Happy Earth Day, everyone!
Ah, it’s so easy to be greenie this time of year, here on the coast of North Carolina. From our gardens and yard we’re eating asparagus, collards, cabbage, lettuce, green onions, poke, lemon balm (pesto!), and the wild spinach is coming up all over. The potato eyes we planted are growing luxurious leaves, and last week we acquired some guinea hens to eat the bugs off of them (and the ticks and any other bugs they can find). Our local organic farm market has opened its fields and stand with strawberries, asparagus, peas and cabbage and lettuce. Soon we’ll be planting our corn, beans and squash garden, and we already have tomato seedlings ready to transplant, along with basil, melons, peppers, tarragon, and leek seedlings. Yes, it’s a good time of year.
But this year’s Earth Day is not a good day for planting, as it is raining steadily and at times hard. The rain is good for the things we’ve planted, though, and for those of us stuck inside, it’s a good day for reading! So here’s my Earth Day reading list, but first, here’s my recipe for lemon balm pesto:
Fresh cut lemon balm
Roasted and salted pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas)
Lemon pepper seasoning, or salt and pepper to taste
Place about 1/4 cup of the pumpkin seeds in a food processor, along with the garlic. I’m using approximate measures because I usually don’t measure, I just eyeball the amounts and taste test it. Process the seeds and garlic until coarsely chopped. Now take your lemon balm and fill up the bowl of your food processor with the leaves (I don’t like to use the stems but you can if you want). Pack the bowl full but not too tightly. Once the bowl is pretty well stuffed, add about 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese on top, and some of the seasoning. Process until the leaves are all chopped up and everything has blended together well. With the processor running, add about 1/2 cup of olive oil. Don’t process too much at this point, or the oil will heat up and cook your pesto into a gluey green ball.
This pesto is great in a salad, on pasta or toasted bread, in scrambled eggs, as a crudite dip- or just eat it out of the jar with a fork. I store the finished pesto in glass jars with tight lids (like canning jars), they keep for months in the freezer and weeks in the refrigerator. Seriously good stuff.
Now here’s my reading list for a rainy Earth Day:
Of course, anything by Michael Pollan: The Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food, Food Rules.
Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.
Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals.
That’s enough to get started on, so slice up some French bread, toast it a little, drizzle a little olive oil on it and then slather with your lemon balm pesto. Happy reading, happy eating, happy Earth Day.