There is something about eating good home cooking. It’s even better when it’s home grown. Partly, I’m sure it’s the lack of additives and other nonsense manufacturers put in processed foods. Having control of ingredients helps. There’s also something deeply psychological and just plain tasty about fresh food.

For me, food is more than just fuel. Eating is a communal activity, a time for me to spend catching up with loved ones. Cooking can be a communal activity as well, or a creative outlet. I like to savor my food, rather than microwaving a (shudder) Hot Pocket or Pop Tart on my way out the door.

Putting fresh-from-our-garden strawberries in my granola this morning? A-maz-ing.

Sorry, didn’t mean to make you drool.

I know not everyone has time/space/affinity for gardening. It can be time consuming, and it’s not exactly easy if you live in an apartment, or (worse) a basement apartment. (Hydroponics or grow lights are an option even in a basement, though not exactly energy efficient.)

I will say that I highly recommend growing fresh herbs. You can grow them in the ground, in containers on your balcony/porch/patio, on a windowsill, or under a grow light. It’s nice to just throw something extra in the pot. Sometimes, I go outside and stare at my herbs for culinary inspiration. They encourage me to cook fresh food, or even just add a little something extra to an omelet or throw some dill in a salad. I recently acquired some lemongrass, which I’m told makes excellent tea (and Thai soup).

And did I mention pesto, my go-to meal of the growing season? I made some the other day, and didn’t want to butcher my entire basil plant so early in the season, so I improvised. I grabbed whatever herbs looked good – making sure there was a good amount of basil – and used them in my go-to pesto recipe, taken from one of my favorite cookbooks, Veganomicon. This recipe is adapted from the Basil-Cilantro Pesto on page 214.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of herbs, including Basil (examples: Cilantro, Parsley, Lemongrass, Chives, Thyme…)
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Combine everything in a food processor. Pulse, scraping down the sides periodically with a rubber spatula or spoon. When the pesto is of the desired consistency (in terms of almond size, oil, etc.), EAT. (On pasta, spread on a sandwich, etc.)

This recipe is great for those with ability issues – with no chopping and dicing, it’s very easy on the hands.

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