"Do you think you could cut those plants that are growing out into the staircase? They attract bees and people don't like having to move them out of way," requests my friend who has now become my real estate agent.
I try to explain that the bees won't hurt anyone if they just calmly walk by and that I haven't quite decided what do with the Lemon Verbena. Well, I guess I better decide because it has got to go!
I am in process of selling my home and embarking on a new life adventure in Park City, Utah. I am an native Southern Californian so I am in for lots of changes - real winter with snow, real seasons, more land than I have ever dreamed of having with herds of elk that wander through it. Any statement about how excited about this move is bound to be an understatement. I am thrilled, even though I know I will acutely miss my wonderful California friends and community as well as the opportunity to garden throughout the year.
Why am I mentioning this now? There are several reasons - it accounts for my minimal blogging. Instead of having adventures in the kitchen that would provide blog contents, I am learning how to keep my house spotless in effort to entice a buyer. I actually know people who love cleaning their home and also know for a fact I am not one of them. I like working on projects, lots of them and leaving out the materials until I am done. This is not allowed when your home is for sale. People need to project themselves into your home, not learn about your latest fermentation or bread baking project.
This is spring and normally I would be out in my garden for hours, planting, tending, staking, amending and dreaming about the wonders to be created in the kitchen when harvest time arrives. However, the land I use for my garden is not my own. It belongs to my neighbor. While he has gladly allowed me use his land for many years, he is not willing to extend that privilege to someone he doesn't know (AKA the new buyer). No spring garden for me. I am cherishing my perennial herbs.
Here is the very simple project I chose to begin clearing my stairway. It will make only a very small mess that will disappear right after dinner. I clipped off one of the unruly branches of Lemon Verbena and cut some of this lovely Lemon Balm growing near by to make some pesto for these nice early green beans from the farmer market. Here you can see my ingredients.
Lemon Verbena and Lemon Balm Pesto
1 cup fresh lemon verbena leaves
1/2 cup lemon balm leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup walnutsl
pinch of cayenne
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
2/3 cup olive oil
Put all the ingredients, except the olive oil in a food processor and process well. I do not recommend making this pesto in the traditional manner with a mortar and pestle. The Lemon Verbena leaves are quite fibrous. The fibers actually need to be cut by the food processor blade. Once the herbs are the size and consistency you like, begin to drizzle in the olive oil with the food processor running. Use more or less oil to achieve the consistency you like. Taste and adjust seasoning.
I decided to char the green beans on our new grill stone. It works great for vegetables that want to fall between the grill grates.
Cook the beans until they are tender and have some nicely charred spots. Toss with the pesto and serve. A tasty and fresh summer dish. I had left over pesto that I froze in 1/2 pint Mason jars. You could make this recipe with just Lemon Verbena or just Lemon Balm or added some Basil or Italian Parsley. Have fun and be creative!