Vegetarian Family

A Peek @ Food We Eat & Things We Do!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Walnuts + Basil = Pesto

Fall means walnut season for us. The squirrels are busy in the trees collecting the nuts and running all around scouting places to hide them. All this squirrel activity irritates Jolie to no end. She works over time trying her hardest to put an end to something that won't stop until the nuts are gone. (There are a LOT of walnuts on our two trees) We really appreciate Jolie putting in the extra hours, because the squirrels are messy & rude. The debris they leave behind includes green casings, intact walnuts, partially eaten walnuts, shell fragments; and they dig holes in the grass, flower gardens, planters, garden, and anywhere else you could hide a nut. There are lumps all over our grass with buried nuts. I collect the intact nuts to use throughout the year, and to put back to feed animals in the winter. All this keeps us busy, and is a frenzied Fall ritual for us. Don't get me wrong, we love our walnut trees despite the extra effort. They provide a cool canopy during the summer, food for animals and us through the seasons, and of course, help reverse the effects of global warming.

Here's a close-up of a green globe about to release a walnut to the ground. Sometimes, the green globes open up, and perfect walnuts fall to the ground (I collect those) - Other times, the green balls will fall to the ground and the squirrels will peel the green to expose the nut (it's theirs!). If I find a green globe, I toss it over the fence onto public land -- it'd be great if it grew, but that hasn't ever happened. Instead the birds, squirrels, and countless other animals enjoy the feast.

Here's some basil and tomatoes freshly picked from our garden.

We had the pleasure last weekend of getting to know a Celebrity Canadian Chef! "Who?" you may ask -- which is exactly what I asked when Art said he made friends with Chef Rob Rainford on the airplane. When Art told me, I didn't know who he was --- We don't have cable, so we had not seen his popular TV show; and we don't eat meat, so we had not heard of his cookbook. We put our differences in diet aside, and he came over to Art's studio to hang out with us after his gig. We had a great time getting to know such a fun and likeable guy!

This is 'Walnut Basil Pesto' from Vive le Vegan! pg. 111, and it's served over quinoa pasta shells, with a sprig of fresh basil. The circle of walnuts represents 1 day's harvest from our walnut trees. I've also made 'Classic Pesto' from Vegan with a Vengeance pg. 132, which similarly features walnuts & basil, but the results are totally different. Vive's pesto is more creamy & perfect for tossing with pasta. VwaV's is more traditional and green, which I think is delicious with pasta as well as spread over a cracker as an appetizer.

PS: Tomorrow is Bananas Gorilla's Birthday!!!!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vicki, what a lovely walnut tree. How I would love to watch the squirrels eat (and the dogs hunt, hee hee) and eat fresh off the tree. I'd snack all the time.

I made VwaV walnut basil pesto last night to complement a soup and had it with bread. My basil looks no where as fresh and green as yours (I got mine at WFM, sad). Thanks for sharing.

5:52 PM  
Blogger funwithyourfood said...

i've never had pesto with walnuts before, only pine nuts. but they're so expensive i think i should try it with the walnuts.

6:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Leslie, I think there are different types of basil, which may be why yours isn't as bright as Vicki's.

Nice post Vicki. I love the pic of Jolie looking up at the tree. We have a big forest in our back yard and it makes a HUGE mess everywhere. Along with the forest comes lots of little animals, which we adore (even though they're tearing up our yard and wrecking havoc, in general). However, like you, while it might be a bit of a pain, it's worth it for the rewards.

10:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lucky you to have a walnut tree! Jolie seems to love it too! (What a great photo!!) :)

I love walnut pesto and would be making it all the time if I had a walnut tree in the back, and basil as perfect as your in my garden!! Wow. Those tomatoes look great too!

Thanks for the link to the quinoa pasta! I have to place an online veggie order soon and will have to try those! Looks good!!!

10:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad you mentioned the walnuts on your tree, you reminded me of one of the things I actual love about fall/winter (in general I dislike winter because I'm always cold and I hate driving in snow), mixed nuts! I like to have big bowls of nuts in the shell sitting around in the winter time, since they're in the shell it takes forever to eat them, unliked preshelled.

5:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the photographs of the green globe ! We had no idea they grew like that :)

Jolie is so cute !!

6:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG - i would love to live in a place where walnuts falls from the trees.

Robert Rainford...I know his show well. It's set-up in an amazing backyard with a gorgeous pool and over the top BBQs. He's always coming up with excuses to invite his friends over for parties. His enthusiasm far too put on and he only cooks meat, meat and more meat....but I can imagine that he would be fun to hang out with differences aside.

Megan the Vegan

6:31 AM  
Anonymous Geraldine said...

What a gorgeous post!!! Thanks for sharing. G

7:57 AM  
Blogger Crystal & Ryan - CafĂ© Cyan said...

Way cool picture of the walnut releasing - what a perfect moment!!


8:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bet the sound of walnuts falling is great - as is feeding your family from your very own back yard. But, poor Jolie; give her a belly rub from Cinder and me :)

Great, great basil and tomato photo!

Happy Friday!

:) Mikaela

8:22 AM  
Anonymous Emmy said...

My parents have a walnut tree and the squirrels just go bonkers. The squirrels love to use their brick shrub box wall to crack the nuts and leave quite a mess. That's a lovely shot of the fresh basil and tomatoes from your garden. That's cute how you did the ring of walnuts around the bowl :) The pesto sounds yummy!

Oh, and I know who that chef is. I saw the vegetarian episode of License to Grill a few months ago on the Discovery Home Channel. That's neat you met him.

9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, Banana Gorilla! How old is she today, or rather, yesterday! I am late on the computer and checking on your blog and doings of late, so sorry i missed it!! HAPPY AND WONDERFUL YEAR AHEAD to her mommy and rest of the family as well...

Love Jolie's intent, intense look above. That is some serious concentration! She means business, you can feel her frustration at not being able to get those squirrels!

Your walnut trees are neat, what a cool thing to have! Love the close up of the walnut ready to drop. How totally cool. Wouldn't i love to see that? And your basil and tomato plants... fresh!! So nice.... Wow, you know i love a garden, Vicki, and i totally live vicariously through what you grow and show here. Thank you!

Mattie and Heidi at Balboa Park are consumed with the squirrels, it is quite ridiculous. Peter and i will take them and sometimes tie the girls up to a bench near us while we relax or throw a Nerf football around and they will stare and stare and the squirrels just taunt them! Heidi barks and Mattie drools. Peter once took a picture of the drool coming from the Matster's mouth and it's gross, i know, but hilarious too. The interaction of the so-close-but-yet-so-far squirrels, who know they're safe from the dogs is pretty hysterical...

I would have no clue who that Rob Rainford is, but that is neat you got to meet him. I would love to know if your vegetarianism made an impact in his thoughts at all... it is very nice that he hung out after the gig! Very nice indeed.

9:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're so lucky to have walnut trees. These days, most of us, myself included, are so far removed from the food we eat.

Did you get your PETA gift certificate, yet? You should have, by now. Please email me if you didn;t.

3:50 PM  
Blogger Melissa West said...

I'm totally jealous of your walnut tree. Looks like you have lots of basil in your garden as well. Next year I plan to plant about 5xs as much as I did this year. Funny, I just caught a show with Rob Rainford on it the other day. He was doing a really great Asian grilling show - I just closed my eyes on the meat/fish parts... his veggie stuff looked really good. He has a great personality. I imagine you had a fun night with him. Did you ask him to do a vegetarian show?

4:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i will absolutely love to have a walnut tree, i never see one in my life but i truly love walnuts!

love the tomatoes and basil, awesome! so fresh.

9:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Walnut trees, we can't grow anything like that here.

Pesto seems to be going around lately. I've got to say, it is one of my favorite foods.

What a cute little dragon(?) costume!

6:15 PM  

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