High Thai Pesto

A very exotic flavored pesto, try it with traditional spring rolls or grilled shrimp or chicken.

4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 one inch pieces ginger, peeled
3 or more Thai peppers
1 1/2 cups Thai basil
1/2 cup mint
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp lime zest
1/2 cup  dry, honey-roasted peanuts
1 tbsp rice wine
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
3/4 cup peanut oil
2 tbsp sesame oil
salt to taste
crushed red pepper to taste

With the motor running on the food processor, drop in the garlic, ginger, and peppers.  Slowly add the remaining ingredients except for the oil, and grind to a thick paste.  Add the oil to achieve the desired consistency.

Mediterranean Pesto

This pesto has all of the major herbs, but is actually very easy to make.  Enjoy this pesto year round.

2 large garlic cloves
2 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves
1 tbsp thyme leaves
1 tbsp fresh summer or winter savory leaves
1 tbsp fresh oregano
1 cup fresh parsley leaves
1/3 cup freshly ground Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup walnuts
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp olive oil
salt and fresh ground pepper

Combine all ingredients except olive oil in blender or food processor. Process to mix. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper and process to desired consistency. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Yields 3/4 cup

Herb Garden Punch

This punch is easy to make, and people always rave about it.  It is a delightful and refreshing drink to serve in the garden, especially when poured over ice cubes that have been frozen with sprigs of lemon balm, lemon peel, and flower petals.  Spike it with tequila or rum for a festive alternative.

2 generous bunches lemon balm sprigs
2 generous bunches mild flavored mints
2 large cans (46 oz) unsweetened pineapple juice
juice of 2-3 lemons
3 lemons, cut into round slices
additional sprigs lemon balm and/or mint
sparkling water or champagne, and fresh lemon juice to taste
2-3 limes, cut into round slices

Gently wring the bunches of lemon balm and mint to release flavor.  Place them in a large container, and cover with the juices and lemon slices.  Chill overnight, occasionally stirring and pressing down on herbs with the back of a wooden spoon.  Prior to serving, remove the herbs (they will be discolored) and replace with fresh herb sprigs.  Pour punch into iced glasses with sparkling water or champagne, lemon juice, lime slices, and a sprig of fresh lemon balm or mint.

Purple Pesto

Try this pesto stuffed under chicken skin, or use it in a cheese torta.  Mild flavored.

2 cups fresh ‘Red Rubin’ basil or purple ruffles basil
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup minced sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp freshly minced rosemary
1/2 tsp crushed dried red chilies

Grind the basil, garlic, tomatoes, cheese and pine nuts.  Slowly add the oil, after adding some of the oil from the sun dried tomatoes; add the peppers, and blend to desired consistency.  Makes 1 1/2 cups.

Lemon Basil Pesto

A light citrus flavored pesto that is great with chicken, in a vinaigrette, or with fresh pasta.

2 cups fresh lime and/or lemon basil leaves
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup nuts

Combine all ingredients except olive oil in blender or food processor. Process to mix. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper and process to desired consistency. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Yields 2 cups.

Sage Pesto

Excellent tucked under the skin of chicken breasts or mixed with pine nuts and  fresh bread crumbs and stuffed into game hens.

1/2 cup fresh sage leaves
1 1/2 cups fresh parsley leaves
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup pine nuts or walnuts
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil

Combine sage, parsley, garlic, cheese, and nuts in a food processor.  Process to mix. With machine running, slowly add the olive oil.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and process to the desired consistency.  Makes about 1 cup.

Genovese or Italian Basil Pesto

2 cups whole fresh Genovese or Italian basil leaves
4 – 6 garlic cloves
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp nuts

Combine all ingredients except olive oil in blender or food processor and process to mix.  With the motor running, add the olive oil.  Process until desired consistency.  Allow to sit for at least 1 hour before serving.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Yields 1 cup.

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