We've spent some time the past few weeks readying the yard and garden bed for winter. Melissa and I pulled most of the remaining vegetable plants using a combination of hedge trimmers and brute force. Tim opted to wait until most of the leaves dropped from the trees (save a few hangers on) and mow over them rather than rake them in piles. It seems to have been the right decision because when he finished I could hardly believe how all of the leaves were gone. It felt like the end of fall. It's such a short season, isn't it?
My potted oregano plant had an unexpected growth spurt during the month of November. I took my kitchen shears to it and ended up with a huge bowl of clippings. After washing and drying them, I wrapped two small handfuls in paper towels and put them into the refrigerator. I'm hoping for some oregano inspiration this week to use those up. I considered drying the rest but settled on making a batch of oregano pesto; Heidi's post last week about making some had been stuck in my head since I read it.
It was easy enough to throw together; picking the leaves from the woody stems was the most tedious part of the process. The sun had long gone down by the time I got around to tossing all of the ingredients into the food processor so I didn't get a picture of the pre-frozen product. But this pesto, when freshly made, is the color of a Christmas tree. It was deep green and studded with little bits of garlic and pine nuts. The flavor is fresh and bright from the parsley but the hints of oregano gave it a warm, wintry flavor. It could possibly be my favorite pesto ever.
I froze the pesto in an empty ice cube tray and then combined the frozen cubes in a labeled zip lock bag. It made about 12 ice cubes which really is quite a bit when you think about how much flavor just a tablespoon of pesto can pack. What will I do with all of this pesto? When thawed, I figure I can spread it on bread as a condiment for sandwiches. I can drizzle it over a pasta with bright tomato sauce for extra herby flavor. I can spoon it over grilled meats or vegetables. I think it might even be good on a baked potato.
adapted from 101 cookbooks
makes about 1 cup of pesto
1.5 cups of loosely packed fresh oregano
1.5 cups of loosely packed fresh parsley
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup of toasted pine nuts, cooled
3/4 to 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt to taste
Add the oregano, parsley, garlic, and pine nuts to a food processor. Pulse a few times to slightly chop. Then pour in the olive oil, starting with just 3/4 cup, and process, adding more olive oil if needed to reach your desired consistency. There should be some texture, but the pesto should be a fine sauce. Add salt, starting with 1/2 teaspoon, and adjust to taste.
Pesto can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container for 3-4 days or frozen for several months.