Thursday, August 11, 2011

Basil Pesto Shrimp Skewers and a Quick Raspberry Dessert

This summer we visited my sister and brother in-law in San Jose, California. It was a welcome break from the heat here in Austin and a glimpse into what can and can't be grown in a cooler climate. They long for tomatoes and we...well...this summer we long for anything that will grow without water and can survive temperatures hovering around 105. 
We had the opportunity to visit two of the gardens where my sister works. One garden supplies unique produce to an award winning restaurant in San Francisco that included white strawberries that tasted like pineapple and the best tasting blackberries that we couldn't stop popping in our mouths . At the second garden we were able to taste cherries right off the tree that looked almost too perfect to eat. 

Almost every house in her neighborhood had lemon trees branches weighed down by juicy yellow lemons.  Some neighbors even had boxes sitting out front where you could take a few home. We were able to pick a few from her neighbor's tree that were a variegated 'pink lemonade' lemon variety . The leaves on the tree alone were beautiful. 

In preparation for my sister and brother in-law's Summer Solstice Party,we headed to the downtown farmers' market in San Jose and happened upon a small vendor tent that had some of the best seafood we've ever had. They had fresh crab with lemon and shrimp skewers with pesto
I knew that when we got home I'd be making these often with the abundance of basil in our garden. At the end of our trip to San Jose we were sad to leave the cool summer nights, the company of family and drinks in the garden with no mosquitoes. 

Basil Pesto for Shrimp 
**Make extra and freeze it in covered ice trays for pasta dishes 

1/2 cup pine nuts or almonds
handful of basil, leaves only, our garden
lemon zest 
olive oil, Meyer Lemon infused would be great Texas Olive Ranch
1 lb. Texas Gulf shrimp, Quality Seafood - 5% off with you GoLocal Card!

1. Clean shrimp and soak bamboo skewers while grill is heating. 

2. Skewer 4 medium shrimp on each skewer. Season shrimp with salt and pepper and grill. 

3. In a food processor or blender, combine all the ingredients from above except for the shrimp. 

4. Drizzle pesto on top of shrimp before serving. 

We served our shrimp on a bed of rice, squash, zucchini and tomatoes with basil. 

You also might like to try A Tale of Two Pestos! I'm thinking some smoke-dried tomato pesto might be a hit. 

Cocoa Raspberries with Yogurt

This dessert is the perfect ending to a light summer meal. The combination of raspberries with the yogurt and cocoa adds just a hint of sweetness. Just take your favorite berries, drizzle with your favorite dairy-free yogurt (we love Amande vanilla or coconut almond milk yogurt or SoDelicious vanilla or chocolate coconut milk yogurt) and dust with cocoa powder. 

Pair with Becker Vineyard's 2010 Provencal White Wine for a crisp, clean, fruity finish!

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