From Farm to Asian Pesto

by Carolyn on July 18, 2011

It’s full on summer.  Time to make Garlic Basil Noodles or Asian Pesto.  I’ve been waiting for the basil to come into season.  I make a trip to the Wednesday, farmer’s Market in downtown Santa Cruz, in search of basil.  The market is alive with activity.  Every stand is over flowing with gorgeous, vibrant, colorful produce and summer stone fruits.  I feel like I’m visiting a museum; each farm’s display, a work of art.  It’s late in the day and the vendors begin to break down their stands. This generates a whirl of activity, as last minute shoppers scurry around under collapsing tents and loading boxes.  I head directly to Blue Heron Farms (organic), knowing they grow huge beautiful basil.  I am not disappointed, though only a few bunches remain, I can see how huge and beautifully dark green, the basil leaves are.  We agree for me to pick up a case at the Saturday market on the West Side.  Santa Cruz is blessed with a farmers market almost everyday of the week, sometimes more then one.

Saturday comes and I meet Ben at the Blue Heron stand and host up my case of just picked basil.  Driving to the restaurant, the aroma of basil, coming from the back, is intoxicating.  I have an appointment to meet with our head chef, Juan, and create our Garlic Basil Pesto sauce.  Juan’s waiting for me and we begin measuring, chopping, pouring, and mixing all these fresh, organic ingredients.  We lean over the robot coup and inhale the delicious fragrance  emanating, as the blades turn.  It’s the very essence of  summer freshness.  A restaurant early in the morning is a special place.  It’s like being in the center of the hub of life.

When the sauce is complete we head to the wok and cook up some Garlic Basil Noodles.  First plain; then with prawns, next with tofu.  Everyone in the kitchen has completed their prep work and is ready for the day to begin.  I collect a handful of forks; pass them around and we all taste our creation.  In the silence of slurping noodles, I hear yum’s all around. Claudya in her beautiful handwriting, writes “Garlic Basil Noodles” in colored chalk on the Specials Board.

Come try it.  I’m sure you’ll slurp and yum.




{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrea July 20, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Hey Carolyn,

That sounds truly yummie. I must go and check it out. Loved your colorful description and could almost smell the basil freshness.
Your healthy fresh food is a gift and a treat to our community. We are so lucky to have you! Andrea


Mari Lynch - Bicycling Monterey August 17, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Congratulations on your well-deserved Business of the Year award from Save Our Shores. I’m a former Santa Cruzan, now Monterey County resident, and I hope you will open a Charlie Hong Kong restaurant down here. Thank you for the wonderful food and service I receive every trip to Santa Cruz!


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