Picked the first home grown tomatoes last night! One was actually a little overripe, but it had that full fresh flavor you just can't find in February.
Actually these aren't the first tomatoes picked from the garden. We've had three early season fatalities. An unknown, presumed furry, intruder has been visiting the deck late at night and half eating some of the fruit. I suspect that it's either a young raccoon, vestigial possum or insolent badger.
Normally I'm indifferent to hunting, but the rules change when my garden is in danger. Regrettably my options are limited; apparently there are some arcane laws that make it illegal to fire off a few rounds on one's own deck, if said deck is in a sub-division. So your Crabby is implementing phase two of his tomato-eating-pest-elimination-plan, a slingshot!
One of Crabby's many vices happens to be pistachio nuts. I love the things and go as far as only buying the un-dyed white ones so that I can hide my addiction. But, the bane of any pistachio aficionado is the unopened nut. These teeth cracking nut bombs are impossible to get open without shattering the shell. After sucking off the salt I've never had any use for them, until now.
So as you sleep tonight, think of Crabby, camouflaged, armed and salty fingered, drawing down on an unsuspecting feral rodent. War is Hell.
Since I'm going to be busy tonight I wanted to make something easy and fast. I also wanted to use up some of the fresh herbs in the garden. Pesto is a great way to run through a large bunch of herbs. This pesto moves beyond strictly basil and works especially well with grilled meats, (it's pictured here with grilled halibut). So please enjoy...
Herb Pesto Sauce
inspired by Emeril's and adjusted by Crabby
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 cup flat leaf parsley leaves
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/3 cup fresh chives
1/2 cup blanched, slivered almonds, lightly toasted
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 TBSP grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Place the blanched slivered almonds in a small saute pan and toast over medium-high heat. Once they begin to brown, the almonds will toast quickly, so be sure to occasionally shake the pan to avoid burning. Set aside to cool.
For the Pesto, combine the basil, parsley, mint, cilantro and chives in the bowl of a food processor. Process until finely chopped.
Add the toasted almonds, garlic and Parmesan cheese and pulse to combine.
With the processor running, slowly add 1 cup of the olive oil in a steady stream. Add the lemon juice, grated lemon rind, salt and pepper. Pulse to combine.
Transfer to a glass bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready for use.
I've also mixed the leftover pesto with a half stick of softened butter and used it on grilled steak.
OK crablings, time to gear up; Ricky Raccoon is about to find out the Crabby owns the night. Until next time, if I make it, remember you can do it, you can cook.