Friday, August 22, 2008

Perfect Pesto

The remnants of tropical storm Fay showed up in North Carolina today in the form of some gentle breezes. I would have preferred a good soaking rain, but I will settle for a nice breeze as it did allow me to open up a window or two this morning. Nothing like the smell of fresh air in the house.
It was also a pleasant morning to step out into the garden and see what's new today.
I was pleased to see the first few blooms on my cypress vine. If you're not familiar with this vine it also goes by the names of hummingbird flower & star glory. It is a member of the morning glory family.

The foliage is so feathery & delicate and the flowers are small & star shaped.
I planted my first plant several years ago to grow up a shepherd's hook with a hummingbird feeder on the hook. Hummingbirds love these flowers. Every year they self seed and new plants begin to grow.

The red color is very attractive to hummingbirds as is the trumpet or vase-like shape of the flowers. Can't you just picture a little hummer beak drawing nectar from this flower?

I noticed another sign of fall in my garden today. One of my nandinas is beginning to change color. Soon those green berries will turn russet and then eventually by winter they will be bright red. I had never seen these shrubs until I moved to North Carolina. The first winter I lived here I noticed them growing in people's yards and sporting big clusters of bright red berries. I quickly learned what they were and then planted several around my yard. I love them.

In my herb garden I discovered that my basil plants are getting huge. That is always my signal for Pesto Time. I look forward to this time all summer.

I have many books on the subject of herbs. This is one of my favorites. It contains a lot of nice pictures and practical ideas for using your herbs. It also happens to contain my favorite recipe for pesto.


1 cup firmly packed basil (leaves only)
1/2 cup firmly packed parsley sprigs (stems removed)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1/2 cup pine nuts, walnut, or almonds
1 large clove garlic (or to taste), quartered
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/4 cup olive oil or cooking oil

In a blender container or food-processor bowl, combine all ingredients except olive oil. Cover and blend until a paste forms, using an on-off pulse and stopping several times to scrape the sides of the bowl. With the machine on slow, add olive oil and blend until pesto reaches the consistency of soft butter. Use pesto immediately; refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 6 months.

All ingredients in food-processor except olive oil.

Just before adding the olive oil.

The finished product ready for sampling.


  1. I love having the windows open too and have had mine open the last few days.
    What perfect names for such a pretty flower.

  2. Your flowers are so pretty. I don't think I've seen the hummingbird flower before.
    Thanks for visiting my blog.

  3. Thanks for the recipe. I do love pesto. I hope I can find that looks like a good one. Did you buy it recently? If so, where?


  4. Your cypress vine is gorgeous. I've never seen one before (to my knowledge). I'm not sure they grow in our part of the country. If you stop by our blog, you may pick up something Lindsey and I have for you! Have a great weekend. Twyla

  5. That pesto looks fabulous! I would love to make some one of these days. I love that flower beautiful!

    :0) Sharon


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