One of my favorite things about my Napa apartment is my yard! Not only is there space for corn hole, ping pong, a grill, and a fire pit, but also a garden. This summer is the first time I have ever exercised my green thumb, so I started with something simple: sunsugar tomatoes, Genovese basil, Thai basil, and purple basil. I figured these ingredients would last me all summer and still allow for some variety. And I am happy to report that my garden is thriving! I have my genes and the hot Napa sun (no more SF fog!) to thank for that.
Over the weekend I used all three basil varieties to make a pesto. I also incorporated some kale and a touch of lemon juice, as well as pine nuts and parmesan. I wasn’t sure what I would do with the pesto, but then it struck me when I spotted some frozen chicken thighs in the back of my freezer. I coated them in the pesto and left them out to defrost for the day, while my mind stirred with ideas of side dishes. I happily settled on a light tomato-farro salad with – you guessed it – more basil from my garden.
Pesto Chicken (serves 2)
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1/4 cup of homemade pesto
Tomato Farro Salad (serves 2)
- 1 cup of vine-ripened grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 green beefsteak tomato, diced
- 1/2 cup sunsugar tomatoes, quartered
- 20 basil leaves (assorted or Genovese), julienned
- 1/8 tsp garlic salt
- 1/8 tsp dried oregano
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 TB shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup dry pearled farro
Heat a grill or cast-iron pan over a medium-high flame. Once hot, spray with a touch of cooking spray. Grill the chicken for 5 minutes on each side, then continue to flip until fully cooked.
Meanwhile, cook the farro. Fill a small pot with 1 1/2 cups of water and 1/2 cup of farro. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, or until done. Drain any excess water then rinse with cool water to chill. Add to a mixing bowl with all other salad ingredients. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
This was the perfect summer meal, and I was so happy to incorporate ingredients from my small garden. Next summer I hope to plant several more varieties of tomatoes, as well as more herbs and even some zucchini!