over a cracker as an appetizer.

PS: Tomorrow is Bananas Gorilla's Birthday!!!!

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