More Slow-Roasted Tomatoes and Basil Pesto

The garden is brimming with tomatoes. Pictured above is yesterday’s harvest, and I harvested almost as many tomatoes the day before. Time for a second batch of oven-roasted garlicky tomatoes and basil “pesto”. To keep it versatile, I make the latter only with basil, olive oil and salt. I leave out cheese and nuts to add in later depending on the use. Sometimes, I like to mix it with goat cheese for a pesto-goat cheese-spread or use it in a compound butter, which would not need Parmesan. I also found that it freezes better this way. For the tomatoes, I only use red ones and no big slicers. If the larger tomatoes are very juicy, I blot them with paper towels before they go in the oven. I roasted this batch at 275F for two hours and packed it in olive oil. This batch will go in the fridge, the last one went in the freezer for use in a few months. I like to use those in pasta sauces, on pizza or as toppings for sandwiches or savory crepes. It is amazing how a baking sheet packed with tomatoes gets reduced to a single half-pint canning jar.

Some more basil pesto for the freezer:


It has been a stellar year for tomatoes so far. I am having friends over tonight to help me eat them, and we are having a neighborhood block party tomorrow, for which I plan to bring a fattoush that will feature some of the cherry tomatoes (plus the parsley and mint) I harvested today. In addition to the tomatoes, I have four or five zucchinis that need to be eaten, so on the menu tonight is an antipasti board (including Caprese skewers and sauteed zucchini), a zucchini/(home-made) basil pesto/goat cheese pizza and a tomato salad with peaches, pesto and whipped feta.

Summer Sowing for Fall Harvest

Kentucky Wonder pole beans

I cleaned up the area where the garlic had been and sowed beets (Chiogga and Burpee Golden), two rows of fall greens and carrots (Coreless Amsterdam, Dragon Purple and Mokum). Coreless Amsterdam and Mokum are early carrots with 55 days to maturity, Dragon Purple is 70 days. I also sowed basil (among the tomatoes), a row of cilantro (between the leeks and the flowers) and Black Seeded Simpson leaf lettuce (between the eggplant and the timber border). I top-dressed the tomatoes, squash and eggplant with cow manure and gave everything a good watering.

Today’s harvest: the (likely) last cucumbers, one zucchini, kale and tomatoes. (Zucchini and tiny cherry tomatoes from another gardener’s plot that I have been harvesting and watering while they are away.)

Thai Basil Pesto

Thai basil harvest, 2 cups of leaves total

I harvested much of the two Thai basil plants on my back porch and made pesto. I used it for dinner to make Thai pesto noodle bowls with crispy ground pork. I followed this tried and true recipe for the pesto though. So good!

Crispy pork with Thai pesto over rice noodles. Yum!
Mise en place (with last year’s home-grown garlic)
To be blitzed
Done. So flavorful and fresh. I absolutely love this recipe.

Pesto Time

I made a good amount of “pesto” today. By “pesto” I mean basil, salt and olive oil. I leave out the garlic, cheese and nuts to add later depending on the dish. This way, it is more versatile. Just blitzed it all up and froze it covered in olive oil in an ice cube tray. Looking forward to yummy meals all year long: pesto chicken, base for pizza and pasta, pesto mayo for sandwiches and much more. Next up will be my Thai basil peanut pesto.

Porch Update Early June

The porch looks great. I have a nice mix of flowers, herbs and vegetables. Despite my vow to not grow tomatoes on the porch this year, I have two cherry tomato plants: one Black Strawberry (grown from seed) and one Super Sweet 100 (given to me by a friend). I also have three pepper plants: Thai, Jalapeno and Sweet Pickle, one big container of basil and numerous other herbs (rosemary, sage, mint, thyme, chives, Thai basil, cilantro, parsley). Plus a big pot with Swiss Chard, which I have been harvesting and eating (for example sauteed with garlic over pan-fried lemon garlic flounder) over the past few days. A couple of days ago, I reseeded salad greens in two of the pepper containers (May Queen with the Jalapeno and Salanova Mix with the Sweet Pickle). The third pepper container (Thai) contains the Thai basil.

Almost all of my porch plantings. On the other end of the porch are my potted palm, a (tiny) bitter orange tree, lemon grass, calendula and cilantro.