Winter Gardening

One of the best parts of spring and summer, in my opinion, is the opportunity to grow flowers, herbs, and vegetables (except I don’t do that last one). And it makes me sad that, living in Colorado, our growing season is short and that the deer eat everything that’s not nailed down. (Side note: I read that deer won’t eat fuzzy plants or things that have a strong scent. I was advised to wire up some Irish Spring soap to repel the deer, and guess what? They ate that too. As in, overnight. So.)

To combat deer, winter, and the fact that I’m a gardening idiot, I have my “grow lab” (a.k.a, the MiracleGrow Aerogarden, which allows me to grow fresh herbs, flowers, lettuces, and other veggies. My favorite is growing fresh herbs, because they’re such a visual and flavorful boost to my recipes, and growing them this way is so much less expensive than buying the not-quite-fresh packs in the store. Bonus: my neighbors most likely assume that the purple grow light they see emanating from my windows is my weed grow lab. Joke’s on them.

In the past, I’ve grown a variety of herbs — rosemary, thyme, chives, oregano — but my favorite is a variety of basil: Thai, purple, and Genovese.  When I have a big harvest, pesto is my go-to, because it’s easy to make and freezes well, and I can use it later on pasta, chicken, or fish, or in mayo and to turn it into aioli. Sky’s the limit.


Fresh Pesto:

2 cups fresh basil (no stems)

2 cups pine nuts or walnuts

2-3 large garlic cloves

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste

Put first 4 ingredients in food processor and chop. With machine running, slowly add the olive oil in a thin stream to achieve an *almost* pourable consistency. Stir in salt and pepper to taste. Store in an airtight container with as little contact with air as possible, so as to preserve the bright green color, or freeze.

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