Living & Eating on Long Island's East End 

                                         You Say Pesto, I say Pistou

My name is Monique.
I'm a 2-time Emmy Award winning TV Producer.
Having been in the business for over 15 years I've produced my share of live tv cooking segments, but never had much time to devote to cooking myself.

Last year when I got married, I moved out of New York City to the east end of Long Island, to ...wait for it...The Hamptons.

Now before you roll your eyes, there's more to the Hamptons than mansions and celebrities.

The Hamptons have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, miles of productive farmland, plus a rich clamming history that continues to this day.

When I moved out east and realized I was surrounded, not just by the bounty of the sea, but also local farms and vineyards, I couldn't wait to explore and sample my new environment.

That's what this blog is about.  Cooking, living, exploring and sharing those experiences.

You'll notice that my blog is a little of this and a little of that, kind of like a potluck meal.

I hope that you enjoy my potluck musings and meanderings.

Let's dish together.

 OK, the garden project has been an amazing success this summer.

We've enjoyed our very own string beans, bok choy, rasberries, eggplants, cucumbers and romaine lettuce.  

Corn, zuchini and tomatoes are coming in now too.

A few items have been disappointing, for example the broccoli rabe only produced a few springs, of which the entire crop cooked down to just one meal!  But it was good.

The real heros, though have been the herbs, which create a bumper crop every year. (We are practically swimming in mint right now, more on that down the road).

Right now the question is what to do with all the basil, which is growing out of control!

We did the tomato and mozarella thing, with sprigs of fresh basil and olive oil (very good). We've also begun drying huge batches for the fall/winter months, but what to do with so much basil right now?

One word, Pesto!

Now I love the stuff, but making it has always been a challenge for me. The first time I made it, I gunked up my blender so badly that I had to throw it out. No kidding, I literally threw my blender out because I could not clean the pesto out of it.

The second time I made it, half of the pesto ended up on the kitchen ceiling. This was when I was trying "ungunk" the blender, by scraping the ingrediants off the sides of the blender, while it was actually on, minus the lid.  You get the picture.

The meal turned out fine...and eventually we were able to scrape the pesto off the ceiling.

So this time around, when my husband suggested I make pesto,  I thought to myself;  OK, we got a food processor as a wedding gift, there's a back-up blender in storage and the kitchen needs a paint job soon anyway.

But, wait! I don't have the pine nuts!  Oh no!

How many times have you thrown your hands up into the air over a recipe, when you realized you don't have a key ingrediant and going out to get it just isn't worth the effort?
It's happened to me more than a few times and that's when I either give it up or begin experimenting.

I'm not a food traditionalist.  If I can get by making a dish without a specific ingrediant and it still works, by all means.
So I went online in search of a pesto recipe, minus pine nuts and lo and behold, that's how I came upon "Pistou". 

According to Wikipedia..."Pistou sauce or just pistou is a cold sauce made from cloves of garlic, fresh basil and olive oil.
Modern versions include grated parmesan, pecorino or similar hard cheeses. Traditionally the ingrediants were crushed and mixed together in a mortar and pestle.

The word "Pistou" was introduced from Genoese dialect "Pesto" after being brought to Provence in the 19th century by Italian immigrants from Geno and Ligury.  The key difference being the absence of pinoli (pine nuts) from pistou."

I decided to give it a go.  Using my blender, because I'm a glutton for punishment, I made the pistou and I have to be honest, I couldn't tell the difference.  It was delicious and tasted exactly like pesto to me.  I boiled up a big pot of linguine and the hubby & I had it for dinner.

Now, if you're a tradionalist and have to have the pine nuts, go right ahead and enjoy.  But if you don't have the time, patience or the nuts...try the pistou.  This time the blender made it through and so did the pistou.


  • 3 cups basil leaves (rinsed)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (grated)
  • splash of lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

Chop the garlic until minced
Add basil & cheese to the blender (or food processor) 
Begin to blend, while slowly drizzling in olive oil
Blend until smooth
Add lemon juice, plus salt & pepper to taste

(Makes about 1 cup of pistou)

If you choose to make pesto instead, just add the pine nuts into the mix.  Enjoy.

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