« Otis the Pup & Chicken Processing | Main | Wild Blackberry Pie »

September 14, 2011



Hey Chef,

I had been playing with ramp pesto earlier this year and the post will actually show up next year because I finally finished scribbling it 6 weeks after shooting photos. Anyway…

Walnuts are a great idea! even better since they're free and raining down on you like there's no tomorrow. They've also been considered good for memory since Confucian times (also demonstrated experimentally in Alzheimer's mice) but again I digress. I was using cashews but I forgot to toast them before grinding.

Since you're picking leaves and probably have the basil stalks and flowers left over, you could consider using the cast-off to boost the basil flavor at least in the subsequent batch.

Basil essence can be fairly easily extracted using a rotary evaporator but I'm sure that casually mentioning "rotary evaporator" will have the others asking what kind of dope smoking socialists from north of the 49th came up with that fine, fine idea.

But perhaps crushing the stalks and so forth with the mortar and pestle and then steeping the mash in a very small quantity of olive oil and then spiking the pesto batch with a bit of that.

And if there's so much basil, can you divert some of it to make chlorophyll, again to spike the next batch? It's still basil, it's still natural and it'll be brighter green.

Or am I seriously deviating from the "farm to table" concept here?


Forgot - since you've got so much basil and I figure some chickens from the previous adventure, perhaps a variation of spicy Thai basil chicken to sell as a snack at the market while people shop for the pesto, chicken and vegetables?

I'm not going to mention that cooking to order would likely elicit some interesting aromas that may attract shoppers. The Roli Roti guy does it with porchetta at the Ferry Building.


Oh - and would that beautifully composed vegetarian dish be comprised of roasted yellow wax bean, yellow pattypan squash, padrón peppers, ratte potatoes all delicately anointed all walnut basil pesto and dressed with thyme flowers?

Ms. Glaze

Chef Wattacetti!

This is now my 3rd go at writing a response, due to the internet connection on the farm. And I must say my first post took 30 minutes to write and was hilarious (at least I thought so). My second go was a lackluster version of the first. And this is my 3rd try the following day and I have to run off and cook lunch for 10 people...

BUT... only YOU, a Chef/scientist, would think of using a rotary evaporator! Even though I was born and raised in Northern California I think this device predates my rebelious teenage years so what exactly is it and do I need one?!?!

And only YOU would know the scientific data on effects of walnuts on the brain. I didn't use the stems or flowers because I thought it might impart a bitter flavor like older leaves do, but I will give it a go and report back!

I think making chlorophyll is a great idea. We used to do that in Paris too. But I wonder if it does take away from the farm to table charm? I'm happy with this recipe so far because my last batch of pesto retained it's color and flavor for two weeks – not bad, not bad at all!

I await your ramp pesto recipe. This sounds delicious. I made scape pesto here on the farm a month ago and it was awesome, but sadly they are too mature now and woody in flavor. And we don't have ramps. Major bummer. Garlic chives work well too if a more powerful garlic-y flavor is desired minus the heartburn and indigestion.

As for pushing basil at the farmer's market I have discovered that if I fluff up the bunches in our stall while people are milling about, it releases this amazing basil perfume that is really more like a pheromone, and the basil just flies out the door. No kidding.

Due to farmer's market rules and regulations I cant really cook anything at the stall without a different sort of liscence. But this might be a possibiiity in the future...


The Earthbound Farms cookbook, Food to Live By, recommends adding parsley to the recipe to pump up the color. I just made a massive batch of pesto, but don't have mature parsley in the garden right now, so couldn't test it. I love all their farm stand recipes, though--one of the most practical cookbooks in my collection.


Ah - the power of scent. There's a fluffing joke in there somewhere but we'll leave it at that.

You wouldn't be cooking anything to order to sell at the stand - you'd just be making yourself a little snack and doing demonstrations with your produce. If making lunch is still unacceptable, you could always shoot another video demo as I'm sure many still remember the somewhat spicy sausage techniques clip from 2007.

