Two things have happened in the last week that have made me launch into some obsessive behavior: the market crash and the threat of frost. I watched the presidential debate last night and listened to Obama and McCain talk about the economy. I think I am one of the Main Street folks they keep talking about--even though my address labels say I am even further off the beaten path. This downturn in the economy has affected our family and those around us--has for years. Several years ago, my husband lost his job. More recently he left a job under the threat of extinction. If I hadn't left my job, I am sure I would have been shown the curb. We've had holes in insurance coverage. My brother-in-law is currently out of a job. The latest Wall St/mortgage crisis is hitting home. I am personally nervous. It's not just that I don't have the green--its that money itself isn't as green as it used to be. Where is the security?
Enter the frost warning. My garden is lush with herbs. Beautiful. Verdant. Thriving now that the days aren't so hot and dry. It is a bounty I don't want to squander. I don't know what the economic future will bring, but I have herbs. NOW! So with my trusty pug, kitchen shears, and a large basket I go to harvest what may be my last harvest. The stuff comes in by the bucket full. But what to do? With apples I can make pie or sauce. Some herbs can dry, but I am not looking for dry herbs. So, I plug in my food processor, empty my freezer of all kinds of nuts, get out my trusty jug of olive oil, and do the only thing I know to do. I make pesto.
Walnut Parsley pesto
Lemon Arugula pesto
Mint almond Pesto
(I already made and froze traditional basil pesto in September.)
I didn't have enough containers, so I started freezing batches in ice cube trays and then popping them into freezer bags. You wouldn't believe the shades of green I encountered. Sage basil was olive in color because I added some purple basil to the mix (Think $5 bill). The oregano was the lightest, most yellow. Mint was dark too, more like evergreen. The arugula was perhaps the brightest green because of the fact that I blanched my arugula before using. And after each batch I taste-tested on a cracker with goat cheese. My palate got a little tired, so I really can't pronounce a favorite. I really liked the tarragon, but that was my first.
So, now I've socked some green away for winter. Looking back at the products of my two-day surge with the food processor, I admit the obsessiveness of it all. My freezer is basically green and red (from a similar bout of tomato mania). Who does that? But, if economic conditions persist, I can feed my family with a box of spaghetti or a cup of cornmeal. And, who knows, maybe the garlic in pesto will keep the financial scavengers away.