May 26, 2011

Planting Herb Pots & 3 Pestos for Summer {Powernap}

Herb Pot

This is the latest installment of my Powernap column. The series where I share quick, easy food that can be made for all kinds of situations. Powernaps are short and sweet, and so are these recipes. These are the things I make in a jiffy when I need a quick snack, am in the mood for a recipe experiment, or simply need to clean out the pantry.

Today’s Powernap: My herb pots are yielding their first harvest. With the daughter at her last week of school what pestos can I make quickly so I can have them on hand for meals later this week?

I’ve become quite an expert in container gardening in the past few years. I hope to have an actual outdoor garden space to cultivate soon but, until I do, I’ll be using a-lotta’ terracotta for my plantings. This year my Mom and I planted an herb pot (while my daughter was running around the backyard with the dogs) using a selection of herbs from the local nursery in Cooperstown. Here is what we planted:

Strawberry Pot (the funny looking pot with holes in the side pictured up top):


Oregano (regular)

Oregano (Hot & Spicy)


Lemon Thyme


Apple Mint







Separate Containers:

One large Rosemary bush (which I will keep indoors this coming winter)

One large Lemon Verbena plant (which I will also keep indoors this coming winter)

I simply LOVE having fresh herbs on our deck all summer long. I continuously pluck them (or send out my daughter to harvest a bunch) for all sorts of dishes and am careful to freeze any fresh herbs I don’t use for winter.

Today I had a limited amount of time to take advantage of my fresh pots before my daughter returned from school and was ready for our afternoon bike ride. I decided to use it to make loads of fresh pesto to have on hand all month long. Making pesto in the food processor takes about five minutes, so I had plenty of time to make three different varieties.


I started by making my favorite Classic Basil Pesto. I used up almost all of mine from last summer so it was time to restock by making fresh batches and freezing half. For my second batch I had some walnuts in the fridge and used those to make a fresh Walnut Parsley Pesto. It is delicious served with pasta, over chicken or fish, or as a sandwich spread. For my final variation I experimented with my new oregano variety, combining it with sundried tomatoes and pine nuts to create Spicy Oregano Sundried Tomato Pesto, a fabulous crostini spread or vegetable dip. All of the batches came together in very little time. I only rinsed the food processor blade and bowl between each one. Each batch of pesto is now stored in its own tupperware container in the fridge and I’ll have them on hand for meals all month long! Here are some dishes I am thinking of making:

– Tortellini with Classic Basil Pesto (daughter’s favorite)

Roast Salmon with Classic Basil Pesto

– Grilled Chicken with Walnut Parsley Pesto

– Grilled Cod with Spicy Oregano Sundried Tomato Pesto (recipe to come soon!)

– Tartine (open faced sandwich) with Spicy Oregano Sundried Tomato Pesto, Fresh Goat Cheese and Sea Salt

– Fresh Ricotta Ravioli with Walnut Parsley Pesto Sauce

Lemon  Verbena

Lemon Verbena


Walnut Parsley Pesto


½ cup packed fresh parsley leaves, rinsed and dried
½ cup packed fresh basil leaves, rinsed and dried
¼ cup walnuts
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 large garlic clove
1 pinchKosher salt
¼ cup good olive oil


Add the basil, parsley, walnuts, Parmesan and garlic to a food processor and pulse until a fine paste forms. Then add the salt and pulse again, briefly. With the processor on low pour the olive oil in a steady stream into the mixture until everything is just combined. Serve!


Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

See the recipe ideas above. Serving it twirled into pasta or on top of roasted fish are my two favorite ways to serve pesto.


Naptime Stopwatch

10 minutes to make.


Naptime Reviews

A delicious, easy pesto that everyone loved. My daughter is a pesto nut, which is great. She also had an especially fun time picking the herbs for me to use!



15 Responses to “Planting Herb Pots & 3 Pestos for Summer {Powernap}”

  1. Aggie says:

    Loving that herb pot! I absolutely adore pesto of any kind…that parsley pesto is new to me, sounds great!

  2. I’m so love this blog, already bookmarked it! Thanks.

  3. Branappetit says:

    i love making non-traditional pestos. it gives such a fun twist on recipes!

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  5. […] spring I planted this terrific container garden for our deck and we’ve been enjoying the bounty of herbs all summer long. There is no end to the flavor […]

  6. […] lid on, in the oven to bake. Prior to serving it I stirred in a large handful of minced parsley (the herb pot is STILL in bloom!) for a little more flavor and color. Then, I scooped it up alongside the chicken and dinner was […]

  7. […] recipe I added in ample amounts of lemon zest and juice and a nice dose of fresh thyme leaves from my herb pot, which is still thriving by the big window in our master […]

  8. […] on hand so I can make risotto nearly anytime we want. With a package of mushrooms in the fridge and our omnipresent herb pot still thriving in the downstairs bay window, I also had plenty of fresh sage at the ready. I […]

  9. […] again, the summer herb pot is exploding. I don’t want to give myself too much credit, but man, I know how to manage an herb pot. The […]

  10. […] me. Currently I have one small shelf full of frozen herbs from last summer, and a second shelf with a tray of frozen pesto cubes, two loaves of frozen bread, a bag of frozen waffles, and our Zoku popsicle […]

  11. […] 3) Make list of herbs for summer garden: Planting my back deck container garden is something I look forward to every spring. I love selecting the herbs and plants to grow and recipes to make with them. All winter I was dreaming about lemon verbena, for example, and am dying to try it in a new scone recipe I’ve been testing! In April I make a list of the herbs and plants I want and keep an eye out for them at our local nursery. We will plant them in May. […]

  12. […] My herb pot yielded its first batch of basil large enough for making pesto. Needless to say, I already have one batch in the fridge and a small container stashed in the freezer for later this winter. As my husband pointed out, never doubt how much Kelsey loves homemade pesto! The kick off the pesto party this summer I made up an easy summer recipe for pesto grilled chicken. It is perfect for a quick weekend meal and comes together in nearly an instant. […]

  13. […] mode. There is not a lot of time for lengthy food prep and I am relying heavily on my pantry and herb garden for ingredients. Most nights I am either testing recipes for the next book, feeding the family […]

  14. […] the next couple of weeks I’m going to plant my vegetable garden, window boxes, and herb pots. I also hope we see a bloom or two on our new lilacs and hydrangeas. That may just be wishful […]