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Bye-Bye Bounty: CSA week 13 - A mid-summer basil blowout

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So, now we’re getting into the spoils of summer. My CSA is churning out great stuff, my garden is hopping, and, unless this 100-degree heat continues to bake everything, August looks even tastier.

Last week at the CSA, we got one huge onion, two cucumbers, kale, yellow squash, new potatoes, blackberries and a HUGE bag of basil (below).

The second I saw that bag of basil I knew I’d have to do some caprese salad (top) with the Cherokee purples I’d just picked that weekend from my garden. Seriously, I know everyone has their own favorite tomato, but I’m not sure how anyone can pick against the Cherokee purple in any category. They’re juicy, plump and pretty with their purple-and-green coloring. ’Nuff said.

That bag of basil was massive, though, so one little salad couldn’t take care of it. So, I knew I’d be making pesto.

Specifically, avocado pesto.

And I'll tell you why. One chef I really love is Chloe Coscarelli. She’s a cute, spunky California girl who happened to win an episode of Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” with a vegan cupcake. Yeah, she’s that good. Anyway, Chloe’s food is simple, fresh and tasty and she’s studied nutrition, so she takes health into account. Plus, she’s just delightful and will actually respond to you on Twitter (as long as you’re not creepy and stalkerish) and seems really happy to hear you tried one of her recipes.

So, Chloe’s Avocado Pesto Pasta it would be. With more caprese and a side of kale chips (made in the dehydrator the night before, as to avoid more oven time):

As for the rest of my CSA haul, the potatoes, onion and squash went into storage (I have a plan for them, mwah-haha!) and the blackberries became a really yummy smoothie:

That’s just a tub of blackberries, 2 bananas, 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder, 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder, a 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1-2 cups water blended together.

But the real star of the week was the pesto. Though not very photogenic, as you’ll see in a second, it’s still pretty tasty. Now, I will admit that it lacks a certain kick. Possibly it needs more salt, so make sure to taste-test it and add accordingly (and I’m not really a salt person, so this is really saying something). I added a pinch of salt and a large splash of balsamic to mine to give it a little more flavor. It’s also good with a portion of caprese salad tomatoes dumped on top.

What’d we get this week from Rolling Prairie? Sweet corn, more new potatoes, basil, summer squash, tomatoes.

Avocado Pesto Pasta (Recipe by Chloe Coscarelli, www.chefchloe.com)

1 pound linguine

1 bunch fresh basil, reserve some leaves for garnish

1/2 cup pine nuts

2 avocados, pitted and peeled

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 cloves garlic

1/2 cup olive oil

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 cup halved cherry tomatoes or sliced sun-dried tomatoes (optional)

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add linguine and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, make the pesto by combining basil, pine nuts, avocados, lemon juice, garlic, and oil in a food processor. Process until smooth. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Toss pasta with pesto. For an extra touch of color and flavor, top pasta with cherry or sun-dried tomatoes. Divide pasta among serving bowls and garnish each serving with a basil leaf.

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