Summer Jennie

I’m not waiting till June 21, my summer has officially begun.  And summer Jennie is the best Jennie.  She’s relaxed, she looks for fun all over the city, she’s pretty much in a permanent state of good mood.

A friend recently asked me what I’d be doing all summer and I joked, “making pesto.”  Then I realized, that’s not far from the truth.  My standard recipe has served me well in the kitchen for years, but I played around with what I had available one day this summer and created something new and different.

Well, slightly.  This particular pesto uses walnuts instead of pine nuts, and the zest and juice of a whole lemon to freshen up the flavors.  Funny how two little tweaks can shake up a summer staple.  I don’t measure when I make pesto anymore, but here’s my general process, yielding, um, well that depends completely on what you use your pesto for.

You could simply toss it with your favorite cut of pasta and throw in some chicken if you were wanting for protein.  Or you could add it to a salad to bring for lunch.  If you want to wow people at your 4th of July gathering, put this pesto potato salad on the table, instead of the old, tired stuff with mayo.  You could even use it to prepare a panini, or a flatbread or pizza.  Or, it could serve as the basil in your Caprese salad.  Just chop up some mozzarella and cherry tomatoes and spoon some green stuff over top.

To make one batch of my summer pesto, you will need:

  • 1/4 to 1/2 C chopped walnuts (no reason you couldn’t use whole if you have them, they’re only going in the food processor)
  • 2-3 C basil leaves
  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, peeled (if you have them, I’ve done without before)
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • salt (1/2 tsp?)
  • pepper (1/4 tsp?)
  • 1/2 C extra virgin olive oil (this is my new fave, I get it at Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 C grated parmesan
In the food processor, combine the walnuts, basil, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper until everything is nice and fine, stopping to scrape down the bowl if necessary.  Stream the olive oil through the feed tube slowly, while the food processor is running, until the pesto reaches a little thinner than a consistency you like.  Throw it in a container of sorts and stir in the cheese by hand.  Now you have the basis for a great meal and you didn’t even have to turn on the oven.

3 thoughts on “Summer Jennie

  1. Summer Jennie sounds wonderful–like she would never get snarly in a traffic jam on the way to the beach or to a concert! I’ll have to try to emulate this frame of mind! Oh, and I love pesto, so please bring some if you are ever in Wooden Nickels’ neighborhood!

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