Wednesday, October 28, 2009


My favorite herb, bar none is Sweet Basil. Until Sunday I had 9, 2 1/2 foot bushes. Then came harvest. With a home brew in hand, hubby demanding silence because he had a 10 page paper due and me unable to stifle my giddiness about the tour...I set to work in the garden and make my favorite herb dish...Pesto. I don't care how pastorial it is, I love it...on just about everything.
Here's the bounty, plus fixins...minus the 'secret ingredient' which changes with my mood. Basil, garlic, extra virgin organic olive oil, pine nuts (though I will substitute walnuts, almonds or pecans) sea salt, black pepper (not pictured) and secret ingredient...also not pictured.
This is "Brownie" the butterfly. I think she may be a Fritillary, but I still don't have a confirmation. I have 3 Passion Vines, which are it's host plant right where she decided to join me for a spell...and she's desert brown...that's about where my knowledge fails. Anyway, I was busy cutting back the basil when she decided to land on my arm. I was amazed and excited for awhile, I hollered at hubby inside to look and still...she stayed. Then, I decided that I needed to get back to work harvesting, so I did...and to my surprise, she just hung on. I gathered my bucket of herbs, went inside and still...she stayed. Hubby got the camera and we went outside for a photo-shoot. I slipped my finger under her feet and she hopped on. I started shooting and turning my hand around and she just walked a bit, tasting the dirt and salt on my finger giving me a good tickle.
After about 7-8 minutes she'd had enough, and off she flew. It was magic. I believe that the garden faerie in me has returned. Once the pressure from the tour lifted, the magic was back!
Secret ingredient hidden by large Pomegranate Mimosa.

One of two rescued caterpillars dining on Sweet Basil, heaven knows how many ended up in my Pesto as...secret ingredient.
Several hours later...3 mimosa's down...good grief this takes a lot of time. But, this is the 3rd harvest this year!
9 plants, 9 jars. 3 harvests x 9. Not bad, not bad.
Happy Gardening!


Tina Vaziri said...

That looks delicious! I love pesto, and need to get on the ball making it before we get some frost.

Lancashire rose said...

Wow! That is one heck of a lot of pesto. Do you can it? I have been freezing mine. As to the caterpillar, I had the same experience and had already done some chopping! A little added protein. Glad you are back to normal life again.

Nicole said...

Yummy! Pesto is one of my favourites, too. In the tropics basil is a perennial so I make it fresh as needed. I also add as desired and according to what I have chili pepper, aji dulce peppers, arugula, mint.

Cindy, My Corner of Katy said...

Beautiful pesto! I don't think the butterfly's a Fritillary ... they're more orange than brown and their markings are more pronounced. I leafed through my Texas butterflies book but couldn't settle on any particular butterfly. I wonder if there are any whose larval food is basil?

ConsciousGardener said...

Jenny, I freeze it in the Bonne Mama/jelly jars. One jar=one meal, or one layer in a lazagna or 2 pizza's!

Nicole, for 2 years now it's been a perennial in Austin, though El Nino may kill them off this winter.
I add chili pepper and arugula sometimes too!
Cindy: that's a good question, I may have to pop into the Butterfly Forum this month and get "right" answer!

ConsciousGardener said...

Tina, I had to jump over to your blog and check out your drawings...I need to get back to work! Nice strip!

texasdeb said...

I think that might be a tawny emperor but I totally stink at bug identification.

The pesto looks so good I swear I can almost smell the basil just from the photos...

Linda/Central Texas Gardener said...

I've had a few secret ingredients like that too! You've inspired me to get busy on my own basil, with some mimosas. I agree, looks like your little friend is a hackberry butterfly (emperor).

The Curious Holts said...

Pesto on everything!! I LOVE your secret ingredient....hahah. Added protein. Have you ever tried pesto on scrambled eggs? ooo la la.

janie said...

The pesto looks good. That is a nice chore when you have the time.

I was interested to see that you are a Master Gardener. (Travis County? I would assume). I am a Jackson County Master Gardener, although I started in Victoria County, before Jackson County had MGs. I am into my 11th year.

You can tell I'm the Master Gardener; my garden is the one in most need of assistance. LOL

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