Saturday, July 16, 2016

basil & garlic scape pesto

Friends, it's been a glorious summer in Alaska so far!  I've bounced between Juneau and Fairbanks and Anchorage soaking up sunshine, good food, and friendship along the way.  

My first summer living in Juneau has defied my expectations.  For the most part, the weather has been warm and inviting, with the occasional rain shower to keep everything green and lush (and the wild mushroom crop plentiful!) But what has really blown me away is the incredible bounty of wild edibles here in southeast Alaska.  It's AH-MAZING!  With my trusty furry, four-legged sidekick Milo at my side, we've foraged for nettles, devil's club buds, beach asparagus, salmonberries, cloudberries, and most recently the early blueberry crop. I made an fantastic nettle pesto (still have some in the freezer!), pickled the devils club buds and the beach asparagus, and plan to make salmonberry jam as soon as I find the energy.  So far, I've just been munching on the cloudberries, which are tart and creamy.

Clockwise from top left: early southeast Alaska blueberries, beach asparagus, salmonberries, and cloudberries

A bundle of garlic scape
I have a little spare time on this Saturday, which is on of my favorite things in the world.  Last week I made a stop at Rainbow Foods, a terrific local health food store in Juneau, and came across some garlic scapes.  I had no idea I'd be able to find them in Juneau!!  Tastes like garlic, but greener and milder.  I've chopped them up and added them to stir fries before, but recently read that they make a great pesto. I'd also picked up one of those live basil plants last week at the grocery store, so I thought I'd do a combination basil-garlic scape pesto.  It turned out even better than I expected, and so easy to make that I was able to carry on a long-distance phone call with my friend Meagan while throwing it together.  The bright, herbal basil paired with the green garlic scape is a perfect flavor combination.  I had to force myself to stop tasting it repeatedly because its SO GOOD!!

As I type this sentence, I'm swallowing the last yummy mouthful of this pesto on rustic Fire Island Bakery baguette.  Happy Saturday to me!

Basil & Garlic Scape Pesto

(Makes one pint)

2 cups basil leaves
2 tablespoons parsley leaves
1/2 cup chopped garlic scapes
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1/2 cup pine nuts
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

In a smal saucepan over medium heat, toast cloves of garlic until brown spots appear on the outside, about 6-8 minutes.  Once cool, the peel comes off easily.

In that same pan, toast pine nuts over low heat for 4-6 minutes, until golden brown.

Place all ingredients, save for the oil and cheese, in a food processor and pulse 15-20 times until combined.  Slowly pour in oil until incorporated.  Add cheese and pulse a couple times.  

ps...gratuitous picture of Milo(sevic), the little war criminal, on a break from blueberry picking to check out the ocean. <3

Enjoy! xo h

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