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!