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Bike Rides and Pesto

July 6, 2011

Wow crazy this week is half over with already.  Love four-day work weeks. 

This coming weekend is sure to be just as crazy and fun as the last.  Friday night is the final tournament for the sand volleyball league I play in.  And Saturday I’ll be hopping on a bike and riding five incredibly hilly miles for a good cause.  The event is called Bar-2-Bar-Bara and is a fundraiser for Huntington’s Disease organized by Sarah, who grew up on the same block as I did and has recently become a good friend due to our love for yoga and similar dorkiness :). 

I will also be participating in dares, in which someone donates $ to the cause and can request a dare for any of the bike riders.  So far I’ve just got one dare…holding up a sign that says ‘honk if you think I’m cute’ with a goal of 5 honks.  Tyler is also riding and has been dared.  Haahaaahhhhhaaaa it’s a good one and involves something along the lines of this.

Bikini for tyler

Please take the time to check out Sarah’s story and the details of the event here.  I’d love for you to help her meet her goal…so please donate.  And yes you can dish out dares too!

On to the garden. 

I harvested a bunch of basil from the garden that was in need of a picking before it all flowered.  And when you have a big bundle of basil the best thing to do with it is to of course make pesto.  I was going to declare this week, Pesto Week, making something with fresh pesto for supper each night….but I just can’t do it. 

Basil growing in garden

See I don’t actually love basil. 

Wow that feels good to get off my chest.  I so want to love it, but I just can’t.  I just kind of like it.  For me the flavor and aroma borders between an enticing sweet and spiciness and a pungent attack on your senses.

I like pesto made with basil…I really do.  But for a whole week to be filled with pesto flavored eats is likely to lead me to a jump off the pesto cliff.   

Instead I whipped up a classic pesto and used a small portion for a cool and creamy dip.  Then I bagged up the rest and stuck it in the freezer for future uses to enjoy at a more leisurely rate. 

Pesto to freeze

If you ever just need a really good, right to the point kind of recipe go to Simply Recipes.  The site is a collection of family and friend recipes that are sure to impress.

Since there are a billion different tweaks for pesto, Simply Recipes was my go to for a good classic recipe to use for my pesto dip.

Bowl of Fresh Pesto

Fresh Basil Pesto Dip

Pesto recipe from Simply Recipes

2 C basil leaves, packed

1/3 C pine nuts

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 C extra virgin olive oil

1/2 C fresh grated parmesan or romano cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

In your food processor, combine basil with food nuts with a few good pulses.  Add the garlic and pulse a few more times. 

Slowly add in olive oil while food processor is on.  Scrape down the sides of food processor and then add cheese and pulse until blended.  Add salt and pepper to taste. 

To make dip:

Take 2 tablespoons of pesto mixture and add 6 Tablespoons of plain greek yogurt.  Mix well and refrigerate until serving.  You many want to add some additional salt and pepper to enhance flavors.

This dip is perfect for those like me and not quite sure of the strong flavor of basil.  The creamy greek yogurt gives it a nice cool touch, but without drowning out the wonderful earthiness of the fresh pesto. 

Sweet potatoes with Creamy Fresh Pesto Dip

The uses are endless for this dip.  I thought it paired very well with grilled sweet potato slices.  I even stole a couple of Tyler’s potato chips and dipped.  Prettttyyy tasty!

Look – so creamy and full of just the right amount of basil-ly flavor.  (Pardon the dirty fingernails.  That’s actually pretty clean for me :0.)

Sweet Potato dipped in Fresh Basil Pesto Dip

I also used it in place of a usual mayo mixture for chicken salad, which will be eaten for lunches the rest of the week.  Oh wait…I guess that would make it an actual pesto week…just tuned down a touch.  Now that I can handle.

This chicken salad is awesome, better than expected actually.  I used my remaining Fresh Basil Pesto Dip, which was a little less than 1/2 cup from my previous dipping adventure and mixed with 1 cup of shredded chicken breast, 1/4 cup chopped grapes, 1/4 cup chopped red onion, a large, chopped celery rib and a healthy splash of lemon juice.

Fresh Basil Pesto Dip - Chicken Salad

Since I won’t be overdosing on pesto this week…I’m pretty excited to use it again in the next week or two for some grilled pizza.

What about you? Are you crazy for pesto or not so much???

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