I was really surprised about the ramps because here in La Belle Province, what's prized is the bulb and most people throw out the leaves. I've let the foragers I'm acquainted with know that I would be more than happy to take all the leaves off their hands. But there are still some tender garlic scapes available here so I'm going to give that a go. I've also heard that nettles make an interesting product if have access to them next spring.

A rotary evaporator is essentially a fancy vacuum still. The vacuum drops the pressure and the boiling point, and the bottom chamber is rotated to also help speed up the dissolution and evaporation of your volatile compounds. The vapor then travels up column where it cools down and condenses to be your high-powered extract. The rotavap has other uses, say with roasted agave mash which is way off the basil topic.

Do you want one? I certainly do. I just need to collect approximately 190,000 deposit cans and bottles.


Oh My God Ms Glazeee! You surfaced! Fantastic! I am making sauerkraut for choucroute garni this weekend and will make your boudin blancs as part of the garni when I make it. Alls well? John

Ms. Glaze

Kelly – Wow, I love your pickled Echo Valley bean post! Beautiful! How did they turn out? As for adding parsley I would worry that it would turn, just not as quickly as basil. Allthough I think it must add an initial color boost, I know from using it in restaurants that it turns black just like most herbs. But it is not as reactive as basil and this I cannot explain. Maybe Wattacetti has some insight? Did you make your pesto fresh and then freeze/refrigerate or blanch the basil first?

John! My long lost friend. I am GOOD!!! Sorry for being out of reach. How and where are you?!?! Pictures of the sauerkraut pleeeeeeease...


Well, I didn't do more than a single year of botany, but the herbs turning black is a result of compounds within the leaf oxidizing when exposed to air.

I suspect that the parsley doesn't turn as fast because it's a thicker sturdier leaf (less pronounced darkening unlike the very fragile basil) and possibly because it doesn't contain as much of the compound which oxidizes or contains compounds which don't oxidize as quickly.

Wow - someone who still makes his own sauerkraut. I'm impressed!

Toni Carrell

When I have an overwhelming bunch of basil to dispatch I make batch after batch of (nut free) pesto and freeze it in ice cube trays. When they are thoroughly frozen (which takes a couple of days unless your freezer is below zero cold) I then bag them. Either the oil or the lemon juice seems to keep it from turning black. I then use those cubes either alone as pesto or throw a couple in some tomato product, season it and ::poof!:: super easy, really fresh tasting, instant pasta sauce. It's fan-freakin'-tastic-- especially in the dead of winter. If I could buy the pesto cubes at my local farmer's market, I would! (Even if they were a buck-a-cube!)

P.S. While I know that you have tons of walnuts at your disposal, I suggest making some nut-free because so many people are allergic to so many things these days. I'm not one of them, thankfully, I'm just sayin'.

Ms. Glaze

Toni – I have a question about the lemon juice. Because I have seen in some store bought pestos added ascorbic acid. But from experience with fresh basil, lemon juice or anything acidic turns it black with time. Did this happen to you or do you think it helped to preserve it?

We would really love to do a frozen pesto because we want to keep the antioxidant part of the condiment in tact. But my fear is that people won't buy it frozen because it might thaw on the drive home. Or that it will be passed over in the frozen food section. Thoughts?

As for the nuts, I totally agree. There are more nut allergies today than ever before.

Lyndsy Fonseca

Basil essence can be fairly easily extracted using a rotary evaporator but I'm sure that casually mentioning "rotary evaporator" will have the others asking what kind of dope smoking socialists from north of the 49th came up with that fine, fine idea.

But perhaps crushing the stalks and so forth with t


BTW, Toni Carrell and Calichef are both the same person-- me! And I've been reading this blog for years and years. Ever since you got your first French work permit. Or whatever they call it there, I can't seem to remember.

North Face On Sale

So cute! I already like you on FB and also get your posts on Google Reader. :)

NewZealand Pandora

I just sent this post to a bunch of my friends as I agree with most of what you’re saying here and the way you’ve presented it is awesome.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

Your email address:

Powered by FeedBlitz

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Blogher Ad Network


Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 10/2005